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By Brittany Howard

Cultural change is at the core of the new National Innovation and Science Agenda, say its proponents.

Australia has a science and innovation problem. By now, most of us are aware of the bleak statistics – Australia is ranked ninth in the Global Innovation Index in respect of the calibre of its science institutions, yet 72nd for innovation efficiency. So why do we continue to have such trouble traversing the gap between scientific research and innovation?

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Thirty years in the life of Chernobyl caesium

By Sally Woollett

30th anniversary of Chernobyl disaster

Early on 28 April 1986, alarms sounded as an employee of the Forsmark nuclear power plant in Sweden set off a radiation detector on his way back from the bathroom. Radioactive particles on his shoes were soon identified as being Soviet (

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Improving the safety and efficacy of ‘last resort’ antibiotics

By Kade Roberts

Technology & innovation

The emergence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) gram-negative pathogens is now a major global health issue, a problem that is further compounded by the lack of development of new antibiotics.

Gram-negative bacteria, particularly Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae, are spread worldwide in virtually all environments that support life. These opportunistic pathogens have a range of serious consequences for infected patients, including secondary meningitis, respiratory problems and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

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Also in this issue...

Flavours, fragrances and force fields

Computational methods that analyse how drugs interact with protein targets are also effective for flavour and fragrance molecules.

Prime numbers: 41 years of EMDG

The Export Market Development Grant is helping take Australian innovation to the world.

Protein scissors that also learned to glue

An enzyme found in plants has some remarkable abilities that have drug designers excited.

Australia’s part in the global effort to discover gravitational waves

The historic discovery of gravitational waves announced in February involved the work of more than a thousand scientists working tirelessly in several different institutions, across many different countries and time zones.

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Previous issue

By Jenny Sharwood

An engaging and challenging new study design for VCE Chemistry has arrived.

Chemistry is connected with the wider community through ways other than the products of chemical industry or the promise of chemical research. Careers in science are well recognised for being personally rewarding as well as having positive impacts on society. Unfortunately, Indigenous Australians are underrepresented in the chemistry community in Australia. This significant issue is an example of a lack of cultural diversity within Australian science.

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Ocean acidification stops shrimp chorus

By University of Adelaide

Increasing carbon dioxide jeopardises navigation

Snapping shrimps, the loudest invertebrates in the ocean, may be silenced under increasing ocean acidification, a University of Adelaide study has found. Published in March in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the researchers report that under levels of CO2 predicted to be found in oceans by the end of the century, the sound of snapping shrimps would be reduced substantially.

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Rare: the high stakes race to satisfy our need for the scarcest metals on Earth

Reviewed by R. John Casey

Book review

Rare: the high stakes race to satisfy our need for the scarcest metals on Earth provides fascinating insights into the world of rare metals: where they come from, what they are used for, who controls the supply chains, what the recycling prospects look like, and where we might look to finding future supplies of scarce metals. Author Keith Veronese is a scientific writer with a strong background in chemistry. He has written a fine book, which is readily intelligible to any interested adult, irrespective of scientific literacy.

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Also in this issue...

Quantum leap: redefining SI


Several units in the Système international d’unités, including the kilogram, are under review in the lead-up to the proposed ‘new SI’ in 2018.

Biological control: a case for multidisciplinary research

Biological control of pest plants involves biology, ecology and a dose of chemistry.

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