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Physical and Life Sciences General Knowledge

The U.S.A. National Sciences Foundation (NSF) asked 2200 Americans 10 questions to test their general knowledge of basic physical and life sciences in 2012.   The results of the 2012 survey were included in a major report, Science and Engineering Indicators 2014, presented to the U.S. President and Congress.

The NSF plan to repeat the survey in the USA in 2014.  The survey has also been recently put to the general public in the USA, China, the EU, India, Japan, Russia, Malaysia and South Korea.

How does the general knowledge of Australians compare?  Complete the survey here (10 multiple choice questions) to help find out.  On completing the survey you will be redirected to a link that presents the survey results for the USA and other countries.

The survey is open to anyone to complete – feel free to share this with your friends and colleagues.

22 Feb 2014

Geology plays an essential role in many areas of the economy. economic growth and sustainability, as well as societal wellbeing, will require reliable supplies of energy and mineral resources, a dependable supply of clean water and the secure and sustainable production of food. All this will be contingent on sustained investment in technology, infrastructure, education and skills development.

A new report prepared by the Geological Society of London, “Geology for Society” which examines the many and varied contributions of geosciences to modern communities.

It outlines many of the ways in which geology is of value to society. Geology underpins the provision of most of the resources on which the population and industry of developed countries depend, including energy, minerals, water and food.

Many vital services also depend on geology, including management of the waste we produce; ground engineering for the construction of buildings, roads, dams, tunnels and other large infrastructure projects; and remediation of a wide range of environmental problems, including land contaminated by industrial use.

The report provides an overview of each of these essential areas and highlights the importance of ensuring a skilled geoscience workforce and strong research base, to equip society to face the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century.

The report os aimed at policy and decision-makers as well as the wider public and is as relevant to readers in other countries as those in the U.K..

12 Feb 2013

The latest instalment in the AIG Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey series is open for contributions until 28th February.

These surveys were commenced to track the impact of the global economic downturn on geoscience employment in 2009 but have since demonstrated the ability of geoscientist employment trends to foresee upturns and downturns in the fortunes of Australia’s exploration and mining industries and provided invaluable data for presenting the impact of government policy decisions on exploration and mining activity.

The format of the surveys has been kept consistent for much of this period to help ensure that data is comparable from one survey to another.  The ongoing success of the survey series depends directly on your support.  The surveys are being conducted each quarter at the moment due to the dynamic employment conditions evident for geoscientists in Australia.

The minute or two that it takes to complete the survey makes a difference.

Please contribute to the institute’s work in the employment field by completing the survey before the closing date and encouraging your colleagues and friends to contribute.  You do not have to be an AIG member to participate.

Click here to complete the survey.

FreshScience is partnering with the British Council and The Times Cheltenham Science Festival to morph Fresh Science into FameLab Australia.

FameLab is run in 23 countries around the world and adds an international element to Fresh Science with the national winner heading over to the UK to present at The Time Cheltenham Science Festival.

FameLab state finalists will be invited to take part in a one day media and communication training workshop, run by FameLab Presenting Partners, Fresh Science.

The workshop will help state finalists feel more comfortable in talking with journalists and give them more control over their media appearances.

Over the day, state finalists will learn how to see the story in their science, which is a skill useful not just for the media, but also for grant applications, talking to other stakeholders and even down at the pub!

Then state finalists will deliver a three-minute presentation at a public event in front of a panel of three FameLab judges.

Looking for passionate young researchers to win a trip to the UK: launching FameLab Australia

We’re looking for passionate early career researchers with a peer-reviewed discovery to present their science as part of the inaugural FameLab Australia – a new competition presented by the British Council, Cheltenham Festivals and Fresh Science.

The competition builds on Fresh Science, but with a twist.

Plain speaking is essential. Music, song, poetry and props are optional.

Applicants can be honours students, graduate students or up to 5 years post-PhD, and researching in any field of science, maths or engineering.

FameLab Australia will add an international element of performance to the existing Fresh Science program, which celebrates the achievements of early career researchers and shares their work with media and the public.

Up to 60 early career researchers will be chosen to join us at state finals across Australia, where they will:

  • learn to find the story in their science and explain their work to a general audience
  • practice their media skills with journalists from TV, radio and the papers
  • get on stage to present their work to the public, with three minutes to inspire them…and our panel of judges.

The top two from each state final will jet over to Perth for the national final.

Over four days, they’ll perfect their pitch with help from experts in communication and presentation, and we’ll tell the media and science community about their work.

The winner of the national final will head to the UK to represent Australia at the FameLab International Grand Final, at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival in June.

Applying is easy. Applicants need to:

  • Tell us about their work in our short online form
  • Show us their passion in a simple video – a smartphone will do – explaining their discovery

Key dates

  • Nominations for FameLab Australia are now open and close 5pm, Thursday 27 February 2014.
  • FameLab state heats in QLD, VIC, NSW, SA and WA, in March and April. Successful applicants from TAS, NT and ACT will be flown to their nearest location.
  • National Final in Perth, 12-15 May.
  • The International Grand Final is part of The Times Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK, 3-8 June.

To apply online, and for key dates and selection criteria, head to:

FameLab is an initiative of The Times Cheltenham Science Festival. FameLab Australia is presented by the British Council, Cheltenham Festivals and Fresh Science; and supported by Inspiring Australia, the Western Australian Museum and the British High Commission, Canberra.

9 Feb 2014

Completion of Geoscience Degrees by U.S. Women on the Increase

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has been tracking the gender of geoscience degree recipients in the USA for a number of years.

Recently released figures show that the total number of women receiving geoscience degrees in the USA is rising, following a long term growth trend.  In 2013, 44% of geoscience PhD graduates were women, who also accounted for  41% of bachelor’s andf 42% of master’s degrees.

This AGI Geoscience Currents briefing provides further information.

Comparable statistics are less readily available for Australia.

AIG is an affiliate of the American Geosciences Institute.

9 Feb 2013