• The top science stories of 2023

    Open Forum     |      December 10, 2023

    Science hit the headlines in Australia time and again in 2023, as advances in DNA technology freed a mother convicted of murdering her children 20 years ago, we became the first country to legalise psychedelic therapies, the vaping epidemic led to a government crackdown, and we lost, but then thankfully found, a tiny radioactive capsule no larger than a pea.

  • Weird science

    Open Forum     |      December 9, 2023

    2023 was tough at times, but luckily there was plenty of weird science to offer us a little comic relief. Animals led the way, as we learned about a series of orca-strated attacks on boats, frogs faked their own deaths to avoid sex, birds built their nests using anti-bird spikes, and a wriggling worm was pulled from an Aussie woman’s brain.

  • Facts and feelings

    Heather Bray     |      December 6, 2023

    Good science communication needs values and narratives as well as facts and figures to engage the public audience.

  • The science of X

    Open Forum     |      December 3, 2023

    As the world faces existential problems such as pandemics and climate change, Australian scientists are facing a dilemma about the best way to connect with the wider public.

  • In defence of free will

    Adam Piovarchy     |      December 1, 2023

    The latest book by Stanford neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky – Determined: A Science of Life Without Free Will – has garnered a lot of media attention for its radical contention that we’re biological robots devoid of moral responsibility for what we do, fortunately he’s also entirely wrong.

  • Solving the mystery of Sandy Point man

    Dadna Hartman     |      November 26, 2023

    Forensic genetic genealogy allows investigators to narrow the search for a criminal or a body’s identity to their close family, and has already solved several ‘cold’ cases, including the identity Victoria’s mysterious Sandy Point Man.

  • Dark stars

    Ryan Keeley     |      November 20, 2023

    Astronomers have known for decades that the universe is expanding, but current models cannot explain the speed with which it is taking place.

  • Researching the researchers

    Open Forum     |      November 20, 2023

    Research plays a pivotal role in society. Through research, we gain new understandings, test theories and make discoveries, but how do we know if individual research projects being conducted in Australia are good quality?

  • The question of answers

    Hannah Fraser     |      October 31, 2023

    The scientific method is supposed to offer an evidence based path towards objective understanding, but – as any poll researcher knows – the answers produced by the analysis of data are heavily shaped by the questions that are asked.

  • Shining light on dark matter

    Open Forum     |      October 31, 2023

    A team of international researchers, led by experts at the University of Adelaide, has uncovered further clues in the quest for insights into the nature of dark matter.

  • Epigenetics and evolution

    Benjamin Oldroyd     |      October 16, 2023

    A new book reveals how a population’s non-genetic responses to environmental change are central to the process of evolution.

  • Rolling the die

    Steven Stern     |      October 7, 2023

    People have been predicting the end of the world since the dawn of recorded history, and they’ve all been wrong, so is Tony Ord’s estimation that humanity has a one in six chance of extinction this century anything more than a rhetorical device or alarmist book promoting gimmick?