The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) is an independent, not-for-profit service for the news media, giving journalists direct access to evidence-based science and expertise.

We aim to better inform public debate on the major issues of the day by improving links between the media and the scientific community.

EXPERT REACTION: Gold and white (or is it blue and black?) dress conundrum 

February 27, 2015

The social media world has erupted into debate today over a visual conundrum – why is it that a dress that looks gold and white to some people looks blue and black to others? See the dress here. Below a vision scientist offers a scientific explanation. 

Feel free to use these quotes in your stories.  read more

EXPERT REACTION: Toxic tuna poisons four city workers in Sydney

Thu26Feb
Print This Post

Four city workers in Sydney are suffering symptoms of Scombroid poisoning – caused by eating rotting fish – after ordering tuna salad from a takeaway shop located in the CBD.

read more

EXPERT REACTION: Cyclone Lam and  Cyclone Marcia

Fri20Feb
Print This Post

Severe Tropical Cyclone Lam is heading towards the Northern Territory mainland, while Queensland could see its worst weather event in two years as Cyclone Marcia approaches. Below, experts comment. For the latest warning information go to www.bom.gov.au/cyclone. For more information about cyclone intensity and categories, you can visit: http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/about/intensity.shtml.  read more

EXPERT REACTION: Tsunami advisory issued for Iwate Prefecture following 6.9 magnitude earthquake off coast of Japan

Tue17Feb
Print This Post

This morning a tsunami advisory was issued for Iwate Prefecture following a 6.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan. The advisory was later removed around lunchtime. The quake was measured at a depth of about 10 kilometres and struck just after 8:00am (local time). The city of Ofunato in Iwate issued an evacuation advisory to more than 1,350 households. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii said there was no danger of a Pacific-wide tsunami. read more

EXPERT REACTION: Frozen berries contaminated with hepatitis A

Mon16Feb
Print This Post

An outbreak of hepatitis A in Victoria and New South Wales has been linked to imported frozen berries from China. Five people have become sick with the disease prompting a recall of products including Nanna’s frozen mixed berries one kilogram packs and Creative Gourmet mixed berries in 300 gram and 500 gram packets.  read more

NEWS BRIEFING: Academy throws its weight behind climate science

Fri13Feb
Print This Post

EMBARGO LIFTED 00.01 AEDT Mon Feb 16thClick here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

NEWS BRIEFING – Friday Feb 13th at 10:30 AEDT

The Australian Academy of Science’s latest update on climate science is clear – man-made climate change is real, and the consequences for Australia will be dire if no action is taken to address it.

The science of climate change: Questions and Answers provides a clear and authoritative account of the science behind global warming, and will help counter confusion and misinformation on this important scientific topic. read more

BRIEFING: Past, present and future of bushfires and disasters

Thu12Feb
Print This Post

BACKGROUND BRIEFING – Thursday 12 February at 11:00 AEDT OnlineClick here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

Bushfires are a way of life for Australians, and 2015 has been no different. Fires have raged across the country with the Sampson Flat bushfire in SA claiming 27 homes and the Northcliffe fire in WA, contained only yesterday, burning through 85,000 hectares. In a future tipped to see an increase in severe bushfires, how can we learn from this year’s events and can we improve our post-fire procedures? And should we be so focused on bushfires among natural killers, or does history reveal an even deadlier type of disaster? Join us as three researchers from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC discuss their latest research. read more

TRIBUTE to climate scientist Dr Michael Raupach

Wed11Feb
Print This Post

It is with great sadness that the Science Media Centre has learned of the passing of influential Australian climate scientist, Dr Michael Raupach. Dr Raupach worked for many years at the CSIRO and more recently at the ANU’s Climate Change Institute. He was best known for his work on the global carbon cycle and was well known in the international climate science community.  read more

BRIEFING: Health impacts of wind farms – release of NHMRC statement

Wed11Feb
Print This Post

EMBARGO LIFTED 15.30 AEDT Wednesday 11 February 2015Click here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

NEWS BRIEFING – TODAY 11 February at 14.30 AEDT Online

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is releasing its statement on Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health as well as the accompanying Information Paper and supporting documents. The findings in the documents are based on a rigorous assessment of the scientific evidence on wind farms and human health, conducted using internationally-accepted methods, which looked at over 4,000 papers. read more

EXPERT REACTION: UK MPs vote to allow mitochondrial DNA transfer, labelled ‘three-person IVF’ by the press

Wed4Feb
Print This Post

The House of Commons MPs voted 382 to 128 in favour of the creation of babies with DNA from two women and one man – a technique that could stop genetic diseases being passed from mother to child.

The UK could now become the first country to introduce laws to allow the creation of babies using mitochondrial DNA transfer techniques. A further vote is required in the House of Lords, and if that goes ahead then the first such baby could be born next year.  read more