[ASC-list] Astronomer on a NASA jet; cane toad testes; Aussie-EU science from resilient wine grapes to hypersonic travel; arts and future farming in Science Week

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Wed Jul 24 06:52:12 UTC 2019

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Astronomer on a NASA jet; cane toad testes; Aussie-EU science from resilient wine grapes to hypersonic travel; arts and future farming in Science Week
Dear ASCers,

Today: Australian astronomer flies high to spy on star formation

Sydney astronomer Dr Stuart Ryder is venturing into the stratosphere on a NASA jet this week to study the birthplace of massive stars. He's available for interviews. Details below.

From today: Stories of European-Australian Research

From industrial 3D printing to breeding grapevines for a warming planet, Australian and European scientists are joined in productive collaborations. A collection of research case studies is now online. Scientists available for interview. Read on for details.

[https://gallery.mailchimp.com/d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf/_compresseds/913a65b4-c362-43ab-81bc-76aaaee0b310.jpg]From today: Cane toad testes smaller at the invasion front

It turns out that male cane toads are more interested in dispersal than sex at the invasion front, according to reptile guru Professor Rick Shine from Macquarie University and the University of Sydney. He has a paper today with Chris Friesen from the University of Wollongong in the journal Biology Letters. Full story at http://bit.ly/2GDNO4n<https://scienceinpublic.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf&id=ee6690beff&e=7abd449a88>.

Coming up in August

[https://gallery.mailchimp.com/d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf/images/55525dba-d757-48e1-abb0-31145ab7519c.png]National Science Week will have more than 2000 events. We've been digging through them to find highlights for media, with picks for specific rounds, including arts<https://scienceinpublic.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf&id=57728d8c8d&e=7abd449a88> and agriculture<https://scienceinpublic.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf&id=74d7be43c7&e=7abd449a88>. Watch out for more in coming days.

Kind regards,


Astronomer flies high to spy on star formation

Dr Stuart Ryder is venturing into the stratosphere on a NASA jet to study the birthplace of massive stars

[https://gallery.mailchimp.com/d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf/images/1270e9c0-3dd7-4194-bcdb-a7d070290bb9.jpg]The Macquarie University astronomer is in New Zealand to hitch a ride on the organisation’s high-tech airborne observatory to take a closer look at how stars are born in one of the most active stellar nurseries ever seen.

“We’re looking at a molecular cloud called BYF73, which is collapsing in on itself at extremely high speeds and forming massive stars,” says Stuart, who is an Adjunct Fellow with the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Macquarie University.

The Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a Boeing 747SP passenger jet converted to house a 2.5 metre telescope and a range of instruments for infrared astronomy.

By flying to an altitude of 14 kilometres, SOFIA gets a clearer view of infrared light that is blocked by the atmosphere from reaching ground level.

The aircraft, which NASA operates in conjunction with the German Aerospace Centre, is based in California most of the time. But once a year it sets up shop in Christchurch, New Zealand, to fly missions looking at the southern skies.

This year SOFIA is carrying a new instrument called the High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera Plus (HAWC+), which allows astronomers to study light in the far infrared spectrum and measure its polarisation.

“We want to look at the polarisation of the light coming from BYF73, which tells us about its magnetic field and might explain why the cloud is collapsing so quickly,” Stuart says. “It would help us understand how these stars form.”

Stuart has already flown two missions and – if he’s lucky – might have the chance to fly a third time this Thursday night.

E-mail: Stuart.Ryder at mq.edu.au<mailto:Stuart.Ryder at mq.edu.au>
Mobile: +61-419-970834
(Note: Stuart is currently in NZ, which is 2 hours ahead of Australian Eastern Standard Time. Please SMS him at this number to arrange a time and format for an interview.)

Europe and Australia combine to build better science

[https://gallery.mailchimp.com/d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf/images/2ed0f4fc-92ba-4b06-812a-6443ebcc6b3b.png]<https://scienceinpublic.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf&id=72a47e9eea&e=7abd449a88>The European Union (EU) is a major driver of scientific research. A new publication, Stories of European-Australian Research, highlights collaborations between Europe and Australia that span almost every discipline.

These include:

  *   Breeding grapevine varieties to be resilient in the face of warming temperatures;
  *   Building the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the biggest scientific instrument in the world;
  *   Designing 3D printers to make carbon fibre on an industrial scale;
  *   Overcoming the engineering challenges of hypersonic travel;
  *   Constructing, launching and operating CubeSats.
One of the first Australian scientists to fully realise the benefits of European collaboration was Kurt Lambeck AO, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Professor Lambeck first took up a position at the University of Delft in The Netherlands in 1964 and taught at different European institutions for many years.

“As Australia’s ties deepen with Asia and America, we should not ignore the substantial depth of knowledge and understanding that resides in the EU Member States and their institutions,” he says, introducing the collection.

“Access to that, combined with the often more pragmatic approach common to Australian science, is a certain formula for success.”

Stories of European-Australian Research is available free in print or digitally at https://stories.scienceinpublic.com.au/EU<https://scienceinpublic.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf&id=6ed9f28add&e=7abd449a88>

The collection is published by Science in Public together with the European Union Delegation to Australia.


Through its Horizon2020 program, the EU has invested approximately €5.9 million ($9.6 million) in Australian research and innovation, supporting scientists at universities and institutes across Australia in areas including health, food, transport, environment, ICT, research infrastructures, and future and emerging technologies.

The European Research Council (ERC), Europe's premier funding organisation for frontier research, has supported more than 48 Australian researchers based in Europe. A further 600 Australians researchers have taken part in EU-supported research projects.

For more information, contact Michael Lucy at Science in Public via michael at scienceinpublic.com.au<mailto:michael at scienceinpublic.com.au> or 0432 073 264

More about Science in Public
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Kind regards,

Niall Byrne

Creative Director
Science in Public

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