Eureka Prizes – there’s some really cool science being done

eureka-sectionForty-nine entries have been selected as finalists for 16 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes worth a total of $160,000 in prize money. This is just great stuff.

The 2015 Eureka Prize finalists have invented:

  • Low-temperature, low-pressure hydrogen storage that can power a motorised bicycle over 120km on a single, small canister, producing only water as a by-product. (Sydney)
  • An energy storage system that efficiently stores solar power through the night hours, solving the mismatch between solar power generation and electricity demand. (Adelaide)
  • ‘Carpentry’-type techniques to switch off key molecular weapons of some new, antibiotic-resistant superbugs, transforming them into harmless bacteria. (Canberra and Melbourne)

They have discovered:

  • A bizarre dwarf galaxy that harbours a supermassive black hole more than a thousand times ‘too large’. (Sydney)
  • How to teach Northern Territory quolls not to eat toxic cane toads: feed them smaller, less-toxic toads that make the quoll sick, but aren’t fatal. (Sydney)
  • The secret to viewing processes within a patient’s living tissues: nanocrystals with precise, in-built timers that may allow real-time disease diagnosis and the ability to watch drugs interact with living cells in real time. (Sydney and Adelaide)

And they have:

  • Taught astronomy in remote WA schools to students of the Wajarri Yamatji, the traditional owners of the land on which the Murchison radio-astronomy observatory sits, and presented the first science event for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. (Sydney)
  • Engaged wine growers, foresters and farmers from Cape York to Canberra in on-the-farm research to understand the effects of climate change on growth rates and crop quality. (Melbourne)
  • Combined microbiology, machine learning and a novel visualisation method—which was developed to map Napoleon’s military campaigns—to identify new activation mechanisms of the hormone insulin. (Sydney)

Details about all the 2015 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes finalists are now online at australianmuseum.net.au/eureka.

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