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Nicky Phillips

Nicky Phillips is Science Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald.


Ghosts of mother's sexual past show up in fly offspring, study shows

Fly offspring can resemble their mothers' previous partner.

Nicky Phillips What if that sexual partner you'd rather forget remained forever a part of your life?

Skeleton of man from ancient group of humans found in South Africa

Vanessa Hayes collecting DNA from Kalahari locals in Namibia to compare with the DNA of St Helena's skeletons.

Nicky Phillips The skeleton of a man who lived more than 2300 years ago and foraged food from the ocean off southern Africa belonged to an ancient group of modern humans now presumed extinct, an Australian-led...

Australian Government investment in science reaches 30-year low

Australia's investment in research and development is below the OECD average.

Inga Ting and Nicky Phillips The Australian government's investment in research and development has dropped to its lowest level in 30 years, an analysis of government figures shows.

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Monkey populations will suffer as climate change alters their food

Colobus monkeys

Nicky Phillips If you consider the consequences of global warming, it's always the major impacts that receive the most attention - glaciers melting, sea levels rising, more frequent and more intense bush fires,...

Two visitors in a week: Mars is space's new tourism hot spot

An artist's impression of the Indian Mars orbiter, known as MOM, which went into orbit on September 24.

Nicky Phillips The airspace around Mars just got a little more crowded.

C02 emissions from burning fossil fuels surge to highest level in human history

One of the Three Sisters joins in the climate change debate.

Nicky Phillips and Lisa Cox Global greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and cement production surged to a record-breaking 36 billion tonnes of CO2 last year, pushing emissions to their highest level in human...

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Ageing of Australia's scientists creating a void in nation's future research workforce

Funding discrimination: Professor Alan Trouson warns Australia faces a catastrophe if we neglect our young scientists.

Nicky Phillips The pioneering Australian IVF and stem cell scientist Alan Trounson has warned of a "catastrophic event" in Australian science unless more is done to support early career scientists and prevent them...

The looming crisis in our nation's laboratories

Neuropsychologist Kate Hoy says it's not good enough to be excellent any more when it comes to competing for science funding.

Nicky Phillips Young scientists are being forced out of the grants system.


Rosetta mission control announces comet landing site

Comet 67P

Nicky Phillips Scientists have announced the site where a spacecraft will attempt the first landing on a comet. In November, the European Space Agency spacecraft Rosetta will lower its 100-kilogram lander Philae...

CSIRO scientists sorting mail, cleaning labs after budget cuts


Nicky Phillips Highly skilled scientists and project leaders at the CSIRO are being kept from their research to clean laboratories, write promotional material, sort mail and refill photocopiers following government...

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New species of giant dinosaur unearthed

Dreadnoughtus schrani.

Nicky Phillips A new species of gigantic dinosaur that weighed more than 53 tonnes and stretched 26 metres from head to tail has been unearthed in an Argentinian desert. 

Earthlings have a new address; cosmologists map our place in the universe

Nicky Phillips Thanks to satellite technology there's a map for just about every street, city and country in the world.

Chief scientist releases national strategy for science, innovation and technology

science and research

Nicky Phillips Australia's chief scientist has released his office's national science strategy, warning that the consequences of continuing without a long-term science and innovation plan for the economy are...

From clever to complacent: Australia falling behind on innovation, says chief scientist


Nicky Phillips Australia likes to consider itself the Clever Country, a phrase made popular by former Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Rainforest trees need a little help spreading their seed


Nicky Phillips Spare a thought for the males of the rainforest tree that can no longer spread their seed. Without help, the hairy quandong faces a barren future.

City spiders are fitter and more fertile

A golden orb spider.

Nicky Phillips People are not the only residents living large in the eastern suburbs - spiders at Tamarama Beach are fatter and more fertile than their rural counterparts.


8000-year-old mutation helps Tibetans thrive at high altitudes

A Tibetan woman makes her way across the across grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau.

Nicky Phillips In an environment most people struggle to survive, Tibetans thrive in the thin air of the Tibetan Plateau and now an international study has uncovered one mechanism their bodies use to cope at high...

Researchers unravel cause of hair loss in common auto-immune disease

Nicky Phillips Medical researchers have identified the immune cell responsible for disfiguring hair loss in people with a common auto-immune disease, alopecia areata, a condition that causes significant emotional...

CSIRO cuts researchers at high containment laboratory

Protective suits used by infectious disease researchers.

Nicky Phillips, Bridie Smith and Phillip Thomson The CSIRO will cut the number of infectious disease researchers at its Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, the country’s only facility capable of working with live samples of some...

Mummification started in Egypt '1500 years earlier than previously thought'

Discovery: Dr Jana Jones.

Nicky Phillips The curse cast upon those who disturb an ancient Egyptian mummy may be a legend, but at times it felt very real to Sydney Egyptologist Jana Jones.