Gangnam Science Style…

After Bill Nye featured in yesterdays video…


What if everyone jumped at once?

Olympic Games cool science experiments

How do pain relievers work?

Common misconceptions anyone?

Lab safety

The beginning of the year means revision of the lab safety rules, particularly for the middle school students.  I’m not going to go over them again now, but I will show you my favourite lab safely video…

Spotlight: Women in science

It’s no secret, women who are in science are in the minority.  I have found a few articles which promote girl-power in the science workplace.  Have a read and hopefully become inspired (guys and girls alike)!

Women scientists need true grit

suzanne cory, margaret sheil & carol robinson

TOP women chemists have issued some tough-minded advice about establishing and maintaining a scientific career.

“You need three things: a good boss, a good husband and a good mother,” Australian Research Council chief executive Margaret Sheil summarises. Professor Sheil also advises cultivating a great deal of persistence, and so do Australian Academy of Science president, Suzanne Cory and Carol Robinson, the first female professor of chemistry at Oxford and 2010 winner of The Royal Society Davy Medal.
The trio were talking about their careers to a theatre full of schoolgirls and their teachers at Parliament House this week, in honour of the International Year of Chemistry.
Professor Robinson, who resumed her career after an eight year break to have her three children, says: “Don’t give up at the first hurdle _ keep going,”

She also says young women should listen to their mentors and also carry “a passion for what you do, so that your job becomes your hobby.”
Professor Cory, who is also a former director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, says her scientific partnership with fellow WEHI professor and husband Jerry Adams meant there was “real sharing” as well as a real understanding of her need for flexibility as they raised their daughters.
“I had my first child when I was 35 and by that stage I had achieved a certain amount of career security,” Professor Cory says.
“I think the most important thing is to make sure we have high quality, affordable childcare. Then, we need employers to be more flexible and we need to bring up young men so they regard having a young family as a joint responsibility.”
Professor Sheil’s mother and husband provided a lot of support throughout her daughter’s childhood and her boss at the University of Wollongong, the late Leon Kane-Maguire was a crucial mentor.
Since taking the helm at the ARC, she has presided over improvements in the grants process that should support women researchers.
Last year the definition of “track record” for applications was changed to “research opportunities” to reflect the performance of researchers who may have had breaks in their careers.
Recently the first awards specifically to early career researchers were made, a category that includes a lot of younger women. And at the top end the first Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship and Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship were awarded to highly ranked women in respectively, humanities, arts and social sciences, and science and technology disciplines.

Tanya Monro

TANYA Monro was among the academics who collected an Australian Research Council grant this week.

She has helped break through a psychological barrier for female researchers.

They recorded a success rate equal to that of their male colleagues in gaining the ARC’s Discovery Project funding.

“For the first time ever we have equal success rates for women and men,” ARC chief executive Margaret Sheil said.

Professor Monro, director of the University of Adelaide’s Institute of Photonics & Advanced Sensing, leads a team awarded $370,000 for research in nonlinear optics and optical fibres.

The success rate this year was 24 per cent for women and 24.3 per cent for men, compared with last year’s 21.2 per cent and 25.3 per cent respectively. However, women accounted for only 26.2 per cent of applicants.

“We changed the way researchers describe their research; we stopped calling it a track record, which tends to favour those with an uninterrupted career and disadvantaged women,” Professor Sheil said. Instead, “research record relative to opportunities” was used, which allowed researchers to explain career gaps. L.H. Martin Institute professorial fellow Sharon Bell said Professor Sheil had been a champion of women in research.

“The ARC has a relatively good track record but we are looking for a change in participation rates,” Professor Bell said.

“Hopefully, the success rate is a positive incentive for women to participate especially in the light of the new ARC policies on performance relative to research opportunities.”

Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies executive director, Anna-Maria Arabia, noted the breakthrough, but said the participation rate “highlighted entrenched gender equality issues”.

Innovation Minister Kim Carr announced $376 million across 1126 projects including the Discovery category ($318 m), round one of the 2011 Linkage Grants ($56.2 m), and the Discovery Indigenous Researchers Development grants ($2m).

Although the success rate for Discovery Projects dropped to 22 per cent, from 22.7 per cent last year, it was significantly above the 2008 low watermark, 20.4 per cent.

There were 4230 applications for Discovery Projects, up from 4068 last year and researchers were granted an average of 55.3 per cent of funds requested, compared to 56.3 per cent last year.

The University of Melbourne was top of the class with $37.6m, a 30.7 per cent success rate.

Some smaller institutions registered healthy success rates, such as the University of Ballarat, with 33.3 per cent, receiving $497,000 for two projects, and Swinburne scoring 27.3 per cent.

Is anyone else missing their bananas?

I think this is pretty funny…!


Singapore Airport

…currently in Singapore awaiting our flight to Paris.  We have a few more hours to wait, and then a 13 hour flight until we arrive in Paris…

But how about some science? I found a relevant video for you (well, relevant for me maybe). Enjoy!

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