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

Tue17Feb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BACKGROUND BRIEFING: The science behind the death penalty

Tue3Feb

BACKGROUND BRIEFING – Wednesday 4 February at 12:00 noon AEDT onlineClick here to follow a recording of the entire briefing

Two Australians, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, convicted of drug-trafficking in 2005, are facing imminent execution by firing-squad after having their pleas for clemency recently rejected by the Indonesian President. In the US tomorrow, a man is scheduled to be put to death in Texas, a state with a long history of execution. But what can science tell us about the death penalty? read more

EXPERT REACTION: Organic pollutants linked to early menopause (PLOS ONE*)

Wed28Jan

EMBARGO LIFTED 06:00 AEDT Thu 29th Jan 2015

A US study has found that women who are exposed to higher levels of certain pollutants called endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which act like hormones, begin menopause around 1.9 to 3.8 years earlier than women who were exposed to lower levels. The researchers suggest that 15 of the 111 pollutants tested, all of which were present for extended intervals in the body, should be investigated due to their potential effects on ovarian function.

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