AQ – Volume 84, Issue 2

AQ cover

Beyond the bomb: Seeing through Australia’s nuclear fear

‘Nuclear’ headlines float above pictures of giant mushroom clouds; devastation—wrought by a powerful earthquake and tsunami—is paired with news coverage of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. It’s unsurprising that we as a society fear the atom. Yet these nuclear fears stem from a lack of understanding, more than anything else. On the forgotten side of the coin, nuclear physics has brought about medical innovation and saved countless lives. Our dealings with the atom are complex; we gain nothing from fearing it and everything from understanding it.

Elizabeth Williams  

Is there any science behind marine parks?

Australia now has begun implementing plans for the world’s largest network of protected marine areas. At least on the surface the government appears to be delivering on its international environmental commitments, providing world leadership in the policy and science of marine ecosystems. But is this brave new plan really quite as brave as it appears? More importantly, is it likely to work?

Alex Campbell

Hypothesis-driven research? Bring back the Bacon.

In today’s funding landscape would Isaac Newton have been left eating his apple, unable to afford to study its implications? Is modern science too focused on ‘hypothesis-driven’ studies, to the exclusion of science where an open-mind, a keen eye and a little bit of luck can produce outstanding breakthroughs? Some of mankind’s greatest discoveries have been accidents, but in a nonsensical funding system are fortune and inspiration in science a thing of the past? Once again The Science Righter sets their sights on the issues facing scientists today.

The Science Righter  

Getting the Measure of Australians

Anthropometry is the measurement of the size and shape of people. What does the Australian population look like and how do we differ from the rest of the world? The answer is, we don’t know! There is currently no up-to-date, comprehensive, publically owned and accessible anthropometric database of the Australian population available to designers of workplaces and products. This fact creates waste, limits innovation and potentially puts Australian workers in danger. With important applications in everything from plane cockpit design to the clothes on your back, it’s now time to consider an Australian Body Sizing Resource database.

Verna Blewett, Daisy Veitch, Stephen Ward and Chris Fitzgerald