young woman wearing face mask

The World Health Organisation says surgical face masks can reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection by 67%. Image from Shutterstock

As Melbourne returns to lockdown, the evidence suggests routine mask-wearing - as seen in many countries but not so far in Australia - could be a valuable tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Melbourne tram

Melbourne has been forced to go into a second lockdown due to rising COVID-19 infections. Image from Shutterstock

The best option is for infected people to be admitted to hospitals or other suitable health facilities. This will help prevent transmission within families.

The world-class researchers recognised in 2020 span art and design, chemical science, computer science and engineering, humanities and languages, and law.

Augmented reality software for hand washing

Dr Nayuta Yoshioka, Dr Juno Kim and Jason Feng from the Sensory Processes Research Laboratory at UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science have developed an augmented reality software which shows the effectiveness of hand washing techniques.

So, what's the best way to wash your hands? Here's what World Health Organisation recommends:

A person sitting on top of a mountain

Chris Fogwill, Author provided.

As the world warmed from the last ice age, a rise in carbon dioxide levels stalled for nearly 2,000 years. That's always puzzled scientists, but now they think they know what happened.

A flowering plant

The research included a dataset of 238 angiosperm fossil calibrations, the largest ever assembled. Photo: Dr Herve Sauquet

New research shows, in a world first, a recreation of the evolution of flowering plants through time - a complete angiosperm 'time-tree'.

Young female on hospital bed

COVID-19-induced pneumonia can lead to serious and long-term consequences, says a Conjoint Professor Christine Jenkins.

Conjoint Professor at UNSW Medicine and respiratory disease expert Christine Jenkins says COVID pneumonia happens when the virus invades the lungs and causes an inflammatory reaction that compromises the function of the lung.

Young people are more likely to get asymptomatic COVID-19 – where the virus infects the body but does not show symptoms. And while they have shown to recover quicker from COVID-19, they are not immune to developing COVID-19 pneumonia.

The risk of injury when returning to sport after a period of inactivity is minimal if exercise is commenced gradually, says a UNSW expert

Laurencia brongniartii herbarium specimen

Herbarium specimen of marine red algae (Laurnecia brongniartii), a seaweed found in Australian tropical and subtroplcal waters. Photo: Royal Botanic Garden and Domain Trust.

In a program of major artworks, film and an innovative living book, researchers will interpret and increase public engagement with 1.4 million herbarium specimens.

A person writing notes on paper

Image: Shutterstock

Claiming for working for home is fraught. It's safest to claim the running expenses the tax office allows. 'Occupancy expenses' are harder to justify and could cost you your capital gains tax discount.

Artificial intelligence

A project using AI techniques has received $5 million in funding to investigate mental health therapies.

Artificial intelligence will determine appropriate therapies for university students experiencing psychological distress. 

Colours of the Bulloo Overflow

Colours of the Bulloo Overflow. Photo: Joshua Smith

The new national park declared by the NSW government is still in excellent condition because its water supply remains largely intact, a top ecologist says.

Three 90s episodes of the cult classic demonstrate a disturbing continuity in US political culture, says UNSW’s Dr William Clapton. 

Tim Harcourt

Tim Harcourt on the prospective AU-US trade deal.

The US is still an important market for Australia but ultimately an international multilateral-based trading system is better than the US having deals of managed trade around the world, says JW Nevile Fellow in Economics Tim Harcourt.

Professor Megan Davis, the author of the independent review into Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care, says the government needs to “implement recommendations and announce the way forward”.

Mukupirna nambensis

An artist's impression of Mukupirna nambensis living in central Australia that was much greener 25 million years ago. Picture: Peter Schouten

A new extinct family of giant wombat relatives has been discovered in the Australian desert. The giant marsupial that roamed prehistoric Australia 25 million years ago is so different from its wombat cousins that scientists have had to create a new family to accommodate it.