Helix @ CSIRO

Get your hands on science

27 February 2015
by beth
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Lasers and drones measure up forests

A laser scan image of the Tasmanian measurement team. Credit: Peter Scarth.

A laser scan image of the Tasmanian measurement team.
Credit: Peter Scarth.

Drones, lasers, planes and liquid nitrogen were all called in to measure the growth of a Tasmanian forest.

Sometimes measurement can be a little more exciting than you might think. Recently, researchers brought together by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network [TERN] used a range of high-tech instruments to measure 25 square kilometres of Tasmanian forest. Continue Reading →

20 February 2015
by beth
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Plastic world

Most of Australia’s ocean plastic comes from littering.  Credit: ©istock.com/tanukiphoto

Most of Australia’s ocean plastic comes from littering.
Credit: ©istock.com/tanukiphoto

Each year, around 16 plastic bags full of plastic enters the oceans for every meter of coastline – but where is it coming from?

Chris Wilcox, a researcher at CSIRO, used maths to find out how much plastic countries around the world are throwing into the oceans. It turns out it’s a lot.

“In 2010, if you turned all the plastic we threw in the oceans into cling film, it would cover the whole of Australia 1.6 times,” he says. Continue Reading →

13 February 2015
by beth
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Touchscreen texture

Imagine if your touchscreen had texture. Pages, pictures and games would all come to life under your fingertips.

three fingers with faces painted on them.

Fingers can feel texture on a flat surface when they feel a sideways force.
Credit: ©istock.com/triloks

Researchers are finding out ways that we can trick out brains into thinking a flat touch screen is a world of texture.

They are doing it by understanding the science of touch. We know that when our fingertips feel a sideways force, even on a flat surface, our brain interprets this as a bump or ridge in the surface. Continue Reading →

10 February 2015
by David
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A game of Sprouts

You will need

three dots

Draw a few dots on a page.

  • Pencil and paper
  • Someone to play with

What to do

  1. Draw at least two big dots on the paper. These are called spots.
  2. Decide who gets to go first.
  3. On your turn, draw a line from one spot to another spot.
  4. When you finish drawing your line, put a spot somewhere along its length, splitting the line in two.
  5. There are two rules you need to follow:

Continue Reading →

9 February 2015
by Nat
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2015 BHP Billiton Science Awards winners

Jackson Huang and Dhruv Verma are your 2015 BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Award winners.

Jackson Huang and Dhruv Verma are your 2015 BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Award winners.

A big congratulations to Dhruv Verma from Victoria and Jackson Huang from Queensland, the two winners of this year’s BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards. Dhruv was recognised for his PROTEGO project, and Jackson for his investigation into heartburn medication alternatives.

See 2015 student winners for details of the winners and place getters.

For more information on Jackson’s and Dhruv’s work visit the CSIRO blog here.

6 February 2015
by David
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Shhh, you’re hurting my head

A whale surfacing to breathe.

A humpback whale’s skull amplifies low frequency sound, helping it to hear noises in the ocean.
Credit: ©istock.com/miblue5

Researchers have found that whales hear low frequency sounds by amplifying them in their skull bones. Ocean sounds made by humans may be messing with their heads.

Up until now, it’s been a mystery how baleen whales hear sound. Using the skull of a fin whale that had washed up on the beach, researchers have found the answer. Continue Reading →

2 February 2015
by Nat
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2015 BHP Billiton Science Awards

Meet the next generation of scientists and engineers – 2015 BHP Billiton science and engineering awards.

How much did you love your Bunsen burner time at school? Or were you more of an adoring-algebra type?

To us, nothing is more valuable and important than nurturing a love of science and technology in the next generation. This is why the BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards are such a terrific motivator for students looking to turn their great ideas into reality.

So, before you get lost in your high-school reminiscing, we thought we should share a couple of the entries which have made it to the finals this year.
Continue Reading →