UNSW Sydney-led research paves the way for large silicon-based quantum processors for real-world manufacturing and application.

woman wearing respirator mask

Photo: Shutterstock

The airborne nature of COVID supports routine use of respirators by the public. Here, experts explain the science behind this recommendation.

Tablet with Beeple's collage and paint brush above it

Non-fungible tokens are helping digital content creators and artists with monetising their work, such as Beeple's $89 million digital creation (above). Photo: Shutterstock

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may seem like a fad, but they are revolutionising how digital content creators and artists create business models, says UNSW Business School’s Eric Li.

While it may be possible to teach young infants basic motor skills in water, infants cannot, and should not, be expected to know how to swim or to be able to react appropriately in emergencies.

A trip to the beach is a perfect opportunity to explore the peculiar properties of some fascinating fluids.

emma jane

For as long as sex has existed, people have been shamed for talking about it. To this day, kids are taught a very narrow perspective on sex education which is comprised mostly of details of erections, ejaculations, and acts of heterosexual penetration. Sex education in schools teaches kids that virginity is really important and that sexual acts often end in unwanted pregnancy. So why are our kids learning similar lessons to the kids of the 1950s? 

The subject of pleasure is conspicuously absent from most sex-ed curricula where the focus is almost exclusively on the mechanics of either procreation or avoiding STDs. But according to Associate Professor Emma Jane, it’s vital that the birds and the bees talk cover so much more than the marriage, the baby-making, the man parts, and the money shots. “More than one in five Australian women say they find the sex in their relationship unpleasurable or only moderately pleasurable," she says. Providing more nuanced, inclusive, and realistic sex ed for our offspring is important because if they don’t get this info from us, they’re going to get it from their screens. 

In less than ten minutes, or roughly the length of time it takes to put a condom on an expired Epipen, A/Prof. Jane will give you the “sex talk” that you probably should have had when you were a teen, and outlines the importance of a well-rounded sex-ed curriculum.

Emma A Jane is an Associate Professor in the School of the Arts & Media at UNSW Sydney. Emma’s research focuses on the social and ethical implications of emerging technologies, and she was recognised in 2021 as being in the top 2 per cent of researchers in her field globally (based on 2020 citations) in Stanford University's researcher rankings. Prior to joining academia, Emma spent 25 years working in the print, broadcast, and electronic media, winning multiple awards for her writing and investigative reporting. Her interdisciplinary research program combines scholarship and methods from gender studies, cultural studies, philosophy, and science and technology studies. Emma’s publications and talks focus on the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental (PESTLE) causes and effects of emerging technology, and span diverse topics, including social media, cybercrime, public policy, feminism, LGBTQI+ issues, neuroscience, genetics, psychology, and children’s media. Her memoir Diagnosis Normal will be released in March 2022. 

ancient fossils

The fossils the team have found prove that the area was once a temperate, mesic rainforest. Photo: Michael Frese

The site offers details of a verdant landscape 15 million years ago, including fossils of trapdoor spiders, giant cicadas and wasps. 

A passing train blurred by its speed

Photo: Shutterstock

Anthony Albanese’s plan for high-speed rail between Sydney and Newcastle could well be worth the cost, so long as he doesn’t muddy it with 1970s-style industry policy.

A group of children smiling and huddled together

Children who retreat to the edges of school grounds are often trying to avoid conflict in the main play zones. Photo: Shutterstock

Conflicts at recess, averaging one every three minutes, greatly disrupt children’s play activities. However, a well-designed school layout can reduce the problem.

Scientia Building at Kensington Campus

UNSW Science and Engineering have again been awarded the lion's share of the new round of 2022 Discovery Project grants. Photo: UNSW.

This 2022 round of grants will support research across UNSW Sydney’s six faculties, with topics ranging from cooling technologies for urban heat mitigation to systemic risk in insurance.

Have you ever broken the law?

Have you ever walked your dog by yourself as a child? Or vacuumed the house at 10.30pm? Here are six uncommon laws in Australia that you may never have heard of before.

What if we could help threatened marsupials evolve to survive foxes and feral cats?

Australia’s coastline spans more than 33,000km – and there are myriad marvellous marine animals we share this space with.

The team solved this mystery with the help of a vacuum chamber, a lot of lasers, and one powerful cosmic reaction.

toby walsh

By 2062, experts estimate that we will have created machines as intelligent as humans. Already AI has become so integrated into our everyday lives that it’s often hard to detect… from home robots to smartphones telling you the fastest route home at the press of a button. 

So what happens when those algorithms go wrong? Can AI be devious? And how can we be sure that we don’t lose the human touch when we get zeros and ones to do the work for us?

Computers can be frighteningly smart in some ways, but dangerously dim in other ways. We’ve seen plenty of examples in the news of algorithms exacerbating racial profiling, swaying election results, or increasing the spread of misinformation. “You don’t need to fear super intelligence — at least not yet — but ‘stupid’ intelligence,” Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence Toby Walsh says.

The success of AI means we can and should hand over many routine decisions to machines, but we must ensure we are vigilant in preventing unconscious bias and unintended consequences that creep unnoticed into the algorithms we create.

In less than ten minutes, or roughly the same amount of time it takes a computer to win a million games of chess, Prof. Walsh will explore how we can make sure mutant algorithms don’t go too far.

Toby Walsh is a leading researcher in Artificial Intelligence. He is a Laureate Fellow and Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW Sydney, and he also leads the Algorithmic Decision Theory group at CSIRO Data61. He was named by the Australian newspaper as a “rock star” of Australia's digital revolution. He has been elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, a fellow of the ACM, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and of the European Association for Artificial Intelligence. He has played a leading role at the UN and elsewhere on the campaign to ban lethal autonomous weapons (aka “killer robots”).

Toby Walsh regularly appears in the media talking about the impact of AI and robotics on society. He is passionate that limits are placed on AI to ensure the public good such as with autonomous weapons. His work has appeared in the New Scientist, American Scientist, Le Scienze, Cosmos, Technology Review, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Conversation. Toby is the author of many books including 2062: The World that AI Made and his newest book It's Alive!: Artificial Intelligence from the Logic Piano to Killer Robots will be released in March 2022. 

mandy hagstrom

Dr Mandy Hagstrom. Photo: UNSW

When we think of weightlifting, we tend to think of big burly men pumping iron in a gym - but it turns out, women have just as much to gain from strength training as their male gym junkie counterparts. Historically, pumping iron to build muscles has been seen as a masculine pursuit. And research into sport and exercise has largely focused on men too. But increasingly women at gyms are heading to the heavy weights room and picking up the dumbbells to reap the benefits of strength training. 

When she discovered a complete lack of literature on female resistance and strength training, former Olympic weightlifter and exercise scholar Mandy Hagstrom decided to take matters into her own hands. “Sex bias in sports and exercise research has been holding us back,” she says.

According to her research, both male and female strength trainers gain the same relative amount of muscle mass following strength training, so when it comes to fitness, are we compromising the health of half of our population due to a lack of understanding? 

In under ten minutes, or roughly the same amount of time it takes to do a triple set of bench presses, Dr Hagstrom explains why being male or female doesn’t make as much difference to growing muscle as you might think.

Mandy Hagstrom is an accredited exercise scientist from the School of Medical Sciences at UNSW Sydney. Her work focuses broadly on the effects of resistance training. As a former New Zealand weightlifting champion, commonwealth powerlifting medallist, and an exercise scientist, the topic of resistance and strength training is particularly close to her heart. She has two streams of research: the use of exercise following cancer and its treatments, and maximising the effect of resistance training in healthy populations with a specific interest in sex-differences and female physiology. Mandy’s research has been widely publicised including being featured on sports brand Nike's website.