Science On Top
The Australian Podcast putting Science on Top of the agenda

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Dr. Mick Vagg, Upulie Divisekera, Lucas Randall.

Ed, Shayne, Upulie, Mick and Lucas take a look back at the big stories in science from 2012. From feathered dinosaurs to robot hands, the Higgs boson to Mars colonies, the panel relives their favorite news items.

For all the stories we mention, check out the website for this episode, at

Direct download: SoT_0085.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:49pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Dr. Helen Maynard-Casely, Lucas Randall.

Topics covered:

James Cameron releases results from his deep dive. How maggots heal wounds. NASA plans to send Curiosity twin to Mars in 2020. Golden Spike plans to send people to the moon for $750 million. The data from the GRAIL probes mapping the gravity of the moon is released. A retrovirus marks an evolutionary point for Koalas. RIP Sir Patrick Moore, 1923-2012.

Direct download: SoT_0084.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:48pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Dr. Kevin Orrman-Rositer.

Topics covered:

The Mars Curiosity rover's discovery is announced.

Bacteria found in an underground Antarctic lake demonstrates the resilience of life

German scientists are developing a new vaccine strategy using mRNA that could make flu shots cheaper, safer, and easier to produce.

A blood test that can detect cancers very early on is being developed - but it's a long way away.

New research suggests birth weight is not solely determined by maternal nutrition, but it’s also partly genetic.

NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has detected evidence of water ice on Mercury.

SpaceX founder and entrepreneur Elon Musk has a grand plan to start a colony on Mars, seeding it with 80,000 settlers per year.

Direct download: SoT_0083.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:55pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall.

Topics covered:

The holes bored into ancient wood-carvings give insights into insect migration.

Could we be missing important worms from our intestines?

The evolution of vision in animals dates back 700 million years.

A chemical reaction appears to reanimate mycoplasma.

Scientists warn that grapefruit can have serious complications with a growing number of prescription medications.

An American and Russian crew plan to spend a year onboard the International Space Station.

Direct download: SoT_0082.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Cobi Smith.

Topics covered:

Our Total Solar Eclipse experiences.

A 'rogue planet' discovered and photographed. The planet is not gravitationally linked to a star.

A study of the microbes in belly buttons reveals a surprising diversity.

The bdelloid rotifer, despite being asexual for 80 million years, has incorporated foreign DNA to help it adapt.

A newly developed prosthetic hand is a lot like Luke Skywalker's hand.

Transplant from nasal cells enables paralysed dogs to walk.

Do great apes have mid-life crises? Maybe.

A rant about the endless speculation sparked by a Curiosity scientist's gaffe.

Direct download: SoT_0081.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:55pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Dr. Simon O’Toole.

Topics covered:

Some scepticism about the nearest exoplanet discovered.

Amateur astronomers find planet in four-star system.

‘Zooniverse’ citizen science projects.

Key test for re-healable concrete.

2012 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Astronomer wins PM’s Science Prize for dark matter discovery

Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year – Mark Shackleton

Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year – Eric May

Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools – Michael van der Ploeg

Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools – Anita Trenwith

All living bird species mapped in giant family tree

Breakthrough Hendra virus vaccine released for horses

Abdominal porthole reveals how tumours come together

Direct download: SoT_0080.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:43pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Alan Kerlin.

Topics covered:

Trouble in space: SpaceX engine failure and cargo loss.

Russian rocket also has problems, creates space debris.

Mysterious bacteria form electric cables under the sea.

The hole in the Ozone layer still getting smaller.

Nanoparticles help diagnose disease without waiting for the path lab.

Private space company Blue Origin tests an emergency crew escape system.

Cooking food was key to our big brains.

The dung beetle's intricate and bizarre cooling system.

Direct download: SoT_0079.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:11am AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Dr. Rachael Dunlop.

Topics covered:

Funding cuts to Australian research

Genetically modified mouse to detect landmines

The DNA inside the virophage inside the giant virus inside the amoeba

'Erasing' traumatic memories from mice

Sexism in science and skepticism

Make The World Better - a talk by Pamela Gay

How the sound of crying babies affects the brain

Italian scientists face jail over earthquake manslaughter charges

Direct download: SoT_0078.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:47pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Lucas Randall, Dr. Helen Maynard-Casely.

Topics covered:

Felix Baumgartner's world-breaking skydive from the edge of space.

Brainless slime mould can 'remember' where it's been.

Possible new control method for the Crown of Thorns starfish.

DNA half-life - why Jurassic Park is impossible.

Closest planet outside our solar system discovered.

Mars Curiosity looks at an 'unusual' rock.

Could chocolate help you win a Nobel prize? (Answer: No.)

Direct download: SoT_0077.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:22pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Dr. Mick Vagg.

Topics covered:

2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine:  Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka "for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent". 2012 Nobel Prize for Physics: Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems". 2012 Nobel Prize for Chemistry: Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors". Chemistry vs Biology controversy. New painkillers could come from the super-toxic venome of the black mamba snake. Mosquitoes have adapted a way to get around mosquito nets.

Direct download: SoT_0076.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:27pm AEST