This week in Australian Science! (25/3/12)

Check these new findings out from Australian researchers:

Australian scientists found cicada’s wings can destroy bacteria, earthquakes deposit gold in the Earth and nerve-protecting cells could play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. Read more:

→ Cicada’s wings shred bacteria:
→ Insulating cells can be added throughout our lives:
→ There is only one giant squid species:
→ Earthquakes put gold in the soil:

(Content from the facebook group for ScienceAlert)

This Week In Science

Amazing things are happening in science at the moment. Check out the newest discoveries from just the past week!

Follow the links for more information:
Bee venom and HIV:
Breath test for cancer:
3D printed skull:
Child cured of HIV:
Space invader shaped galaxy:

This article content and image is from ‘Science is Awesome‘ facebook group (post date 12/3/13).

Stellar Evolution – updated theories

“This graphic gives a summary of our best current understanding of the evolution of stars, showing their birth, middle age and eventual demise. The lowest mass stars are shown at the bottom and the highest mass stars at the top. The very top line is a new addition, compelled by the detection of SN 2006gy — one of the brightest stellar explosions ever recorded — that describes the evolution of the most massive stars in the universe. Observational evidence for the special type of explosion shown here — which is incredibly bright and obliterates the star rather than producing a black hole — was lacking until SN 2006gy was found.”

Image and text via the SETI Institute.

Check out the animation for SN 2006gy:

This star is thought to be 130-250 times the size of our sun and while the light from the explosion was seen in 2006, the star is located so far away that the explosion actually occurred 238 million years ago and only a few years ago managed to reach Earth.

Fractal Nature of Electricity

Check this out! 15,000 volts of electricity running through plywood.

Fractals appear in nature very often. The really interesting part of fractals is that one equation can produce so many similar – but different results. Check these out as well:

In clockwise order these are: Selenga River delta, human kidney angiogram, deciduous tree in winter and fractal image created from a ‘simple’ maths equation. (Image from the Facebook group Science is Awesome)

For more examples of fractals in nature have a look at this webpage.

Year 8 Forensic Science Camp

The 2013 Talented Students’ Forensic Science Camp is being held at Armidale school from April 16-20 and is one of the nation’s pre-eminent extension programs for Year 8 students. It offers challenging and hands-on experiences of scientific problem solving and a chance to work with talented students from all over Australia.

As compelling as CSI, NCIS, as challenging as The Mentalist and addictive as Law & Order, the camp brings the intrigue of crime solving to the fingertips of young Australians. No one can resist a ‘whodunit’ and that is what this Forensic Science Camp is all about. It’s fast and exciting with total immersion in the scientific and problem-solving process.

The camp is a five-day residential experience and was first run in 1994. It has since been featured in the ABC TV science program, Quantum. Last year, over 100 boys and girls, a mix of city and country students from both government and non-government schools, were selected from a large number of applicants from NSW, the ACT, Queensland and Victoria to participate in the camp.

For more information about this camp and the application process visit their website and contact Mr R Jackson to obtain an information pack.


Applications now OPEN for Science Club 2013!

Applications are now open to join the 2013 science club at WCCS. This club is open to year 7 and 8 students who are interested in getting some more hands on experience with science. The aim of this group is to encourage students to develop a greater interest in and awareness of science and the amazing way our world works. We hope to bring back some of those old experiments from ‘the good old days’ that have left permanent inspiring marks on scientists around the world (and the roof of C3).

As part of this club we hope to encourage students to participate in some serious science. The club will aim to meet once a fortnight after school on a Wednesday from 3:15 – 4:15pm. Students will need to be picked up from school at this time.

Through this club we want to teach students that the cool stuff in science doesn’t solely reside in explosives and other pyrotechnics but that amazing and strange phenomena lie within all branches of science (though explosions are cool). Some areas that will be explored throughout the course of the year are:

  • Environmental Science (movement of the earth’s crust; volcanoes; effects of atmospheric pressure)
  • Biology (dissections; DNA examination)
  • Chemistry (Crystal formation; forensics; chemical based colour changes)
  • Physics (nature of soundwaves; explosives; forces and energy)

Term 4 will be a time for the students to show their true colours as we participate in the CSIRO Creativity in Science and Technology (CREST) Awards. This award is designed to help students develop skills in scientific research and inspire students to take up further studies in science.  CREST is a non-competitive science and technology award program for primary and secondary students and provides an excellent experience for training students in scientific investigation skills. As a result of completing the award students are awarded an accredited certificate from CSIRO as a record of their achievement. Completion of the CREST award will require some work from the students at home over term four, but support feedback and lots of time will be given during our regular meetings to assist students.

Entry into this club is by application as space is limited. Applications are judged on maturity of the student, demonstrated safety in a science lab, level of interest and achievement in science.  All students who have an interest in science are encouraged to apply to join this group. Students have until the end of week seven (15th March) to submit their completed application forms.

As this group is an extra-curricular activity the cost of chemical supplies will need to be covered by students. If you are offered a position in the group a $20 membership fee is required to secure your position. This money will cover all chemical and equipment costs for our regular meetings for 2013 and the registration fee for entry into the CREST program.

Please complete the application form (here) and submit to Mr R Jackson if you’re interested in this exciting opportunity by Friday week seven! Feel free to email us and ask any questions to either Mr R Jackson ( or Miss J Snelson who will be assisting us this year (