Monash University – Dingley at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC)

From Monday 25th to Friday 29th September, Adelaide saw cosmonauts from Russia, science educators from America, space entrepreneurs from New Zealand, and a geeky kid from Perth come together to experience the 2017 International Astronautical Congress (IAC). It was truly one of the most inspiring events I’ve been to and the best thing I’ve seen Australia do since I attended the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF).

The congress was open to anyone who wanted to come, and had a nice 90% discount for Australian students which I was more than happy to take advantage of. Other students from places such as America or France were sponsored by their universities to attend. Many gave presentations at the Congress but I was just there to enjoy the show!

When the foundation of the Australian Space Agency was announced at the IAC’s opening ceremony I, along with the 3000 other attendees, was ecstatic. For me this became the theme of the Congress and I made sure to talk with as many people as possible (including some of the people actually designing the thing!) about what it might mean.

Mornings were spent trying to rapidly consume Weetbix in order to make it to the first 7AM presentations. Here we heard from Lockheed Martin about their “Deep Space Gateway” which would act as a stepping stone between Earth and the solar system; plans for a Moon Village made up of a patchwork of colonists; and discussions about creating a space congress … in space.

I spent most of the day attending technical sessions, where researchers discussed their work and the audience asked questions and provided advice or perspectives. One of my university lecturers gave a talk on how lunar dust behaves in zero gravity and the problems that this causes. In between these sessions I walked around the exhibition hall where private companies and government agencies would show off their latest tech. I was super excited to try out Boeing’s new to-scale simulated capsule as well as having a chance to talk to space entrepreneurs (some of who even agreed to be interviewed for the video I was working on – see link at end of article).

The afternoon and evening talks was where ‘space celebrities’ took the stage. Bill Nye told us about the Planetary Society’s Light Sail which would make chemical rockets obsolete; and Elon Musk concluded the conference with an update on his BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) which he wants to use to take crews of 100 to Mars in 2024 and revolutionise air travel with 30-minute flights to anywhere in the world. Both speakers were amazing to listen to and hear about their vision.

Attending the IAC was an amazing experience, giving me an opportunity to talk to students and professionals from across Australia and around the world. I’ve made some great friends whom I look forward to exploring the final frontier with.

I made two videos while there; one on Australia’s history in space  (https://youtu.be/Lh0HepsdyqQ) and the other on where we’re headed (https://youtu.be/Xp52XCY97D4). If you’ve got any questions about my experiences or where we’re headed in space I’m very happy to discuss in the comment section of either video!

You can also like the Atomic Frontier Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/atomicfrontier/

Taking the “Next Step” in Sydney for STEM study information

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) continued its Next Step program in Sydney this July over a two-day period.  The Next Step Program is an extension of our January Year 12 Program – allowing the current year’s participants with the opportunity to further their knowledge about career and study options available to them.

Day one saw visits to our partner organisations ResMed and Cochlear in the morning and the Sydney Observatory and Powerhouse Museum in the afternoon.

At ResMed students toured the facilities of one of the biggest chronic sleep disorder device corporations in the world. They explored the ResMed manufacturing warehouses, had discussions with leading research and development engineers, and tried their hand at assembling various sleep apnoea devices.

During the Cochlear visit participants went behind the scenes for a glimpse into the hearing implant market and saw why Cochlear is a world-wide market leader.

In an interactive exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum, participants were transported back to Sherlock Holmes’ Victorian London to try and crack the case by conducting their own experiments.

Isabel Beaumont, one of this year’s cohort said NYSF’s Next Step program was a valuable addition to the January Year 12 Program.

“The Next Step programs are always useful as they further broaden your understanding of all the possible careers in science.  The are also a great way to reconnect with friends from the NYSF,” she said.

“I really enjoyed the visit to the Cochlear headquarters. We were able to tour their implant manufacturing facilities and see some very impressive machinery.”

During the evening the NYSF held an Alumni Event that you can read about here.

At the Sydney Observatory, in the heart of the CBD, students looked through a telescope over a century old, as well as more modern equipment. They viewed sunspots on our Sun, and the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter. They also discussed career options with Danica, the tour guide, who is completing a PhD in Astronomy.

The following day students visited the University of New South Wales (UNSW).  There were multiple visits available such as the opportunity to build and engineer solar cars, explore the Museum of Human Diseases and listen to lectures about psychology, optometry, medicine and various other degrees. NYSF alumni who are at UNSW studying degrees across science, medicine and engineering, visited the group, and  heard about the amazing scholarship opportunities UNSW offers.

NYSF 2017 alumnus, Ben Kirsh said he got a better insight into university life after visiting UNSW.

“It was really good to see the uni (UNSW) and the student tour guides were great because they showed you the side that isn’t portrayed in the open day brochures. They gave insider knowledge of senior students which I thought was pretty cool … and confirmed to me that attending UNSW next year is very possible. All in all we came away with a lot of great information and advice we can use to make informed decisions about study and career options into the future.”

Ben also felt that Next Step gave him additional information about future career and study options.

“Next Step was very useful as it allowed the opportunity to see other (NYSF partner) universities such as UNSW and talk to students currently studying a range of degrees in differing fields to question them to see which may fit myself the best. It also allowed me to catch up with people I met at NYSF, as well as meeting people from other sessions,” he said.

We would like to thank our partners for their continued support and in particular those organisations that participated in the Sydney Next Step Program, IP Australia, UNSW, ResMed, Cochlear and UTS.

What’s happening at Melbourne? News and Updates from Parkville

VTAC APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN

The VTAC timely course application period is now open for Year 12 students who are thinking of applying for a Tertiary Education place in 2018, closing on Friday September 28, 2017.

The University of Melbourne offers through its Melbourne Model, the opportunity to create your own study path in over 41 different areas of Science through our Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Biomedical Science degrees like in areas such as Biology, Chemistry, Animal Health and Disease Management, Physics and Physiology.

Learn more about how our Melbourne Model will immerse you in a different way of thinking here!

 

CAUGHT! THE CELL BEHIND A LUNG CANCER

For four years straight, medical researcher Clare Weeden would go on alert whenever lung surgery was underway anywhere across Melbourne. No matter the time, she would have to be ready in her lab to receive samples of fresh tissue as part of a project to isolate and research the stem cells that repair our lungs as they constantly breathe in contaminants from air pollution to cigarette smoke.

Basal stem cells are very quick at repairing DNA damage caused by inhaled chemicals such as those from cigarette smoke, but they are prone to making mistakes. It means that the more repair work they have to do, the greater the chance of a cancer-causing mutation.

“It isn’t definitive but the evidence is that lung basal stem cells are the likely cells of origin.” Claire says.

Find out more about this amazing research here!

 

CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE AGE OF TRUMP

Just as it seemed the world was starting to make serious efforts towards halting climate change, the United States – a country always considered essential to an effective international response – has elected a leader openly hostile towards climate science and climate action and who is already acting on that hostility.

What does the election of President Trump mean for worldwide attempts to limit warming to well below two degrees Celsius? Where can we find hope? What can Australians, particularly the intelligentsia, learn from his election and the local and international responses to his efforts to unravel US action on climate change? How can and should we respond?

Join us at Melbourne for this free lecture as part of the University’s lecture series ‘The Wednesday Lectures 2017: The Intelligentsia in The Age of Trump’ on Wednesday 30 August in our Public Lecture Theatre, Old Arts Building in Parkville.

Book your spot at our lecture series here!

 

BRUSH YOUR TEETH… IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE

Next time you’re racing out of the house without cleaning your teeth, think again. Neglecting your pearly whites can lead to a lot more than the odd filling.

It’s the simplest of actions, but brushing your teeth properly with a good fluoride toothpaste that produces plenty of white froth could save your life. Gum disease is extremely common. One in three adults and more than 50 per cent of Australians over the age of 65 have moderate to severe periodontitis, which is caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the mouth.

Led by University of Melbourne researchers, a global network of experts is working to improve the situation and potentially improve the health of millions of people.

“A lot of people just think they clean their teeth,” Professor Reynolds says. “But you actually have to clean the gum margin – it’s absolutely critical – and in between your teeth. Periodontitis starts in the gaps in between your teeth and around the gum. People are so focussed on tooth decay that they scrub the biting surfaces, which does nothing for periodontal disease.

“You should not only do your gums, in soft circular motions, you should clean the … top layer of your tongue as far back as you can go with the tooth brush and the tooth paste. Scrub it, froth it up. Because it’s that froth, the suds, that gets the biofilm … that harbours the bacteria.”

Read more about this announcement here!

What’s happening at Melbourne University?

What’s happening at Melbourne? News and Updates from Parkville

As written by the University of Melbourne

FOCUS ON MELBOURNE – COURSE INFORMATION EVENINGS

Our Focus on Agriculture, Biomedicine, Engineering, I.T, Science and Veterinary Science information evenings are a great way to learn more about our Biomedicine and Science undergraduate degrees and career pathways. The event will feature a range of different presentations, Q&A panels and opportunities to meet with our current staff and students.

  • Talk to our friendly staff about your study options in 2018
  • Hear from current students and staff about, and get a glimpse of University life
  • Explore majors, breadth options, electives, internships and research opportunities in your chosen faculty

Focus on Biomedicine – Tuesday 16 May
Focus on Agriculture – Thursday 18 May
Focus on Veterinary Science – Thursday 18 May
Focus on Engineering -Tuesday 23 May
Focus on I.T – Wednesday 24 May
Focus on Science – Tuesday 30 May

To learn more and register, visit the Focus on Melbourne website: https://futurestudents.unimelb.edu.au/explore/events/victoria_and_interstate/victoria/focus-on-melbourne

SHARKS – HOW A CULL CAN RUIN AN ECOSYSTEM

Killing of sharks in high numbers can devastate oceanic ecosystems, leading to plummeting populations and serious environmental consequences. Associate Professor Robert Day, a marine biologist in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne, says sharks’ role is so tightly interwoven with the health of the ocean, if their numbers are reduced everything goes out of balance.

“The top predators in any ecosystem are very important because they decide on whether other creatures become numerous or not,” he says.

“If there is a lack of sharks, then fish and other ocean creatures that would otherwise be consumed by sharks will become too numerous and eat too many smaller creatures and so on, meaning that the whole ecosystem changes massively.”

Find out more about this amazing research here!

PLANTS HAVE FEELINGS TOO!

Plants may not have eyes, ears or a tongue, but their skin can perform many of the same functions. Plants are not only aware of when it rains or when it’s windy, but they can respond accordingly.

Dr Kim Johnson, a research fellow in the School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, studies the world of plant senses.

“Plants are constantly under environmental stresses. You can actually see how plants respond to those physical stresses because they change their shape,” Dr Kim Johnson says.

“So if a plant is getting constantly hit with strong wind, it will actually change shape to better resist that wind; if roots hit a rock, they’ll grow around it, so they sense things around them.”

Find out more about this amazing research here!

FROM POKEMON GO TO THE CLASS ROOM – HOW THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE AND MICROSOFT IS TAKING STUDENTS UNDER THE SKINS OF THEIR PATIENTS

Pokémon Go pushed Augmented Reality, or AR, into the mainstream, sending over 500 million people chasing cartoons with their smartphones. But now, in a unique multi-disciplinary collaboration, it’s making the leap from entertainment to education.

A new fusion of augmented reality, gaming technology, and anatomy is giving physiotherapy students at the University of Melbourne access to cutting-edge technology to take a look inside the human body by projecting different layers of muscles and bones over the top of a volunteer ‘patient’. It provides an inside view of how the body works as it moves in real time.

By using tracking sensors mounted on a scaffold it projects images of our muscles and skeleton directly onto a volunteer. The images automatically follow the shape and movement of the body, giving students in the studio space an interactive all-round view of how our bodies work. It can even allow them and their teachers to “draw” on the projected image to make information and action more explicit.

Find out more about this amazing research here!

News from Monash University

Monash University has invested more than $200 million in the last few years to transform the Clayton-based Science Faculty into one of the leading science precincts in the southern hemisphere.

Spanning the disciplines of Physics and Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Atmosphere and Environment, and Mathematics, the Science Precinct at Monash University has recently been transformed into a research powerhouse and provides state-of-the-art research, teaching and learning environments.

From the new Chemistry laboratories to the science student only lounge, the spaces provide an excellent on-campus experience. Monash’s approach to teaching is ground breaking and includes world-class and unique outdoor classrooms such as the Earth Sciences Garden and the Jock Marshal Reserve facility.

The new 360 virtual reality video offers the opportunity to experience these facilities.

To see this please visit http://www.monash.edu/monash-science-precinct

(Note mobile users: best results please view in the YouTube App.)

The Australian National University: News Update

ANU Rated in the Top 10 International Universities

The Times Higher Education world university rankings judge world class universities across their teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. Being ranked seventh in the world reflects the universities commitment to conduct research on a global scale and to provide our students with global opportunities.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie Hughes Warrington said, “At the heart of our mission is the commitment to ensure an ANU education gives our graduate’s qualifications that can help them with their careers anywhere in the world.”

Many of our science students also benefit from this global perspective, and high international ranking, by pursuing global opportunities either through one of our many exchange programs or by conducting study on one of our overseas fieldwork trips.

To find out more about our programs and global opportunities, click here.