Science News

Sulawesi cave paintings some of earliest human art

Nicky Phillips   Cave paintings on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi were created at least 40,000 years ago, making them some of the earliest known cave art in the world, say a team of Australian and Indonesia scientists.

Latest science news

Mountain-sized rare comet whizzes past Mars

An artist's impression of the comet Siding Spring on approach to Mars.

A comet the size of a small mountain with the consistency of talcum powder has whizzed past Mars, wowing space enthusiasts with the once-in-a-million-years encounter.

Cats will dine until their delicacy is rare

Fussy: Research has shown that cats often obsess over their choice of food.

Nicky Phillips   Some cat owners may have noticed their kitty has particular tastes when it comes to the half-eaten presents left on the doorstep.

Forget missionary, ancient fish had sex sideways


Nicky Phillips   Scientists have thrown off the covers and revealed the origins of sex, discovering that it wasn't always performed like we do it today.

How do we engage young people in science?

Nicky Phillips   Science suffers from an image problem and Miley Cyrus may be the perfect solution.


Aussie IVF company joins Apple, Facebook by paying to freeze workers' eggs

Women are increasingly freezing their eggs by choice and having IVF pregnancies later, as a form of 'reproductive insurance'.

Hannah Francis   Virtus Health has now formalised subsidies for egg freezing of female staff so they can have children later on.

Photons - the original fossil fuel

Solar power: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory image shows an active region of the sun's coronal loops.

Rod Taylor   Measuring the prevalence of photons is as easy as counting tin cans.

Volcanoes on the moon could have been erupting in the time of the dinosaurs

This feature on the lunar surface, called Maskelyne, is one of many newly-discovered young volcanic deposits on the moon.

Amina Khan   Scientists thought the moon had been cold and dead for a billion years, but a new discovery could force them to reconsider its evolution.

New test to boost liver transplant success rate, reduce waiting list

Dr Lawrence Lau holds a machine that helps detect liver health.

Bridie Smith   A new technique to assess the health of livers donated for transplant could boost the number of successful transplants, while reducing the number of viable donor livers thrown away.

Flight path of a mysterious Australian bird tracked for the first time

Put a ring on it: Banded stilts have been tracked for the first time.

Nicky Phillips   Some people claim to have a sixth sense for inclement weather, but no human can compete with a native Australian waterbird that knows when it has rained thousands of kilometres away.

Abbott's science experiment yet to pass acid test

Bridie Smith and Nicky Phillips   At a dinner in Canberra last October, Prime Minister Tony Abbott urged the country's already wary scientific community to judge his government by its performance, not by its titles. He was referring to a decision he had taken just weeks earlier not to appoint a dedicated science minister for the first time in decades.

Extinct ladybird 'back from the dead'

Wily one: the rediscovered ladybird, Micraspis flavovittata.

Bridie Smith   An Australian ladybird beetle scientists presumed extinct for decades has come "back from the dead" after an amateur naturalist spotted more than 40 of the yellow and black bugs at a national park in western Victoria.

Think of outback as one huge desert, says top ecologist

The invasive cane toad.

Nicky Phillips   The Australian outback should be classified and protected as one continuous landscape rather than individual components, says a leading Australian ecologist.


Boy, 12, aims to break sound barrier

Jason recovering Payload cameras gets his photo snapped with his father in the background.

Paddy Wood   Jason Brand, 12, is planning his most ambitious project yet: building the world's fastest glider

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Blueprint for Antarctica urges 'big science' approach

The 20-year plan advocates no expansion of Australia's three polar bases and wants federal operation of the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island base.

Andrew Darby   A long-awaited strategic plan for Australia in Antarctica calls for more big science on the frozen continent, but casts a cloud over one of the country's bases.


Super-pressure balloons reach for stars

Weather observer: Michael Glasson releases a weather balloon at Giles weather station in Western Australia to track wind speed and direction.The data will help predict rain in Sydney .

Robert Brand   Thin air no barrier to high-spec weather balloons.

Entrepreneur Larry Marshall to head CSIRO

Budget cuts will see the CSIRO close eight of its 56 sites while whole areas of research will be cut or abandoned.

Bridie Smith   The country‚Äôs peak scientific organisation, the CSIRO, is set to boost its collaboration with industry following the appointment of entrepreneur and venture capitalist Larry Marshall as its next chief executive.

Total lunar eclipse: what you need to know

Caroline Zielinski   Total lunar eclipse question and answer.

Nobel Prize for physics goes to inventors of low-energy LED light

Physics Nobel Prize winners Professor Isamu Akasaki, American Inventor Shuji Nakamura and Professor Hiroshi Amano.

Niklas Pollard and Ben Hirschler   An American and two Japanese scientists won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics for inventing a new energy-efficient and environment-friendly light source, leading to the creation of modern LED light bulbs.

What can parents do about their teenagers' mental health?

One thing teachers, parents and counsellors can do is ask the young person if she is all right.

Pilip Batterham and Alison Calear   Mental disorders are debilitating and often emerge in adolescence. Identifying these problems and intervening early helps reduce their impact on social, emotional and academic function, which, unheeded, can continue into adulthood.


Scientists find echoes of Big Bang

An experiment at the South Pole leads to what is potentially one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the past two decades.

The secret to running repairs

Scientists think the Mexican walking fish may hold the key to regeneration in humans.

Alive as a dodo

Bringing animals back from extinction is no longer science fiction. But the question is, should we do it?


Navy reveals Antarctic secrets

Australian Navy hydrographers on their boat the Wyatt Earp map the seafloor off Casey Station in Antarctica.

Cycling out of intensive care

World leading research is under way to rehabilitate ICU patients - some unconscious - with horizontal exercise bikes. Producer - Tom McKendrick

Furry Facts

Why onions make you cry

Ever wonder why chopping onions is such a tear jerking event?


Needles aren't a whole lot of fun, but why is immunisation so important? Cartoonist John Shakespeare and Science Editor Nicky Phillips explain.

El Nino and La Nina

Have you ever found it hard to understand why Australia's swings between drought and floods?


They're some of the most destructive forces on the planet, but what's the difference between a tornado and a cyclone?


What is a sinkhole? What causes them? Furry Facts explains.