News from the Australian Academy of Science

Super Nova

What do decomposing bodies, batteries, leeches and gravity have in common? The science behind all these things is explored and explained in the latest topics to feature on the Australian Academy of Science’s Nova: science for curious minds website.


Thanks to the generous support of Telstra, Nova brings science to all Australians with its engaging, accurate and relevant explorations of scientific topics. With all topics reviewed by Academy Fellows or other experts, Nova is an authoritative source of information presented in an accessible way.

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There are now 60 topics on everything from nanoscience to the mathematics of voting. Upcoming features will look at gene editing; the science of practice; quantum mechanics and memory.

The Nova ‘Ask an Expert’ function has been a hit with visitors to the website, with interesting and thoughtful emails regularly arriving in the Nova inbox. Messages range from complex, well thought out scientific questions, to innovative ideas about solving some of industry’s most pressing problems. It’s exciting to see so many people interested and engaged with science via the Nova site—who knows where this interest will lead them?

On the Job to recognise science support staff 

Do you know a great school lab tech? We’re searching for passionate people who love their job and the role they play in Australian science.

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The Australian Academy of Science and Australia’s Science Channel (RiAus) understand that Australia’s world-class track record would not be possible without the technical and support staff who keep science moving. The people who slice the specimens, run the machines, collect the data, grow the crops, sterilise the equipment and mix the chemicals.

For National Science Week this year, we’re delighted to partner with Australia’s Science Channel to bring you ‘On the job’— a video series showing a day in the life of seven Australian science support staff or support teams. We’ll explore science behind the scenes to uncover and celebrate the fantastic work being done all around the country to keep Australia’s scientific progress moving.

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Nominations open until 1 May 2016

We’ll spend a day with each of the seven finalists (or teams) around Australia, using a professional filming team to capture and share the great work they do. Then during National Science Week in August, we’ll release the videos and announce the winner of the competition. Individuals can nominate, or their organisation can nominate them. Teams can also be nominated. Don’t delay—nominations are only open until 1 May 2016.

Win a day with a leading scientist

The star of the winning video will get the chance to spend a day with an internationally recognised Australian research scientist and Fellow of the Academy in the discipline of their choice—an outstanding career opportunity and a unique experience to boot. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered (if a team wins, the prize might be different). We’ll also have a great science prize for voters.

See for more information.

NYSF students visit The Australian Academy of Science

The Australian Academy of Science once again supported the NYSF by hosting two interactive presentations during both sessions of the NYSF in January 2015.

“Being able to visit the heritage-listed Shine Dome, and learn about the role of the Academy is a unique activity for the students,” says NYSF Director, Damien Pearce. “We appreciate the Academy’s support and engagement with each year’s cohort.”

Dr T J Higgins spoke to the students about the history of the Academy, its members, and also the Shine Dome building.

Dr T J HIggins Academy of Science NYSF Session C 2015

Dr T J Higgins speaking to Session C NYSF 2015 students about the Australian Academy of Science


“The Academy Fellowship comprises about 480 of Australia’s top researchers from across the natural sciences, including two NYSF graduates – Professors Michelle Coote and Tanya Monro. We look forward to electing more former NYSF participants as they grow their love of inquiry, talent for research, and strong work ethic into successful careers in science,”  said Academy Chief Executive , Dr Sue Meek.

The Academy plays an important role in the promotion of science through the recognition of outstanding contributions to science, education and public awareness, science policy and international relations. It promotes and disseminates scientific knowledge and provides independent scientific advice for the benefit of Australia and the world.

It is recognised for its advocacy role through its work to develop and sustain a national scientific culture and provides valued independent scientific advice to assist policy development and program delivery.

In 2014, The Academy launched ‘Science by Doing’ a comprehensive online science program for Years 7 to 10 available free to all Australian students and teachers and supported by award winning professional learning modules and a research based professional learning approach.

A number of other resources are also available – visit