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  • richardmitnick 1:55 pm on November 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ASKAP-Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, , , , , CSIRO, , , Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia,   

    From International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research: “Aussie telescope almost doubles known number of mysterious ‘fast radio bursts’” 

    ICRAR Logo
    From International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

    October 11, 2018
    Dr Ryan Shannon
    Swinburne University of Technology
    & OzGrav ARC Centre of Excellence
    +61 3 9214 5205
    rshannon@swin.edu.au

    Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart —
    ICRAR / Curtin University
    +61 8 9266 9248
    jean-pierre.macquart@icrar.org

    Dr Keith Bannister
    CSIRO
    +61 2 9372 4295
    keith.bannister@csiro.au

    Pete Wheeler —
    Media Contact, ICRAR
    Ph: +61 423 982 018
    pete.wheeler@icrar.org

    October 11, 2018

    Australian researchers using a CSIRO radio telescope in Western Australia have nearly doubled the known number of ‘fast radio bursts’— powerful flashes of radio waves from deep space.
    The team’s discoveries include the closest and brightest fast radio bursts ever detected. Their findings were reported today in the journal Nature.

    Fast radio bursts come from all over the sky and last for just milliseconds. Scientists don’t know what causes them but it must involve incredible energy—equivalent to the amount released by the Sun in 80 years. “We’ve found 20 fast radio bursts in a year, almost doubling the number detected worldwide since they were discovered in 2007,” said lead author Dr Ryan Shannon, from Swinburne University of Technology and the OzGrav ARC Centre of Excellence.

    “Using the new technology of the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), we’ve also proved that fast radio bursts are coming from the other side of the Universe rather than from our own galactic neighbourhood.”

    Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is a radio telescope array located at Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the Australian Mid West. ASKAP consists of 36 identical parabolic antennas, each 12 metres in diameter, working together as a single instrument with a total collecting area of approximately 4,000 square metres.

    1
    For each burst, the top panels show what the FRB signal looks like when averaged over all frequencies. The bottom panels show how the brightness of the burst changes with frequency. The bursts are vertical because they have been corrected for dispersion. Credit: Ryan Shannon and the CRAFT collaboration.

    Co-author Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart, from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said bursts travel for billions of years and occasionally pass through clouds of gas. “Each time this happens, the different wavelengths that make up a burst are slowed by different amounts,” he said. “Eventually, the burst reaches Earth with its spread of wavelengths arriving at the telescope at slightly different times, like swimmers at a finish line. “Timing the arrival of the different wavelengths tells us how much material the burst has travelled through on its journey. “And because we’ve shown that fast radio bursts come from far away, we can use them to detect all the missing matter located in the space between galaxies—which is a really exciting discovery.”

    CSIRO’s Dr Keith Bannister, who engineered the systems that detected the bursts, said ASKAP’s phenomenal discovery rate is down to two things. “The telescope has a whopping field of view of 30 square degrees, 100 times larger than the full Moon,” he said. “And, by using the telescope’s dish antennas in a radical way, with each pointing at a different part of the sky, we observed 240 square degrees all at once—about a thousand times the area of the full Moon. “ASKAP is astoundingly good for this work.”

    Dr Shannon said we now know that fast radio bursts originate from about halfway across the Universe but we still don’t know what causes them or which galaxies they come from.
    The team’s next challenge is to pinpoint the locations of bursts on the sky. “We’ll be able to localise the bursts to better than a thousandth of a degree,” Dr Shannon said.
    “That’s about the width of a human hair seen ten metres away, and good enough to tie each burst to a particular galaxy.”

    ASKAP is located at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia, and is a precursor for the future Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope.

    SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)

    The SKA could observe large numbers of fast radio bursts, giving astronomers a way to study the early Universe in detail.

    CSIRO acknowledges the Wajarri Yamaji as the traditional owners of the MRO site.

    A fast radio burst leaves a distant galaxy, travelling to Earth over billions of years and occasionally passing through clouds of gas in its path. Each time a cloud of gas is encountered, the different wavelengths that make up a burst are slowed by different amounts. Timing the arrival of the different wavelengths at a radio telescope tells us how much material the burst has travelled through on its way to Earth and allows astronomers to to detect “missing” matter located in the space between galaxies. Credit: CSIRO/ICRAR/OzGrav/Swinburne University of Technology

    Dr Ryan Shannon (Swinburne/OzGrav), Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart (Curtin/ICRAR) and Dr Keith Bannister (CSIRO) describe their discovery of 20 new fast radio bursts (FRBs) and how the Phased Array Feed (PAF) receiver technology in CSIRO’s Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope enabled this breakthrough science. Credit: CSIRO.

    More Information:
    ASKAP

    The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is the world’s fastest survey radio telescope. Designed and engineered by CSIRO, ASKAP is made up of 36 ‘dish’ antennas, spread across a 6km diameter, that work together as a single instrument called an interferometer. The key feature of ASKAP is its wide field of view, generated by its unique phased array feed (PAF) receivers. Together with specialised digital systems, the PAFs create 36 separate (simultaneous) beams on the sky which are mosaicked together into a large single image.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ICRAR is an equal joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia with funding support from the State Government of Western Australia. The Centre’s headquarters are located at UWA, with research nodes at both UWA and the Curtin Institute for Radio Astronomy (CIRA).
    ICRAR has strong support from the government of Australia and is working closely with industry and the astronomy community, including CSIRO and the Australian Telescope National Facility, <a
    ICRAR is:

    Playing a key role in the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, the world's biggest ground-based telescope array.

    Attracting some of the world’s leading researchers in radio astronomy, who will also contribute to national and international scientific and technical programs for SKA and ASKAP.
    Creating a collaborative environment for scientists and engineers to engage and work with industry to produce studies, prototypes and systems linked to the overall scientific success of the SKA, MWA and ASKAP.

    Murchison Widefield Array,SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)

    A Small part of the Murchison Widefield Array

    Enhancing Australia’s position in the international SKA program by contributing to the development process for the SKA in scientific, technological and operational areas.
    Promoting scientific, technical, commercial and educational opportunities through public outreach, educational material, training students and collaborative developments with national and international educational organisations.
    Establishing and maintaining a pool of emerging and top-level scientists and technologists in the disciplines related to radio astronomy through appointments and training.
    Making world-class contributions to SKA science, with emphasis on the signature science themes associated with surveys for neutral hydrogen and variable (transient) radio sources.
    Making world-class contributions to SKA capability with respect to developments in the areas of Data Intensive Science and support for the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory.

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  • richardmitnick 3:58 pm on October 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ASKAP is located at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia, ASKAP telescopes to rule fast radio-burst hunt, , , , , CSIRO, CSIRO acknowledges the Wajarri Yamaji as the traditional owners of the MRO site, , ,   

    From Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation CSIRO: “CSIRO telescope almost doubles known number of mysterious ‘fast radio bursts'” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation CSIRO

    Australian researchers using a CSIRO radio telescope in Western Australia have nearly doubled the known number of ‘fast radio bursts’— powerful flashes of radio waves from deep space.

    1
    Antennas of CSIRO’s Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope. Credit: CSIRO/Alex Cherney

    2
    An artist’s impression of CSIRO’s Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope observing ‘fast radio bursts’ in ‘fly’s-eye mode’. Each antenna points in a slightly different direction, giving maximum sky coverage. ©OzGrav, Swinburne University of Technology

    3
    (L-R) Lead author Dr Ryan Shannon (Swinburne/OzGrav), with co-authors Dr Keith Bannister (CSIRO) and Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart (Curtin/ICRAR). ©Inspireworks

    4
    Dishes of CSIRO’s Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder in ‘fly’s-eye mode’ ©Kim Steel

    The team’s discoveries include the closest and brightest fast radio bursts ever detected.

    Their findings were reported today in the journal Nature .

    Fast radio bursts come from all over the sky and last for just milliseconds.

    Scientists don’t know what causes them but it must involve incredible energy—equivalent to the amount released by the Sun in 80 years.

    “We’ve found 20 fast radio bursts in a year, almost doubling the number detected worldwide since they were discovered in 2007,” lead author Dr Ryan Shannon, from Swinburne University of Technology and the OzGrav ARC Centre of Excellence said.

    “Using the new technology of the Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), we’ve also proved that fast radio bursts are coming from the other side of the Universe rather than from our own galactic neighbourhood.”

    Co-author Dr Jean-Pierre Macquart, from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said bursts travel for billions of years and occasionally pass through clouds of gas.

    “Each time this happens, the different wavelengths that make up a burst are slowed by different amounts,” he said.

    “Eventually, the burst reaches Earth with its spread of wavelengths arriving at the telescope at slightly different times, like swimmers at a finish line.

    “Timing the arrival of the different wavelengths tells us how much material the burst has travelled through on its journey.

    “And because we’ve shown that fast radio bursts come from far away, we can use them to detect all the missing matter located in the space between galaxies—which is a really exciting discovery.”

    CSIRO’s Dr Keith Bannister, who engineered the systems that detected the bursts, said ASKAP’s phenomenal discovery rate is down to two things.

    “The telescope has a whopping field of view of 30 square degrees, 100 times larger than the full Moon,” he said.

    “And, by using the telescope’s dish antennas in a radical way, with each pointing at a different part of the sky, we observed 240 square degrees all at once—about a thousand times the area of the full Moon.

    “ASKAP is astoundingly good for this work.”

    Dr Shannon said we now know that fast radio bursts originate from about halfway across the Universe but we still don’t know what causes them or which galaxies they come from.

    The team’s next challenge is to pinpoint the locations of bursts on the sky.

    “We’ll be able to localise the bursts to better than a thousandth of a degree,” Dr Shannon said.

    “That’s about the width of a human hair seen 10 metres away, and good enough to tie each burst to a particular galaxy.”

    ASKAP is located at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia, and is a precursor for the future Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope.

    The SKA could observe large numbers of fast radio bursts, giving astronomers a way to study the early Universe in detail.

    CSIRO acknowledges the Wajarri Yamaji as the traditional owners of the MRO site.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:24 am on July 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , C6orf106 or "C6", , CSIRO, , Gene discovery unlocks mysteries of our immunity, , Our immune system   

    From Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation CSIRO: “Gene discovery unlocks mysteries of our immunity” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation CSIRO

    7.1.18

    Ofa Fitzgibbons
    Communication Advisor
    +61 2 4960 6188
    Ofa.Fitzgibbons@csiro.au

    Australia’s national science agency CSIRO has identified a new gene that plays a critical role in regulating the body’s immune response to infection and disease.

    1
    The C6orf106 or “C6” gene. No image credit.

    The discovery could lead to the development of new treatments for influenza, arthritis and even cancer.

    The gene, called C6orf106 or “C6”, controls the production of proteins involved in infectious diseases, cancer and diabetes. The gene has existed for 500 million years, but its potential is only now understood.

    “Our immune system produces proteins called cytokines that help fortify the immune system and work to prevent viruses and other pathogens from replicating and causing disease,” CSIRO researcher Dr Cameron Stewart said.

    “C6 regulates this process by switching off the production of certain cytokines to stop our immune response from spiralling out of control.

    “The cytokines regulated by C6 are implicated in a variety of diseases including cancer, diabetes and inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.”

    The discovery helps improve our understanding of our immune system, and it is hoped that this understanding will enable scientists to develop new, more targeted therapies.

    Dr Rebecca Ambrose was part of the CSIRO team that discovered the gene, and co-authored the recent paper announcing the discovery in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

    “Even though the human genome was first fully sequenced in 2003, there are still thousands of genes that we know very little about,” Dr Rebecca Ambrose, a former CSIRO researcher, now based at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research said.

    “It’s exciting to consider that C6 has existed for more than 500 million years, preserved and passed down from simple organisms all the way to humans. But only now are we gaining insights into its importance.”

    Having discovered the function of C6, the researchers are awarded the privilege of naming it, and are enlisting the help of the community to do so.

    “The current name, C6orf106, reflects the gene’s location within the human genome, rather than relating to any particular function,” Dr Stewart said.

    “We think we can do better than that, and are inviting suggestions from the public.”

    A shortlist of names will be made available for final approval by a governing third party.

    The breakthrough builds on decades of work in infectious diseases, by researchers from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:14 pm on May 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: CSIRO, , , Lets astronomers ‘hear’ a wider range of radio waves from objects in space, Parkes has found most of the known pulsars and most of the ‘fast radio bursts’   

    From Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research: “Telescope’s ‘bionic ear’ hears more of the universe” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    New technology installed on CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope today will let astronomers ‘hear’ a wider range of radio waves from objects in space, opening the way to new science.

    1
    Receiver in the anechoic chamber.©CSIRO

    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia

    2
    The telescope is now 10,000 times more sensitive than when it was built in 1961 and has found most of the known pulsars and most of the ‘fast radio bursts’ that still mystify astronomers. It also helped reveal the nature of bright sources called quasars and discovered a new spiral arm in our Galaxy. ©CSIRO

    The new equipment is a receiver, a ‘bionic ear’ for the cosmos which catches radio waves and turns them into electrical signals for astronomers to analyse.

    The $2.5 million instrument was developed by CSIRO and a consortium of Australian universities led by Swinburne, with funding from the Australian Research Council, Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

    CSIRO and Swinburne each designed and built parts of the system.

    “Stars and galaxies ‘sing’ with different voices, some high, some low,” CSIRO astronomer Dr George Hobbs said.

    “It’s like a choir out there.”

    A receiver determines which radio frequencies the telescope can hear.

    “Until now we’ve had receivers that heard just one part of the choir at a time,” Dr Hobbs said.

    “This new one lets us listen to the whole choir at once.”

    The new receiver covers a very wide frequency range, 700 MHz to 4 GHz. It does the work of several existing receivers and also covers extra frequencies that they don’t.

    Parkes has been continually upgraded throughout its lifetime and is already one of the world’s most productive radio telescopes.

    The telescope is now 10,000 times more sensitive than when it was built in 1961 and has found most of the known pulsars and most of the ‘fast radio bursts’ that still mystify astronomers.

    It also helped reveal the nature of bright sources called quasars and discovered a new spiral arm in our Galaxy.

    “Most of the projects the new system would be used for are forefront astronomical science,” Swinburne’s Professor Matthew Bailes, who led the university consortium, said.

    Those projects include searching for gravitational waves from black holes in the early Universe, studying the insides of neutron stars, and mapping the magnetic fields that run through our Galaxy.

    The new receiver will let the telescope do different projects at the same time.

    “While some of us are timing a pulsar, other astronomers could be looking for the signs of newborn stars,” Dr Hobbs said.

    “The expertise built up in these technologies will enable Australia to compete effectively into the era of the Square Kilometre Array, the world’s largest radio telescope.”

    SKA ASKAP Phased Array

    Swinburne engineers designed the data processor for the Parkes receiver using experience gained through work for the Square Kilometre Array.

    CSIRO is a world leader in receiver design. CSIRO and engineers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently worked together to develop a receiver for China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST). In addition, the Parkes telescope is following up radio sources detected with FAST.

    FAST radio telescope, now operating, located in the Dawodang depression in Pingtang county Guizhou Province, South China, https://astronomynow.com

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    stem

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:14 pm on February 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , CSIRO, , Signs of earliest stars seen from Australia,   

    From CSIRO: “Signs of earliest stars seen from Australia “ 

    CSIRO bloc

    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    01 Mar 2018
    Annabelle Young
    Phone +61 2 9372 4270
    Mobile +61 403 928 102
    Email annabelle.young@csiro.au

    Using a small radio telescope at a CSIRO observatory in Western Australia, US astronomers have detected a signal from the first stars to have emerged in the early universe about 180 million years after the Big Bang.

    1
    Artist’s rendering of how the first stars in the universe may have looked. ©N.R.Fuller, National Science Foundation.

    Inflationary Universe. NASA/WMAP


    A timeline of the universe, updated to show when the first stars emerged. This updated timeline of the universe reflects the recent discovery that the first stars emerged by 180 million years after the Big Bang. The research behind this timeline was conducted by Judd Bowman of Arizona State University and his colleagues, with funding from the National Science Foundation. ©N.R.Fuller, National Science Foundation.

    3
    EDGES ground-based radio spectrometer. In each instrument, sky radiation is collected by a wideband dipole-like antenna consisting of two rectangular metal panels mounted horizontally above a metal ground plane. A receiver with two internal noise comparison sources is installed underneath the ground plane. A balun is used to guide radiation from the antenna panels to the receiver. The EDGES detection required the exceptional radio quietness at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, as Australian national legislation limits the use of radio transmitters within 260 kilometers of the site. This discovery sets the stage for follow-up observations with other powerful low-frequency facilities at the same radio-quiet site, including the forthcoming SKA-low.

    4
    EDGES ground-based radio spectrometer, CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. The instrument on its wire mesh ground plane. The bottom panel shows a closer view of the antenna before the extension of the ground plane. The two elevated metal panels form the dipole-based antenna and are supported by fiberglass legs. The balun consists of the two vertical brass tubes in the middle of the antenna. The receiver is located under the white metal support structure. The EDGES detection required the exceptional radio quietness at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, as Australian national legislation limits the use of radio transmitters within 260 kilometers of the site. This discovery sets the stage for follow-up observations with other powerful low-frequency facilities at the same radio-quiet site, including the forthcoming SKA-low.

    The discovery is reported in the journal Nature today.

    After the Big Bang, the universe cooled and went dark for millions of years. In the darkness, gravity pulled matter together until stars formed and burst into life, bringing the ‘cosmic dawn’.

    This new-found signal marks the closest astronomers have seen to that moment.

    “Finding this miniscule signal has opened a new window on the early universe,” lead author Dr Judd Bowman of Arizona State University said.

    Dr Bowman has been running his Experiment to Detect the Global EoR (Epoch of Reionization) Signature (EDGES ) for 12 years. Nine years ago he started doing the observations from CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), after searching for the best place on the planet for this work.

    The radio signal Dr Bowman’s team found was incredibly faint, coming from 13.6 billion years back in the universe’s history.

    It also fell in the region of the spectrum used by FM radio stations, making detection of this weak signal from most Earth-based sites impossible.

    The MRO observatory is in a naturally extremely ‘radio-quiet’ location. This unique characteristic is protected by a legislated ‘radio quiet’ zone up to 260 km across, which keeps human-made activities that produce interfering radio signals to an absolute minimum.

    The MRO’s development was managed by Antony Schinckel, CSIRO’s Head of Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Construction and Planning.

    SKA Square Kilometer Array

    “Finding this signal is an absolute triumph, a triumph made possible by the extreme attention to detail by Judd’s team, combined with the exceptional radio quietness of the CSIRO site,” Mr Schinckel said.

    “We worked hard to select this site for the long-term future of radio astronomy after exhaustive investigations across the country. We believe we have the gold standard in radio quietness, the best site in the world.

    “This is one of the most technically challenging radio astronomy experiments ever attempted. The lead authors include two of the best radio astronomy experimentalists in the world and they have gone to great lengths to design and calibrate their equipment in order to have convincing evidence for a real signal,” Mr Schinckel said.

    Dr Robert Braun, Science Director at the SKA Organisation said “this is a powerful demonstration of what can be achieved with the combination of an excellent site and world-class engineering, boding well for the great discoveries that will be enabled by the SKA.”

    Dr Bowman praised the support he had received from CSIRO.

    “The infrastructure and logistical support that CSIRO has provided for EDGES has enabled our small team to focus on developing the new instrumentation and techniques needed for the experiment.

    “CSIRO’s operations team at the MRO has been phenomenal. They have helped to install the experiment and maintain it between our visits to the site. Their expertise has been invaluable, they helped us learn how to operate in the outback environment.

    “In addition astronomers at the Curtin University node of ICRAR supported the EDGES project by sharing equipment and supplies on site at the MRO,” Dr Bowman said.

    The MRO was developed by CSIRO for its Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope and also hosts a low-frequency telescope, the Murchison Widefield Array , developed by an international collaboration, led by Curtin University.

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    SKA Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO)

    These telescopes make use of the radio-quiet nature of the site and also are important precursors to the Square Kilometre Array itself. It is now the Australian site for the low-frequency telescope of the future Square Kilometre Array, SKA1 Low.

    CSIRO hosts and manages a wide range of science-ready national research facilities and infrastructure that is used by thousands of Australian and international researchers each year.

    CSIRO acknowledges the Wajarri people as the traditional owners of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory site.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:19 am on February 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CSIRO, , Sea water filtration   

    From CSIRO via Science Alert: “This New Graphene Invention Makes Filthy Seawater Drinkable in One Simple Step “ 

    CSIRO bloc

    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    Science Alert

    16 FEB 2018
    MICHELLE STARR

    1
    (CSIRO)

    2.1 billion people still don’t have safe drinking water.

    Using a type of graphene called Graphair, scientists from Australia have created a water filter that can make highly polluted seawater drinkable after just one pass.

    The technology could be used to cheaply provide safe drinking water to regions of the world without access to it.

    “Almost a third of the world’s population, some 2.1 billion people, don’t have clean and safe drinking water,” said lead author Dong Han Seo.

    “As a result, millions – mostly children – die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene every year. In Graphair we’ve found a perfect filter for water purification.

    “It can replace the complex, time consuming and multi-stage processes currently needed with a single step.”

    Developed by researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Graphair is a form of graphene made out of soybean oil.

    Graphene – a one-atom-thick, ultrastrong carbon material – might be touted as a supermaterial, but it’s been relatively expensive to produce, which has been limiting its use in broader applications.

    Graphair is cheaper and simpler to produce than more traditional graphene manufacturing methods, while retaining the properties of graphene.

    One of those properties is hydrophobia – graphene repels water.

    To turn it into a filter, the researchers developed a graphene film with microscopic nanochannels; these allow the water through, but stop larger pollutants with larger molecules.

    Then the team overlaid their new film on a typical, commercial-grade water filtration membrane to do some tests.

    When used by itself, a water filtration membrane becomes coated with contaminants, blocking the pores that allow the water through. The researchers found that during their tests using highly polluted Sydney Harbour water, a normal water filter’s filtration rate halved without the graphene film.

    Then the Graphair was added to the filter. The team found that the combination filter screened out more contaminants – 99 percent of them – faster than the conventional filter. And it continued to work even when coated with pollutants, the researchers said.

    This eliminates a step from other filtration methods – removing the contaminants from the water before passing it through the membrane to prevent them from coating it.

    This is a similar result to one found last year, where minuscule pores in a graphene filter were able to prevent salt from seawater from passing through – and allow water through faster.

    “This technology can create clean drinking water, regardless of how dirty it is, in a single step,” Seo said.

    “All that’s needed is heat, our graphene, a membrane filter, and a small water pump. We’re hoping to commence field trials in a developing world community next year.”

    Eventually, they believe that the technology could be used for household and even town-based water filtration, as well as seawater and industrial wastewater treatment.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:45 am on January 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Argo floats, , , CSIRO, CSIRO’s Research Vessel "Investigator", Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Laboratoire d’Océanographie et du Climat (LOCEAN France), , Scripps Research Institute (USA), The vast Southern Ocean plays a major role in how climate variability and change will play out in future decades, These new generation data-collecting autonomous ocean robots will provide unprecedented information about oceans up to depths of 5000 metres   

    From CSIRO: “Deep diving for answers on climate” 

    CSIRO bloc

    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    10 Jan 2018
    Chris Gerbing
    Chris.Gerbing@csiro.au
    +61 3 9545 2312

    1
    Dr Steve Rintoul is leading research to the Antarctic edge, deploying the first ever deep Argo floats in the region. ©Peter Mathew.

    For the first time scientists will deploy new model deep sea Argo floats in the Southern Ocean that will help build our understanding of oceans, how they are warming and the impact on our climate.

    A global network of over 3800 Argo floats already provide us with an understanding of ocean temperature and salinity up to 2000 metres, however these new generation, data-collecting, autonomous ocean robots will provide unprecedented information about oceans up to depths of 5000 metres.

    The deep water Argo floats will be deployed as part of a six-week research expedition that will set sail for Antarctica tomorrow aboard CSIRO’s Research Vessel “Investigator”.

    Researchers will be investigating climate contributions of the deep ocean, clouds and atmospheric aerosols through a series of projects that will fill information gaps about the magnitude and pace of future climate change.

    Voyage Chief Scientist Dr Steve Rintoul, from CSIRO and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, said research from the voyage would provide unique information about the Southern Hemisphere’s ocean’s capacity to continue to absorb heat and carbon dioxide.

    “The world’s climate is strongly influenced by the oceans, and the vast Southern Ocean plays a major role in how climate variability and change will play out in future decades,” Dr Rintoul said.

    “We already know that the Southern Ocean makes important contributions to global sea level change through taking up more heat than any other ocean on Earth and through influencing how fast the Antarctic Ice Sheet loses mass.

    “To understand this system we need comprehensive and continuous measurements over a huge area of ocean, which has been very difficult in the past.”

    Dr Rintoul’s team will be deploying 11 deep-water floats near the Antarctic edge that have been supplied by the Scripps Research Institute (USA), Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), and Laboratoire d’Océanographie et du Climat (LOCEAN, France).

    “It’s the first time these next-generation deep water Argo floats will be deployed near Antarctica. By providing year-round measurements through the full ocean depth, the floats will fill a massive data gap for the climate research community,” Dr Rintoul said.

    Scientists from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre will also be making measurements of trace elements like iron, using ultra-clean techniques to avoid contamination. Phytoplankton, like humans, need small amounts of iron to be healthy. The voyage will help identify what controls how much biological activity occurs in the Southern Ocean.

    During the Investigator’s journey, an international team of scientists from agencies including CSIRO, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and the University of Utah, will conduct experiments to explore the interaction between aerosols and clouds.

    Clouds and aerosols, which occur naturally and from greenhouse gases, both reflect and absorb heat from the sun, but as greenhouse gases change globally, so will this interaction.

    Bureau of Meteorology Project Leader Dr Alain Protat said that the experiments will use a unique combination of aircraft, ship-based and satellite observations to collect detailed data on clouds and the interactions between incoming radiation, aerosol production, and then the formation of precipitation.

    “The Southern Ocean region is the cloudiest place on Earth, yet we don’t understand why these clouds are different from clouds in other regions – the lack of pollution over this remote region is a possible explanation, which we will explore with these unprecedented observations,” Dr Protat said.

    “We know from reference satellite observations that global climate models struggle to represent the energy balance at the Earth’s surface over the Southern Ocean region, and what that means for the accuracy of future climate predictions is largely unknown.

    “The complexity of the problem requires collocated, state-of-the art, measurements of aerosol, clouds, precipitation and radiation to understand the interactions and feedbacks between them.”

    Ocean and atmospheric research conducted aboard the Investigator will provide valuable and unique insights to inform knowledge of climate change and sea level rise projections.

    The Investigator is run by the Marine National Facility and is Australia’s only blue-water research vessel, enabling scientists from across Australia and the world to study from the equator to Antarctica.

    See the full article here .

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    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:12 am on December 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CSIRO, , Ten innovations chosen for Accelerator program   

    From CSIRO: “Ten innovations chosen for Accelerator program” 

    CSIRO bloc

    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

    08 Dec 2017
    Jessica Hildyard

    A detection system to keep prawns safe from pests, a smarter smaller wind turbine and wearable tech that can screen for gut disorders are some of the emerging technologies that will be fast-tracked though the national sci-tech accelerator, ‘ON, powered by CSIRO’.

    Ten teams announced today have been selected for the latest round of ON Accelerate, a structured, full-time accelerator that brings together the experience and expertise of established researchers, entrepreneurs and inspiring mentors.

    [I found no image of the accelerator.]

    CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said that ON had uncovered science and technology solutions for some of Australia’s biggest challenges in energy, food and agriculture, water quality, wildlife conservation and health.

    “Establishing ON was about bringing the Australian research sector closer to Australian industry – creating a pathway to help our scientists turn their excellent science into real-world solutions,” Dr Marshall said.

    “The program is built on the shoulders of scientists who have made the leap into business, and likewise business people who have leapt into the world of science.

    “Bridging the gap between science and business, ON delivers in a similar way to the prestigious US I-Corps program, which is probably the most successful accelerator in the world.

    “The key advantage of ON is that it is backed by the national science agency, and almost every university has jumped in with us to support ON.

    “This collaboration across the innovation system is allowing us to deliver game-changing innovations for Australia and the world.”

    Selected following a competitive two-day bootcamp, the teams come from the University of Newcastle, Flinders University, Macquarie University, The University of Western Australia, James Cook University and CSIRO.

    Tony Tucker from the ‘eDNA Field Pump’ team at James Cook University in Townsville said ON had completely changed his view on commercialisation and the value in unlocking important Australian research.

    “When we came into Bootcamp, I was initially sceptical about what we could get out of the program, and wasn’t sure what we could actually achieve,” Mr Tucker said.

    “But I’m completely won over by the ON program – I now know why this experience is so important.

    “The feedback from the mentors and judging panel helped me see how we could have an even greater impact.

    “We weren’t thinking big enough. Now I know we can push our technology to even more applications for the world.”

    In the 18 months since CSIRO opened the ON accelerator to universities and publicly funded research agencies under the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), it has graduated 200 teams of researchers with the business and entrepreneurial skills needed to fast-track great science and technology innovation from the lab to reality.

    The 10 big ideas to be fast-tracked through this round of ON Accelerate include:

    Virtual reality technology that allows carers to learn by doing, safely – The University of Newcastle
    A tool for preventing faults in power network assets before energy catastrophes hit – Curtin University
    A solar forecasting system – CSIRO, Energy
    An acoustic belt that uses the natural noises of the gut for health screening – The University of Western Australia
    An on-the-go field tool for reliable and transportable water monitoring – James Cook University
    A new pest detection system that cuts costs and time delays for Aussie prawn farmers – CSIRO Agriculture and Food
    An alternative to the expensive and cumbersome ‘leaky gut’ test for suspected sufferers – CSIRO Health and Biosecurity
    A new way to beat the current costs and delays in new drug development – Macquarie University
    On the spot testing for elite athletes and their sport scientists – The University of Western Australia
    A small wind turbine that can produce nearly twice the power than existing wind turbines of the same size – The University of Newcastle

    The 10 successful teams were chosen by ON’s industry mentor network and an expert judging panel of Liddy McCall co-founder of Yuuwa Capital, COO of Performance Assurance Ruth Marshall and Martin Duursma from CSIRO’s Main Sequence Ventures.

    These teams join successful graduates of the ON accelerator like Cardihab, Coivu, Modular Photonics, Silentium Defence and ePat.

    ON Accelerate4 will commence in February 2018 and will run for twelve weeks in hubs across the country, where teams will develop business planning, commercialisation and pitching skills.

    The program culminates in ‘ON Demo Night’ where teams will pitch their innovations to an audience of industry experts, investors and potential partners for further funding and support for commercialisation.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:59 am on December 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Australia seems on the brink of embracing space in a coordinated manner but how should we do it?, Australian universities made cubesats for an international research project, , CSIRO, It is encouraging that Australian organisations have anticipated the growth areas, There are also emerging Australian capabilities in small satellites and potentially disruptive technologies with space applications, Three new reports add clarity to Australia’s space sector a ‘crowded and valuable high ground’,   

    From COSMOS: “Three new reports add clarity to Australia’s space sector, a ‘crowded and valuable high ground’” 

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    COSMOS Magazine

    02 December 2017
    Anthony Wicht

    1
    Three new reports examine Australia’s existing space capabilities, set them in the light of international developments, and identify growth areas and models for Australia to pursue. 136319147@N08/flickr. Telescope is not identified. Bad journalism.

    Australia seems on the brink of embracing space in a coordinated manner, but how should we do it?

    This week, the Australian government released three reports to help chart the future of Australia’s space industry. Their conclusions will feed into the review of Australia’s space industry underway by former CSIRO head Dr Megan Clark.

    The reports examine Australia’s existing space capabilities, set them in the light of international developments, and identify growth areas and models for Australia to pursue. The promise is there:

    Australia has scattered globally competitive capabilities in areas from space weather to deep-space communication but “by far the strongest areas” are applications of satellite data on Earth to industries like agriculture, communications and mining
    Australian research in other sectors like 3D printing and VR is being translated to space with potentially high payoffs
    global trends, including the demand for more space traffic management, play to our emerging strengths
    the prize for success is real – the UK currently has an A$8 billion space export industry, and anticipates further growth.

    While it is not the first time the government has commissioned this type of research, the updates are welcome given the fast pace of space innovation. Taken together they paint a picture of potential for the future of Australian space and a firm foundation for a space agency.

    The rules of the game

    The Global Space Industry Dynamics report from Bryce Space and Technology, a US-based space specialist consulting firm, sets out the “rules of the game” in the US$344 billion (A$450 billion) space sector.

    2
    The global space economy at a glance. Figures are from 2016, and shown in US$.
    Marcella Cheng for The Conversation, adapted from Global Space Industry Dynamics Research Paper by Bryce Space and Technology

    It highlights that:

    three quarters of global revenues are made commercially, despite the prevailing perception that space is a government concern
    most commercial revenue is made from space-enabled services and applications (like satellite TV or GPS receivers) rather than the construction and launch of space hardware itself
    commercial launch and satellite manufacturing industries are still small in relative terms, at about US$20.5 billion (A$27 billion) of revenues, but show strong growth, particularly for smaller satellites and launch vehicles.

    The report also looks at the emerging trends that a smart space industry in Australia will try and run ahead of. Space is becoming cheaper, more attractive to investors and increasingly important in our data-rich economy. These trends have not gone unnoticed by global competitors, though, and the report describes space as an increasingly “crowded and valuable high ground”.

    What is particularly useful about the report is its sharp focus on the three numbers that determine commercial attractiveness:

    market size
    growth
    profitability.

    The magic comes through matching these attractive sectors against areas where Australia can compete strongly because of existing capability or geographic advantage.

    The report suggests growth opportunities across traditional and emerging space sectors. In traditional sectors, it calls out satellite services, particularly commercial satellite radio and broadband, and ground infrastructure as prime opportunities. In emerging sectors, earth observation data analytics, space traffic management, and small satellite manufacturing are all tipped as potentially profitable growth areas where Australia could compete.

    The report adds the speculative area of space mining as an additional sector worth considering given Australia’s existing terrestrial capability.

    It is encouraging that Australian organisations have anticipated the growth areas, from UNSW’s off-earth mining research, to Geoscience Australia’s integrated satellite data to Mt Stromlo’s debris tracking capability.

    Australian capabilities

    Australian capabilities are the focus of a second report, by ACIL Allen consulting, Australian Space Industry Capability. The review highlights a smattering of world class Australian capabilities, particularly in the application of space data to activities on Earth like agriculture, transport and financial services.

    There are also emerging Australian capabilities in small satellites and potentially disruptive technologies with space applications, like 3D printing, AI and quantum computing. The report notes that basic research is strong, but challenges remain in “industrialising and commercialising the resulting products”.


    Australian universities made cubesats for an international research project.

    The concern about commercialisation prompts questions about the policies that will help Australian companies succeed.

    Should we embrace recent trends and rely wholly on market mechanisms and venture capital Darwinism, or buy into traditional international space projects?

    Do we send our brightest overseas for a few years’ training, or spin up a full suite of research and development programs domestically?

    Are there regulations that need to change to level the playing field for Australian space exports?
    Learning from the world

    Part of the answer is to be found in the third report, Global Space Strategies and Best Practices, which looks at global approaches to funding, capability development, and governance arrangements. The case studies illustrate a range of styles.

    The UK’s pragmatic approach developed a £5 billion (A$8 billion) export industry by focusing primarily on competitive commercial applications, including a satellite Australia recently bought a time-share on.

    A longer-term play is Luxembourg’s use of tax breaks and legal changes to attract space mining ventures. Before laughing, remember that Luxembourg has space clout: satellite giants SES and Intelsat are headquartered there thanks to similar forward thinking in the 1980s. Those two companies pulled in about A$3 billion of profit between them last year.

    Norway and Canada show a middle ground, combining international partnerships with clear focus areas that benefit research and the economy. Norway has taken advantage of its geography to build satellite ground stations for polar-orbiting satellites, in an interesting parallel with Australia’s longstanding ground capabilities. Canada used its relationship with the United States to build the robotic “Canadarm” for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station, developing a space robotics capability for the country.


    Canadarm played an important role in Canada-USA relations.

    The only caution is that confining the possible role models to the space sector is unnecessarily limiting. Commercialisation in technology fields is a broader policy question, and there is much to learn from recent innovations including CSIRO’s venture fund and the broader Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) program.

    As well as the three reports, the government recently released 140 public submissions to the panel.

    There is no shortage of advice for Dr Clark and the expert reference group; appropriate given it seems an industry of remarkable potential rests in their hands.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 10:07 pm on November 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , CSIRO, , ,   

    From CSIRO: Women in STEM – “Fifty years ago Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars and changed our view of the universe” Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell 

    CSIRO bloc

    CSIROscope

    28 November 2017
    George Hobbs
    Dick Manchester
    Simon Johnston

    4
    Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. BBC.

    1
    CSIRO Parkes radio telescope has discovered around half of all known pulsars. Wayne England, Author provided.

    A pulsar is a small, spinning star – a giant ball of neutrons, left behind after a normal star has died in a fiery explosion.

    With a diameter of only 30 km, the star spins up to hundreds of times a second, while sending out a beam of radio waves (and sometimes other radiation, such as X-rays). When the beam is pointed in our direction and into our telescopes, we see a pulse.

    2017 marks 50 years since pulsars were discovered. In that time, we have found more than 2,600 pulsars (mostly in the Milky Way), and used them to hunt for low-frequency gravitational waves, to determine the structure of our galaxy and to test the general theory of relativity.

    The Discovery

    In mid-1967, when thousands of people were enjoying the summer of love, a young PhD student at the University of Cambridge in the UK was helping to build a telescope.

    It was a poles-and-wires affair – what astronomers call a “dipole array”. It covered a bit less than two hectares, the area of 57 tennis courts.

    2
    Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered the first pulsar. CC BY-SA

    By July it was built. The student, Jocelyn Bell (now Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell), became responsible for running it and analysing the data it churned out. The data came in the form of pen-on-paper chart records, more than 30 metres of them each day. Bell analysed them by eye.

    What she found – a little bit of “scruff” on the chart records – has gone down in history.

    Like most discoveries, it took place over time. But there was a turning point. On November 28, 1967, Bell and her supervisor, Antony Hewish, were able to capture a “fast recording” – that is, a detailed one – of one of the strange signals.

    In this she could see for the first time that the “scruff” was actually a train of pulses spaced by one-and-a-third seconds. Bell and Hewish had discovered pulsars.

    But this wasn’t immediately obvious to them. Following Bell’s observation they worked for two months to eliminate mundane explanations for the signals.

    Bell also found another three sources of pulses, which helped to scotch some rather more exotic explanations, such as the idea that the signals came from “little green men” in extraterrestrial civilisations. The discovery paper appeared in Nature on February 24, 1968.

    Later, Bell missed out when Hewish and his colleague Sir Martin Ryle were awarded the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics.[More discrimination.]

    A pulsar on ‘the pineapple’

    CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope in Australia made its first observation of a pulsar in 1968, later made famous by appearing (along with the Parkes telescope) on the first Australian $50 note.

    Fifty years later, Parkes has found more than half of the known pulsars. The University of Sydney’s Molonglo Telescope also played a central role, and they both remain active in finding and timing pulsars today.

    U Sidney Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST), Hoskinstown, Australia

    Internationally, one of the most exciting new instruments on the scene is China’s Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST.

    FAST radio telescope, now operating, located in the Dawodang depression in Pingtang county Guizhou Province, South China

    FAST has recently found several new pulsars, confirmed by the Parkes telescope and a team of CSIRO astronomers working with their Chinese colleagues.

    Why look for pulsars?

    We want to understand what pulsars are, how they work, and how they fit into the general population of stars. The extreme cases of pulsars – those that are super fast, super slow, or extremely massive – help to limit the possible models for how pulsars work, telling us more about the structure of matter at ultra-high densities. To find these extreme cases, we need to find lots of pulsars.

    Pulsars often orbit companion stars in binary systems, and the nature of these companions helps us understand the formation history of the pulsars themselves. We’ve made good progress with the “what” and “how” of pulsars but there are still unanswered questions.

    As well as understanding pulsars themselves, we also use them as a clock. For example, pulsar timing is being pursued as a way to detect the background rumble of low-frequency gravitational waves throughout the universe.

    Pulsars have also been used to measure the structure of our Galaxy, by looking at the way their signals are altered as they travel through denser regions of material in space.

    Pulsars are also one of the finest tools we have for testing Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

    This theory has survived 100 years of the most sophisticated tests astronomers have been able throw at it. But it doesn’t play nicely with our other most successful theory of how the universe works, quantum mechanics, so it must have a tiny flaw somewhere. Pulsars help us to try and understand this problem.

    What keeps pulsar astronomers up at night (literally!) is the hope of finding a pulsar in orbit around a black hole. This is the most extreme system we can imagine for testing general relativity.

    Finally, pulsars have some more down-to-earth applications. We’re using them as a teaching tool in our PULSE@Parkes program, in which students control the Parkes telescope over the Internet and use it to observe pulsars. This program has reached over 1,700 students, in Australia, Japan, China, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and South Africa.Pulsars also offer promise as a navigation system for guiding craft travelling through deep space. In 2016 China launched a satellite, XPNAV-1, carrying a navigation system that uses periodic X-ray signals from certain pulsars.Pulsars have changed our our understanding of the universe, and their true importance is still unfolding

    2
    XPNAV-1 was sent skyward atop a Long March 11 solid-fuelled rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (Image Source: Weibo)

    See the full article here .

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    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
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