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

On Thursday Dr. Leslie Cannold - author, ethicist, commentator and award-winning columnist - spoke to a packed audience at Embiggen Books. She spoke about the various social and economic forces undermining trust in science, and what can be done to restore that trust.

Embiggen Books is Melbourne's newest bookshop, specialising in scientific and skeptical books. According to their website, they boast “the biggest range of popular science titles instock in the observable universe”. They also have a growing range of technical science books as well as fiction, history, economics and much more.

This event was organised by Embiggen Books, Melbourne Skeptics and Melbourne Eastern Hills Skeptics.

Direct download: SoT_Special_002_-_Leslie_Cannold.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:10pm AEST

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

Topics covered:

Belinda tells us a bit about working at the Gemini South Observatory in Chile, and the possible cancellation of the James Webb Space Telescope. We talk about Pluto's new moon, the mouse that stole a poison-resistance gene from another species, and the mouse that runs a lot more because it's missing a gene. A high school class DNA-tested lots of tea and found some surprising extras.

And while talking about that last story, something happened. Not sure what, but the recording stopped abruptly and we never realised. We talked a lot about a how the mass-extinction event that happened right before the dinosaurs started to rule the world, probably happened a lot quicker than previously thought. Ed gives a summary of the study at the end, and links to the story can be found on our website.

Belinda Nicholson is an astrophysicist and Masters of Science student at Melbourne University.

Duration: 0:40:40

Direct download: SoT_0018.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44pm AEST

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

Topics covered:

We find out about Dr. Krystal's work developing a live malaria vaccine. The internet and search engines are changing how our memory works, a study sheds new light on the effectiveness of carbon sinks, but parks and gardens in cities are often overlooked carbon sinks. Genome-wide association studies lack racial diversity, a 'Roundup Ready' GM lawn could make stronger weeds, and the crops Greenpeace destroyed were of negligible risk. Also scientists have now mapped the complicated genome of the potato and a Great Barrier Reef coral.

Dr. Krystal Evans is a regular panellist on 102.7FM Triple R's science program Einstein a Go Go, she's a malaria researcher working at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute and was instrumental in the Discoveries Need Dollars campaign that we talked about a few weeks ago when science funding was looking like it would be slashed in the Federal Budget.

Our theme music, Step On It, kindly provided by The Upstanding Members.


Direct download: SoT_0017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, and Dr. Shayne Joseph

Topics covered:

The end of an era - Space Shuttle Atlantis launches for the last time ever. Is Australia overdue for volcanic eruptions? Polar bears share a common ancestor with brown bears. NASA tests a suit that recycles astronaut's urine, and humans cling to old beliefs even when repeatedly shown contradictory evidence. Shayne and Ed rant about Greenpeace protestors destroying GM wheat experiments.

Our theme music, Step On It, kindly provided by The Upstanding Members.


Direct download: SoT_0016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:57pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph and Tom Sidwell

Topics covered:

E coli outbreak blamed on Egyptian fenugreek seeds, Gossamer puts DNA together, Fossils reveal rapid evolution in ancient eyes, Bringing Prehistoric Colors Back to Life, Humans dwarf volcanoes for CO2 emissions, Lord Christopher Monckton interview with Adam Spencer.

Tom Sidwell has completed a Bachelor of Science, with majors in immunology and microbiology (minors in molecular biology and biochemistry). He is currently doing honours in Immunology, studying the development of regulatory T cells. He blogs at and is on Twitter at kill3rTcell.

Direct download: SoT_0015.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:27pm AEST