Aus Science Double Issue

Dr Cathy Foley cancelled my last interview without notice, but I'm still a big fan.

The July/August* edition of Australasian Science is out a couple of days early. It’s turned into a celebration of women in science.

Bill Mackey has written profiles (sub only) of 12 of Australia’s leading female scientists, particularly focussing on those like Cathy Foley, Megan Clark and Suzanne Cory who now hold many of the most senior positions in science administration and advocacy in the country.

I misunderstood an instruction from Guy and wrote a feature on a conference addressing why so many more women than men drop out of science careers. While it wasn’t what Guy originally wanted, it goes rather well with Mackey’s piece. In particular, it was exciting to report that this wasn’t the usual hand-wringing expedition. The conference saw the announcement of major initiatives from the ARC, the NHMRC, CSIRO and Howard Florey, along with some universities to address the problem. Whether all of these will work remains to be seen, but the diversity of approaches means that if some do there will be opportunity for other institutions to take them up. I’m quite optimistic on this front.

If you’re at all interested in this issue I’d definitely recommend buying this edition, but you can read my profile of Dr Krystal Evans for free. Evans is a malaria researcher and host of Einstein ago-go, but she made it Cool Scientist for her part in the Discoveries Need Dollars campaign. Evans was actively engaged with the campaign on a number of levels, but took a leadership role in the rallies that mobilised more than 10,000 scientists and supporters around the country. Oh and she also lives in my street.

As part of the series for the International Year of Chemistry, Jenny Barrett has a piece on women in chemistry.

Amongst the Browse articles are depressing news on koalas and one on search behaviour in autistic children (although I should note I’ve seen some strong criticism of the methodology of this study). Also evidence that spending too long at your desk can lead to bowel cancer, something I will now take to heart by getting up and moving away.

*We come out 10 times a year, and last year shifted from missing two months over summer to skipping February and August.


About Stephen Luntz

I am a science journalist, specialising in Australian and New Zealand research across all fields of science. My book, Forensics, Fossils and Fruitbats: A Field Guide to Australian Scientists is out now through CSIRO Publishing. I am also a professional returning officer for non-government organisations. I'm very politically active, but generally try to restrict this blog to scientific matters.
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