Gender Differences: Science Video Creation

Instagram Entrepreneurship video.png

Inoka Amarasekara  was employed by ATSE to work on our Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship videos. As reported in the New York Times, she has recently co-authored an article with Dr Will Grant, a lecturer at ANU which studied comments left on science YouTube videos. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are popular topics on YouTube. The pair analysed comments on videos made by both men and women. The majority of STEM videos are made by men, and this is not surprising when you read their findings which show that it is a tough environment for women who create science-based YouTube videos. The female creators draw both more comments per view than men and also a higher proportion of critical comment as well as remarks about their appearance. The original article was published in the journal: Public Understanding of Science.

Daintree Professional Development Opportunity for Teachers

Earthwatch Australia is offering an opportunity for science and geography teachers to participate in a 7-day professional development experience at the Daintree River in North Queensland. 

On this expedition, you will have a unique opportunity to assist scientists as they assess and protect the mangroves fringing Daintree's rainforests and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – generating scientific data which will be used to develop a national strategy for more effective management of valuable coastal tidal wetlands faced with climate change and local human pressures.

On this expedition, teachers have the option to use the TeachLive website to enhance the experience, for both themselves and their students, if they wish. The expedition location can experience low internet capabilities, and so uploading to the website has proved challenging in the past, but not impossible.

WHERE:  Daintree River, North Queensland 

WHEN:  15 – 21 November 2018 (Arriving Thurs 15th and departing Wed 21st November)

DURATION: 7 days (5 school days)

COST:  $1095

To book onto this trip, and to find out more about the Daintree’s Hidden Coastline Earthwatch expedition, go to

STEM Entrepreneurs honoured by ATSE

Last week. The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering presented its 2018 Clunies Ross Awards to some of Australia’s leading STEM innovators. The awards recognise the contributions made by individuals who have shared their vision and knowledge to apply technology for the benefit of Australia.

The Clunies Ross Innovation Award was won by Dr Jim Alward who invented a new skin cancer drug called Picato, which he developed from a folklore remedy. The basis of his drug is isolated from the sap of a weed. It is now used to pre-cancerous lesions to prevent them from becoming more serious.

Professor David Huang and collaborators Associate Professor Peter Czabotar, Associate Professor Guillaume Lessene and Professor Andrew Roberts received the Clunies Ross Knowledge Commercialisation Award for their role in the development of a novel, potent anti-cancer drug called venetoclax which is used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

Dr Erol Harvey won the Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award for his outstanding contributions to Australia through his world leading microfluidic engineering company MiniFAB. The company custom-designs and produces devices that can analyse microscopic amounts of fluid in situ. An example of such a device is one that can be held up to the eye to sample and analyse a teardrop to diagnose a condition called dry-eye.

You can also hear a podcast of an interview with Dr Harvey here.

Top energy researcher honoured

 STELR Program Manager, Pennie Stoyles with Rose Amal at the Atse Innovation Dinner and Clunies Ross Awards, 2018

STELR Program Manager, Pennie Stoyles with Rose Amal at the Atse Innovation Dinner and Clunies Ross Awards, 2018

ATSE Fellow, Professor Rose Amal, received one of the top Queen’s Birthday Honours earlier this week. She became a companion in the Order of Australia (AC). Her research at the University of New South Wales involves using sunlight and catalysts to split water, producing hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then reacted with carbon dioxide to produce hydrocarbons for fuels. Not only is the process solar powered, but it also uses up surplus carbon dioxide.

A video explaining her work can be seen on the Australian Science Channel.

Solar powering public buildings

The ABC has reported that Port Macquarie Base Hospital is installing 2,000 PV panels, in what is claimed to be the largest rooftop solar installation for a healthcare facility in Australia. The system will generate 609 KW of electricity and save the hospital $130,000 per year in operating costs.

One of the aims is to pilot the project to determine its effectiveness for hospitals throughout the country.

Other large-scale solar projects for buildings include the 6,000 panel installation at Charles Sturt University at its Wagga Wagga campus. Its total capacity is 1.77 MW and it produces 20% of the electricity needed for the campus.

Earlier this year STELR News also reported on the solar installation at the Sydney Markets that comprises 8600 PV panels.

Another Australian first for Prof Martin Green

STELR would like to congratulate ATSE Fellow, Professor Martin Green of UNSW who has won the prestigious Global Energy Prize. Professor Green is often called the ‘father of photovoltaics’ because pf his ongoing pioneering work in that field.

martin green.png

He won the prize for his work on reducing the cost of solar panels. He shares the prize, worth over $800,000, with Russian scientist Sergey Alekseenko. There were 44 people in the running for the prize, including Tesla CEO, Elon Musk.

You can see a full ABC report here.

Professor Green heads the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics at UNSW and has been featured in a number of STELR News items including: A new material in solar cell design which features his research into using perovskites as a new material for solar cell construction; also Australians set another world record and Climate for change.

STELR Student Becomes STELR Teacher

 Sarah with her students at Naracoorte High School.

Sarah with her students at Naracoorte High School.

STELR Program Manager, Pennie Stoyles travelled to My Gambier in March to run a teacher professional learning session. One of the attendees was Sarah Edwards who is currently teaching science and maths at Naracoorte High School.

Over lunchtime discussions, Sarah mentioned that she used the STELR Renewable Energy kits when she was in year 9 and 10 at Renmark High School.

“I used the same kit when I was studying years 9 and 10 at Renmark High School,” she said. “I vividly remember the cardboard boxes and fans and blades – it sparked my curiosity.

“I always wanted to be a teacher but I didn’t know what subject. Using the STELR kit at high school gave me that drive to take up a science teaching position.

“I really liked how it was hands-on and practical. Around that time there was a huge push around sustainable energy and I was hearing how they were building wind turbines in Snowtown.

“And there I was in the classroom, making turbines. I could see how the technology applied to our lives. I was so engaged.”

Sarah said that using STELR fitted well with Naracoorte High School’s new science facilities and an engaged style of learning. “The biggest challenge with years 8 and 9 and even occasionally year 10 is keeping the science relevant and making those real-life connections. I want to avoid chalk and talk.”

Renmark High School was one of the early adopters of STELR and has been using STELR equipment since 2010. Naracoorte High Schools signed up to STELR in 2014.

UPDATE: Read the story published in the Naracoorte Herald on 13 June 2018. 

Meet the scientists event at Macquarie University, Sydney

When:       25, 26 and 27 July, 2018

Macquarie University and One Giant Leap Australia are hosting three days of unique science and engineering experiences for high school students and teachers. There are nine concurrent sessions including workshops presentations and lectures.

The cost is $10 per students and teachers are free.



Australian Student Wins Top Prize

 Meghana Bollimpalli, Oliver Nicholls, and Dhruvik Parikh won the top awards at the Intel ISEF 2018. PHOTO COURTESY OF SOCIETY FOR SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC/CHRIS AYERS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Meghana Bollimpalli, Oliver Nicholls, and Dhruvik Parikh won the top awards at the Intel ISEF 2018. PHOTO COURTESY OF SOCIETY FOR SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC/CHRIS AYERS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Congratulations to Oliver Nicholls who was awarded first place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania earlier this month.

Oliver is from STELR school, Barker College in Hornsby, NSW and he designed a drone-like, robotic window cleaner for commercial buildings.

The fair is the largest pre-university science competition in the world. Oliver received the Gordon E. Moore Award of $75,000 USD named in honour of the Intel co-founder and fellow scientist.

Find out more at the Society for Science and the Public website.