Issue 10 / 4 April 2012   CSIRO
  Radio astronomy   From radio astronomy to wireless technology   ALA   30 million species... and still counting   Boeing   Getting innovative with Boeing  
  Planet Under Pressure   Feeling the pressure   State of the Climate  

State of the Climate: the facts

  Positive Impact   Why we're all about Positive Impact  
  In Brief  
  From radio astronomy to wireless technology Radio Astronomy

Last week the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia got in touch with me about some CSIRO-produced films they had found from the 1950s and ‘60s.

While these films are always amusing for the stilted presentation style and English accents, they got me thinking.

One film from 1950 introduces radio astronomy as a new branch of science that uses radio equipment rather than telescopes to study the stars and sun.

It showed the work of the Radiophysics Laboratory which became a division of CSIRO in 1940. In 1996, the Division of Radiophysics merged with the Division of Applied Physics to become CSIRO, Telecommunications and Industrial Physics, then down the track that was merged with CSIRO Industrial Physics and CSIRO ICT Centre.

What an amazing journey from 1950 when we ‘introduced’ radio astronomy to this week when CSIRO signed licensing agreements with some of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world for the use of our patented WLAN technology– the technology which makes wireless devices work.

The invention came out of CSIRO's pioneering work in radio astronomy. That work involved complex mathematics known as 'fast Fourier transforms' as well as detailed knowledge about radio waves and their behaviour in different environments.

Every time we use a wireless device we should thank the funny sounding scientists on those black and white films.

Huw Morgan

Oh, for those who prefer little icons and stats, check out this nifty infographic on how we brought wireless LAN technology to the world.

  Top Of The News  

Feeling the pressure Planet Under PressureThe Planet Under Pressure conference was held in London last week and our own Mark Stafford-Smith was on the organising committee.

A fair few of our scientists spoke at the conference, which was designed to be a major opportunity to link global-change science with a wide range of groups working towards global sustainability.

Interestingly, for the first time, a State of the Planet Declaration was published as a way of summarising the insights and concerns from the world's largest gathering of experts on global environmental and social issues.



30 million species... and still counting ALAA small Brush Bronzewing (pictured right) recorded by Dutch explorers in the 17th century helped the Atlas of Living Australia top the 30 million mark in records last week.

The ALA is a collaboration between all Australian museums, herbaria and biological collections, CSIRO, Adelaide and Southern Cross Universities and the Commonwealth Government and is the largest collection of information on Australia’s plants, animals and fungi.

The Bronzewing record is part of the collection from Birdlife Australia.



State of the Climate: the factsState of the ClimateWorking with the Bureau of Meteorology, we recently released our second State of the Climate report.

It provides a summary of observations of Australia's climate and analysis of the factors that influence it.


The Business

A five-year $25 million strategic research program signed last week between us and Boeing will see new research in space sciences, advanced materials, energy and direct manufacturing.

The agreement extends the 23-year partnership between our organisations and has seen $110 million invested in a wide range of projects including sustainable aviation fuels, aircraft assembly processes, fire retardants and aircraft maintenance management software.

The strong relationship with Boeing has also played a key role in the development of Boeing’s operations in Australia– most notably the decision to establish research and development laboratories in Brisbane and Melbourne.

There are now 37 scientists employed within these facilities, many of whom collaborate with us on joint projects.


On The Record
Mike Whelan

Mike Whelan, our Deputy Chief Executive, was in Auckland this week to talk at a global licensing and commercialisation executives conference.

His speech on the challenges and opportunities for innovation in addressing looming food security questions was a keynote at the 2012 Licensing Executives Society International Conference.

The theme of this global meeting was Commercialising Innovation to Save the World. Mike gave examples of successful innovation and also about the obligation those with knowhow have to make sure their ideas get to market in the most effective and equitable way possible.




On average 1 cotton wool ball contains 13.5km of cotton fibre. That’s 270 Olympic swimming pool lengths.

Get more #4oclockfact




We're looking for two Enterprise Service Managers for our Communication division.

The first is for Director of Publishing, the second is for Director Education and Outreach.


Double Helix

The fine folk over at Education have taken the plunge into social media. Woohoo!

The @CSIROhelix twitter account will broadcast fun science news, quizzes, activities and info about events and holiday programs.

Now, we can say it's all about the kids and their love of science... but we really know you adults won't be able to keep away.

  Positive Impact

Everyone loves a long, dispassionate and dull corporate video.

Yeah. Right.

We wanted to do something different. We wanted to make something short and sweet that tugs at the heart strings but still demonstrates some of the amazing science we're proud to put our name to.

You see, for us, it's all about the Positive Impact we make on people's lives, daily.

Watch it here.

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Enquiries: Huw Morgan +61 8 8303 8857 / +61 417 834 547 / huw.morgan@csiro.au