Mosquitoes require the proteins in blood to produce viable eggs © Sciengist

Mosquitoes, You and Climate Change

Mosquitoes require the proteins in blood to produce viable eggs © Sciengist This article was originally published by RiAus on 4th September, 2015   Mosquitoes are undoubtedly some of the most annoying guests at Australian barbecues. They attend only to feed on your blood, not your food. Mosquitoes require the proteins in blood to produce […]

What is really in a beard? (Image:

What’s in a Beard?

This article was originally published on the RiAus Blog on 18th August, 2015 Charles Darwin suggested beards evolved out of sexual selection (Image: Wikimedia)   A beard is more than a golden ticket into the Secret Men’s Society: granting guys the right to the Knowing Nod when passing their bearded comrades. The manliness projected by a […]

Aristotle and Natural History

Ecology: The Cinderella science and its forgotten mantra

Stability/DiversityAristotle and Natural History Ernst Haeckel coined the term Ecology in the late 1800s. He derived the name from the Greek for house (οἶκος), but it was not the first time a holistic approach had been taken to the study of communities in situ. That distinction goes to Ancient Greek philosophers such as Hippocrates and […]

Microscopy of diatom frustules (Image:

Diatoms: tiny creatures telling us a big climate change story

Microscopy of diatom frustules (Image:         Diatoms are micro-organisms, phytoplankton, a type of algae. Diatoms are important in our marine and freshwater environments. They produce energy through photosynthesis, providing almost a quarter of the oxygen we breath. In the Southern Ocean alone, they constitute almost 75% of total primary productivity. Diatoms […]

Are you feeling dizzy yet? © Sciengist

Vertigo: the leading cause of dizziness

Are you feeling dizzy yet? © Sciengist Vertigo is the leading cause of dizziness. People who suffer vertigo feel a sense of movement, even if they are sitting still. It can be incredibly uncomfortable and can result in nausea and vomiting. The symptoms are often made worse by actual movement of the head. Vertigo is […]

Distribution of Brown Adipose Tissue in an Infant

Newborn human babies can’t shiver; that’s why they have Brown Fat.

Distribution of Brown Adipose Tissue in an Infant(Image: Newborn human infants are very vulnerable to hypothermia for several reasons. They have higher ratio of body surface area to body volume. Their heads are proportionally larger. They have a small musculature. They cannot shiver. They are poorly insulated. They can’t move to warmer areas. And […]


Dr Google: friend or foe?

The Spudd Magazine I am an avid self-diagnoser. I regularly consult my good friend, Dr Google. Generally, I am not too far off the mark, despite the rolling of eyes I receive from my GP. I can understand how this might annoy healthcare practitioners. And I did actually have a good giggle while reading the […]

Getting Dirty with Carrots

The Kamikaze Chemistry of Carrots

Carotenaemia hand (left) compared with a normal hand (right)(Image: Have you ever had carotonemia? Or know someone who has? Fear not, it is not fatal or contagious; it is usually just the result of eating too many carotenoids! As the name suggests, carotenoids are found in carrots and they have an orange colour. But why […]


The Perfect Idea: Making Sense of Matter

Dmitri Mendeleev(Image:   Dmitri Mendeleev was a Russian chemist, inventor and teacher. He was, essentially, the father of the Periodic Table. The birth of the Periodic Table, however, involved a long, lengthy process of discovery. As is the nature of science, the Periodic Table was a process of building on, acquiring and organising knowledge. […]

Cumin seeds are believed to have many health benefits.

The discreet cumin seed may play a significant role in your life

Cumin seeds are believed to have many health benefits. (Image: Cumin seeds have been part of cooking for thousands of years. Well before today’s scientists began researching them. I have thoughtfully qualified cumin seeds as discreet. Cumin seeds contribute to the taste of a dish in such a subtle but effective way that you […]

Efforts to revive a woman injured on a whale-watching tourist boat in March 2015

The Dangers of Whale-Watching

Tourists touching a Gray Whale in the Bahia of Mexico(Image:   For unaccountable reasons, some people believe communion with dolphins and whales can be a spiritual and healing experience. Consequently, there is a strong desire to swim with whales or touch them and this can lead to unfortunate outcomes. It seems highly likely that […]

Online shopping can be enjoyable and convenient © Sciengist

Online shopping can become an actual, verified addiction

Online shopping can be enjoyable and convenient © Sciengist I am reclining on the lounge, in my favourite leisure-wear. My feet are encased by the most ridiculously cloud-like slipper-socks. It occurs to me that we are out of organic, sustainably sourced, fair-trade coconut oil. I know that come morning, I will forget this crucial piece […]

Ocular Sparganosis: Nodules in and around the eye.

Sparganosis, a rare zoonotic disease

Ocular Sparganosis: Nodules in and around the eye (Image: Sparganosis is a rare zoonotic disease that is spread all over the world. Sparganum, which finds humans accidentally, is the name of a larval stage of a tapeworm. Humans get affected by the larval stage of the tapeworm through improper cooking of meat. The disease can […]

Harper Lee's second novel to be officially released on 14th July, 2015 (Image:

Reading fiction: it’s your social obligation

This book changed my life, and that’s a fact © Sciengist   I can barely contain myself. My excitement is almost palpable. Nineteen years ago, I was a mere whipper-snapper (technical term for a presumptuous youth), with a love of books but rebellious to obligatory reading. So when I was told I would read To […]

Swiss anatomist, Johann Peyer (Image:

What did this man discover that may be the secret to your health?

Swiss anatomist, Johann Peyer (Image:     Until recently, I used to think of my colon as a disgusting waste disposal centre. Similarly, when the Swiss anatomist, Johann Peyer (1653 – 1712), discovered and gave his name to nodules in the wall of the lower small intestine in 1677, little did he imagine how […]

A simple, home-made experiment showing rain drop formation ©Sciengist

How rain drops are formed

A simple, home-made experiment showing rain drop formation ©Sciengist Explain to children how rain drops are formed with a simple home-made experiment! Inspire children to ask questions about rain drop formation! It may be a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon or the beginning of school holidays, and you may notice that your kids are either increasingly […]

Apricot kernel oil: myth, legend or science?

Apricot kernel oil: myth, legend or science?

Apricot kernel oil is sold as a luxurious cosmetic wonder-balm ©Sciengist I attended a cosmetic party, against my will, and despite considering myself to be an intelligent woman, I found myself handing over a large sum for a tiny jar of apricot kernel oil. I really have no idea what the sweet smelling balm is […]


Red wine and “The French Paradox”

The French live healthier lives, can they thank red wine? ©Sciengist       Do you know that despite consuming a diet high in fat, the French suffer less from heart disease and live healthier lives while the rest of us are ballooning? Scientists have arguably attributed this so called “French paradox” to a particular […]

Tulasi Ram's research on hibernation gained world-wide recognition, a truly inspiring story ©

An inspiring journey: from a humble beginning to a world-class neuroscience researcher

Tulasi Ram’s research on hibernation gained world-wide recognition, a truly inspiring story ©Sciengist Scientists unlock key to hibernation in name of stroke, heart research – The Australian, July 27, 2011.   Scientists induce hibernation at will: Discovery puts closer to human application – Science Daily, September 22, 2011.   These media headlines are just two examples […]

Plantago plant edited

A Wart, A Weed and a kind of Banana

In latin the word planta means sole of the foot (Image: James Heilman, MD) Let’s start with the wart It’s not the kind you get on your knuckles or your knees; it’s the one that invades the sole of the foot, the Plantar Wart. So that’s logical: planta – on the sole of the foot. […]

Penny's wristwatch and the new smartwatch, uncanny (Image:

Where will we be tomorrow?

Delusional ideas become reality? (Image: Imagine if the ideas of yesterday became tomorrow’s reality. If delusional forecasts became our apparent future. Welcome to the Year 2015. Science, technology and medicine are taking leaps we never dreamed possible. Years of research are culminating in advances, at an alarming rate. We are watching as science-fiction becomes […]