If You Put Aussie Science Under The Microscope You'll Be Blown Away

Across Australia we're celebrating all things Science. Get on board!

Australians punch above their weight when it comes to Science. You need only mention the Cochlear Implant or the Cervical Cancer Vaccine to make our hearts swell with pride.

Or the 2018 Australia of the Year, Professor Michelle Simmons.

Her team is the only one in the world that can manipulate individual atoms to make atomically precise electronic devices, and leads the world in developing a quantum computer in silicon.

"I firmly believe there is nowhere else in the world better to do scientific research and challenge what's possible," says Simmons.
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Depending on where you live -- this week or this month -- Australia is celebrating all things Science, and the Oscars in Aussie science is taking centre stage.

The 2018 Eureka Awards, run by the Australian Museum, are just one of a suite of prestigious programs shining a light on our budding brains trusts.

This year 47 finalists are in the running for 16 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes in the categories of:  Research and Innovation;  Leadership; Science Engagement and School Science.

From helping solve our energy crisis with renewable energy -- please take note, Prime Minister -- to a new adhesive surgical glue that can quickly seal wounds in emergency situations.

There's a new bio-pen -- a handheld 3D printer --  that helps repair damaged cartilage, to developing a new simple screening test for Type 1 Diabetes.

These awards also recognise our scientists of the future, such as Claire Glavin and Eliza Dalziel, who explore how sea cucumbers can help reduce the harmful impacts of climate change.

Here's a list of my favourite entries.

Professor Andrew Blakers, Dr Matthew Stocks and Bin Lu have challenged the barriers to renewable energy in Australia and discovered 22,000 sites that are suitable for cost-effective pumped hydro energy storage, raising the profile of opportunities for pumped hydro investment within the clean energy industry.

A multidisciplinary team of scientists, engineers and clinicians has produced the ‘Biopen’, a handheld 3D printer that can be used in surgery to repair damaged cartilage.

The technology was developed with a view to preventing osteoarthritis, a debilitating and painful condition that affects over 1 million Australians.

Type 1 diabetes affects more than 120,000 Australians and usually occurs in childhood. The T1D Research Team has uncovered a genetic pattern that indicates type-1 diabetes risk among infants, bringing a simple screening test one step closer.

Their discovery could help clinicians to focus monitoring of children with the highest risk, transforming management of the condition.

Professor Tony Weiss has developed an adhesive surgical glue that quickly seals wounds without the need for common staples.

The technology, made from natural elastic protein, has the potential to revolutionise treatment at emergency sites and was recently sold to an international pharmaceutical company.

The ECOCEAN Whale Shark Research, Education and Conservation Project enables citizen scientists to collect identification data on whale sharks.

The program involves community monitoring, photo identification, satellite tracking and star-mapping technology, helping researchers better understand the movements and ecology of this endangered species.

The project also delivers education outreach activities to engage school students and the community in marine conservation.

Making A Splash examines the important role that sea cucumbers play in protecting our coral reefs.

Eliza and Claire assess the potential role of the species in raising calcium carbonate levels in these fragile ecosystems, which helps to rebuild reefs, increase nutrient recycling and counteract the harmful effects of climate change.

Some of Australia’s rarest birds could soon be back from the brink of extinction, thanks to the pioneering conservation efforts of the Difficult Bird Research Group.

The team has devised a series of strategies for rescuing the populations of three endangered Tasmanian bird species, which they were able to rapidly implement following a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Swift Parrots, Orange-Bellied Parrots and Forty-Spotted Pardalotes are slowly coming back thanks to imaginative scientists who gathered community support and participation to tackle challenges of large areas and shy birds.

But it's not just the Australian Museum promoting our scientists.

Every week on news services across the country, we celebrate some pretty impressive developments.

Take Gillian Bowen's exclusive on Ten News last week, with Scientists at the Victor Chang Institute in Sydney -- in a world first --  identifying how zebra fish heal themselves with a  special type of immune cell, which could lead to the ability to regenerate a damaged heart.

So get on board and cheer on our scientists.

Just like our athletes, our scientists need your support and recognition.  Help them where you can.

There are events across the country celebrating and promoting science.

So stay tuned, I'll detail the winners of the Eureka Awards when they're announced on August 29.