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If you do what your dentist tells you, you’ll brush your teeth at least twice a day. I do, and – like most people - I use toothpaste. The other day I found myself reading the ingredients and it was quite a list. That got me thinking about the very nature of toothpaste, a substance that – to do its job – must exhibit a wide range of characteristics. So I’ve compiled a list of common toothpaste ingredients and what they do. I also stumbled upon an explanation for why the orange juice you drink after brushing your teeth tastes so foul.  More . . .

Is there an "i" in "robot"?

In 1942 Isaac Asimov introduced the world to his 3 laws of robotics. These laws are primarily designed to ensure that a robot remains subservient to humans and that it never hurts a human. The laws also demand that a robot protect itself and in this respect it seems that if robots are in conflict with each other, they do what people often do – they cheat, they deceive and they get very selfish. More . . .

The Good Ship Thingy

There's currently a very cool opportunity to put your mark on Australian research, nearly literally. CSIRO is replacing it's current research vessel, the Southern Surveyor with a new ship to be launched in 2012 and the call has gone out seeking ideas for a name for the new vessel. Entry is online and there is a host of prizes, including working with a CSIRO scientist to design an experiment to be conducted on the new vessel. I say get in there, get creative and make a splash. Sorry about that.

So much to do!

Science Week continues to roll on and it’s already been one to remember. ‘Hypothesis’ was fantastic (loads of people, great laughs, super science and lot’s of fun); NASA astronaut Megan McArthur gave a great insight to a full house at RMIT, and there are still hundreds of events listed online. That said, ‘Living Science at the Market’ was postponed due to weather. We were ready for rain, ready for hail, ready for cold, but anyone who was in Melbourne last Sunday will know it was very, very windy – no place to be erecting marquees. Don’t panic, though, the event will be on again at some point in the future. Stay tuned . . .

I’ll be moderating a debate in Bendigo tomorrow to explore whether mathematics is the cornerstone or society. Nice meaty topic when you think about it - I’m looking forward to it. On Friday I’m speaking at ‘Science Matters’ at Melbourne Museum. This should be a great event, with a very impressive line up of speakers (as well as me). There’s also ‘The Physics of Star Trek’, ‘Dinosaur Island’, ‘Beer: Barley to Bottle’, and so much more.

It’s also Radiothon time at Triple R, so I have on-air duty with ‘Einstein A Go Go’ on Sunday morning.


A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a National Science Week event called Hypothesis that’s coming up on at BMW Edge Theatre on Friday 14 August. At the time I promised more details. Well, here you go. Filled with physical feats, Teacup Tumble will perform their acrobatic show, ‘Its Science not Circus’. Join Simon Pampena as he tried to save the world in his hilarious show ‘Supa Mega Maths Battle for Planet Earth’ .

Inspired by the microscopic world, Scale Free Network will bring the very small to life using art – check out the hidden secrets of the Yarra River and take a close look at the beautiful detail of a butterfly tongue. I’ll be your chaperone at 'Speed Meet a Geek' where you will have the chance meet some of Melbourne’s most charming and gregarious scientists.

More . . .