Would you let me put drugs in your brain?

The amazing Dr Kiara Bruggeman gets all Dr Seuss with her rhyme about her PhD research to develop a bandaid for the brain. Previously she won FameLab people’s choice award with this piece.


Filmed at Health and Medical in the Pub at Smiths Alternative in Canberra. Supported by National Science Week ACT, ANU Medical School, Australian Society for Medical Research.


Wave of the Century

Originally published in ANU Reporter:

The discovery of gravitational waves is the culmination of a search by a generation of ANU physicists, reports DR PHIL DOOLEY, BSc (Hons) ’90, PhD ’99.

An excited hush fell over the briefing room at Parliament House as Professor David McClelland stepped up to the microphone.

“I’m pretty sure you all know by now but I want to say it. We’ve done it,” he said as his voice quavered.

Spontaneous applause broke out, as McClelland allowed himself a smile. Camera flashes popped and TV cameras zoomed in.

“We detected a wave that was generated 1.3 billion years ago when two black holes crashed into each another… the most violent event ever witnessed.”

The announcement was sweet reward for McClelland, an ANU laser physicist who has spent his career working towards this moment.

Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves but thought they were too small for humans to ever detect.

To prove Einstein wrong and right in a single stroke is rare treat for a scientist.

“This is a moment that will be remembered for a thousand years,” McClelland said.

Gravitational waves are vibrations of space and time themselves, one of the most outlandish predictions of Einstein’s 1916 General Theory of Relativity. Yet, they appeared exactly as predicted and join the long list of successes of Einstein’s theory over the last century.

The first success of Relativity came three years after Einstein’s publication, when a solar eclipse allowed astronomers to pick out the tiny deflection of distant starlight by the sun’s gravity.

Sound and fire = complicated!

The Rubens Tube is a really complicated demo that seems simple. Once you start thinking about it you realise that sound antinodes are points of oscillating pressure, so the flames shouldn’t be stable peaks – they should be going up and down at the frequency of the wave!

And if you change the gas pressure a lot the nodes and antinodes reverse position! Wish I’d thought these points through before Derek asked me to film this!


Using antimatter to find weirdo supernovae

Fiona Panther is searching out galaxy for antimatter – no it’s not science fiction, she’s after anti – electrons, called positrons. It’ll help her to study supernovae – exploding stars.

Fi is a PhD student at ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mt Stromlo.

Filmed at Physics in the Pub, 2016, Smith’s Alternative. Supported by Australian Institute of Physics and National Science Week.