The STEM Six: the best of STEM this week (September 7 2018)
By Carl Jackson
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
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.
2. University of Melbourne to lead renewable hydrogen research for transport and power generation
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.
3. An explosion of openness is about to hit scientific publishing
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.
4. Chelsea Manning and the rise of ‘big data’ whistleblowing in the digital age
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.
5. A nanoscale discovery with big implications
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.
6. ARTSA awards lifetime memberships for 2018
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.