The STEM Six: the best of STEM this week (September 7 2018)

By Carl Jackson

3D illustration of connections and dots representing the concept of cloud computing.

Elevators to space, renewable hydrogen and a nanoscale discovery that’s quite a big deal; there was a lot going in the world of science, engineering and technology this week.

Take a look at the six STEM stories that caught our attention over the last seven days.

1. Japan is about to start testing the feasibility of a space elevator

Night sky with Milky Way

Rockets are awesome, but they’ve got their drawbacks; they’re expensive, they need a lot of fuel, and they’re big polluters. So what other options are there? A team of Japanese engineers from Shizuoka University’s Faculty of Engineering are set to launch a scale model of a space elevator into Earth’s orbit next week.

See why taking a ride in an actual space elevator may still be a little way off in ScienceAlert

2. University of Melbourne to lead renewable hydrogen research for transport and power generation

Hydrogen periodic table entry on abstract background

A new $8.6 million research project to be run by the University of Melbourne and University of New South Wales investigating the performance and value of efficient, heavy duty, reciprocating engines running on renewable hydrogen was announced today. This three-and-a-half-year project will focus on the use of renewable hydrogen to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from power generation and transportation.

Learn about this exciting new project at The Melbourne Newsroom

3. An explosion of openness is about to hit scientific publishing

Different laboratory glassware with water and empty with reflection. Pink and blue tint background

In a bid to improve the uptake of freely available “open access” publications, a coalition of European science agencies have launched an initiative, named ‘Plan S’, requiring the scientists they fund to publish their work in open-access journals or freely-accessible websites by 2020.

Read about this initiative and the impact it aims to have on scientific publishing in The Economist

Take your STEM discovery further with study in engineering & IT

4. Chelsea Manning and the rise of ‘big data’ whistleblowing in the digital age

Data code software on screen

With Chelsea Manning facing recent difficulties obtaining a visa to enter Australia, Dr Suelette Dreyfus discussed why data ethics, transparency, accountability and avenues of recourse for injustice have become even more important to explore in public forums.

See what Dr Dreyfus has to say on the topic on The Conversation

5. A nanoscale discovery with big implications

abstract colored light wave on dark background slow motion

It may be a nanoscale discovery, but it’s kind of a big deal. A recent publication in Nature by William & Mary and University of Michigan researchers explores the discovery that Planck’s law, a foundational scientific principle grounded in quantum mechanics, doesn’t apply for objects smaller than a certain length scale.

Delve into the details and find a link to the original research in this announcement from William & Mary

6. ARTSA awards lifetime memberships for 2018

Urban Roads in the city

The Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA) has inducted its latest group of Life Members, with the University of Melbourne’s Enterprise Professor Gary Liddle joining an esteemed group of only 22 inductees.

Take a look at who else received this honour in ARTSA’s announcement

Seen a cool STEM story you think needs to be shared? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter.