Ockham’s Razor is a soap box for all things scientific, with short talks about research, industry and policy from people with something thoughtful to say about science.
If there’s one thing Australians know how to be smug about, it’s that our country is home to some of the most incredible ecosystems in the world. But today, we’re visiting one that is massive in size, massively economically important … and massively underappreciated, to the point that that you may never have even heard of it.
Mention the term “startup” and your mind probably goes to Silicon Valley and high-tech computer science. But startups exist in regional Australia as well – and what’s more, they’re crucial to our future. This week, we’re hearing from Elena Kelareva on startups in Gippsland, in regional Victoria – and how getting away from preconceptions is one of the first steps to startup success.
Where does cancer come from? Well there are a few answers to that question – genetic changes, maybe it’s triggered by a virus. But for two species of cute, fuzzy animals, they can be transmitted directly. This week, we’re hearing from Ruth Pye about this surprising thing that two species in very different parts of the world have in common.
Are you a fan of pop music? What about rap? Or maybe you like edgy, experimental, electronic stuff? Well – that’s what you think. But if we covered your head with sensors and played you some music, we might discover differently.
Our own health and the health of our planet as two things that are intertwined. Today, we hear from obstetrician Kristine Barnden about the gap between good health in theory, and the challenges to having it in practice. It’s something Kristine sees not just in human health… but in the health of our climate as well.
Did you know that across the Tasman, in New Zealand, some kitchens have roller cupboard doors instead of, you know, normal cupboard doors? It’s because of the earthquakes. Sometimes they’re so bad that your crockery can shake out of your cupboards and smash, and the roller ones prevent this. Lucky for us, earthquakes don’t really happen in Australia, so it’s not something we need to worry about. Right? Well… it’s time you met seismologist Dr Trevor Allen.
If you had to pit endangered species next to each other in a contest of who was most good-looking, tigers would have to be pretty close to the top of the list. They’re gorgeous – and getting people on board with the idea of protecting them isn’t too hard. But what about the people who live on the edges of their habitat? This week, we discover that conservation is a noble goal… but it’s got to be done in partnership with local communities. Our narrator: Professor Wendy Wright from Federation U...more
Living as we do in a country that’s prone to drought, it’s no surprise that the subject of irrigation for farming can become a contentious one in Australia. Stepping up to the mic today is Rose Roche, who wants to bring some much-needed nuance to the water debate… and she’s enlisting the help of fairy tales and Disney princesses.
If you could take your brain and zoom in a couple of times – and then a bit more – you’d see structures that look like towers and tentacles, and behave like pieces of automatic Lego. It’s a crazy miniature world, and one we’re going to get a tour of today. Our tour guide is Dr Kiara Bruggeman, who’s hijacking and hacking these nano-sized structures, in the hopes of helping stroke-affected brains heal.
You know in movies, where it turns out the scrappy young hero had the power to succeed inside themselves all along – they just had to learn how to harness it? It turns out this is more than just a storytelling trope – it can also be true for communities, recovering from disaster.
Look, don’t put your mobile phone in a blender. Just… trust me on this one. But if you did, you’d find more of the periodic table of elements in that pulverised phone dust than you might expect. What’s that, you want more context? Allison Britt from Geoscience Australia can explain.
We’re pretty used to walking into a supermarket and expecting the stuff we want to be on the shelf. Or at least we were until last year, when panic-buying lifted the curtain a bit on just how complex our food supply can be. Lucky for us, it’s something smart people are studying hard – including development economist Katie Ricketts.
We know that giving students choice and ownership over their own learning is best, but has it been lost from the education system?
When I say “brown coal”, what word comes to mind? Dirty? Well maybe that’s fair… if you want to burn it. But Vince Verheyen reckons there’s a future for it in a net zero emissions world. The starting point is understanding what it is, geologically, and how to make the most of its ingredients.
Why is it that so many people are horrible online? Are they always bad people?
Caveat emptor – buyer beware.
There are those places in nature that we come back to, again and again. The reason we come is because they’re so beautiful, or peaceful… but it’s the act of returning regularly that helps us notice when things are different. The landscape is telling us in those subtle changes what’s happening to it.
Why are medicos often so bad at giving us a straight answer to this question – and how could they respond better?
Think about the stem cells in an embryo – they’re a bit like a teenager on the brink of adulthood, with the potential to be almost anything they want to be.
Morbid question for you - how long do you reckon your remains hang around for, after you die? How about the rest of the things you’ve used in your life?
Take a moment and imagine yourself in nature - whether it is walking in a magical rainforest, swimming in the ocean, or a moment of wonder at the animals and plants around.
What happens when you’re very young can have a life-long effect on your relationships, as Raquel Peel knows all too well.
What do your undies have to do with the health of Australian soils?
What did you do when you woke up this morning? Social media on the mobile, checking the weather on your speaker or your heartrate and sleep patterns on your smart watch?
If the numbers of TV shows on the topic are anything to go by, everyone loves a cold case – trying to crack a mysterious death from the past.
What makes someone who cruises through life relatively happily different to someone who struggles with mental health issues?
What if our entire universe, including you and I, could be boiled down to one object: a vibrating string?
520 million years ago, the oceans teemed with some of the most bizarre animals ever to have lived.
What do boiled bandicoot, smuggled salami and an invisibility cloak have in common?
They breathe air but live underwater, and like their land-dwelling counterparts their bites are venomous.
Nathan Brooks-English usually studies the geological processes that make mountains but on one particular field trip, the thing he learned most about was human connection.
Microbes are critically important to the health of a coral reef.
It's a story familiar to many families. A loved one is in aged care, and it's only after you visit them that you discover things are going wrong.
Tens of thousands of fans watching on. The weight of a country's hopes on your shoulders. And a leather ball speeding towards you at 140 kilometres per hour.
When life gives you fire, you don't need more coal. This talk was first broadcast on 26 April, 2020.
When Kylie Soanes bounced out of her graduation ceremony with a newly-minted PhD, she thought she knew what she was in for. This talk was originally broadcast on August 6, 2017.
Every day we make hundreds of choices, big and small, that build to become the story of our lives – the friends we make, the careers we choose, our partners and our purpose.
It might be the ultimate dream for preppers and Trekkies: life in a Dyson sphere. Astrophysicist Natasha Hurley-Walker takes us to a possible distant future via the physics of continuous economic growth. This talk was first broadcast on October 27, 2019.
It's one thing to big note yourself. But the founder of the Church of Scientology is guilty of scientific fraud, explains author and investigative journalist Steve Cannane. This program was first broadcast on September 8, 2019.
Can kids understand relativity and quantum physics? This program was first broadcast on 8 December, 2019.
What happens to communities when a company wants to put in a wind turbine farm? This program first aired on November 12, 2017.
Cross disciplinary research, undergraduate study, postgraduate study, double degrees! This program first aired on February 4, 2018.
Treating obesity is never as simple as eat less, exercise more. This program first aired on November 17, 2019.
Neuroscience PhD student Samuel Mills reflects — and shares a few stories about the brilliant neurologist and author — at Melbourne's Laborastory. This program first aired on April 22, 2018.
Could VR headsets save your life? This episode first aired April 29, 2018
How NASA helped calculate the economic value a refugee population brought to town. (First broadcast March 11, 2018.
Truly clean coal technology is not a myth, argues University of Newcastle chemical engineering researcher Dr Jessica Allen.
Understanding gender when biologists and gender theorists are at odds. [First aired March 25, 2018]
Franz Nopcsa — aristocrat, spy and a co-founder of paleobiology.[First aired on March 18, 2018]
Modern drug research and ancient medicine intertwine in this tale of the fight against malaria. This episode first aired February 11, 2018.