Question: Have you guys made any major science discoveries so far?

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  1. @misseden: I’ve helped uncover information about animals that we didn’t know before through my research and helping other researchers. I think it’s really cool stuff, but I don’t know that the average person would categorise them as ‘major science discoveries’!

    After my degree I worked at the uni as a research assistant helping find out how leaf-cutter ants from Venezuela move. Turns out ants are really cool. Some people think that nature optimises systems so there were a whole lot of traffic engineers interested in how wide the ants would make their path to accommodate the colony members carting fragments of leaves to the nest. There were some physicists who thought the ant colony acted like gas particles expanding and contracting which turned out to be relevant to planning how people can evacuate buildings in emergencies. My piece of the story was looking at how the ants carried their load. Sadly I didn’t go to Venezuela, but spent hours watching videos of these ants in a lab, measuring the triangles formed by their legs when they walked and how the triangles varied depending on load and speed. Somehow, it was still really fun!


  2. Not all scientists are looking for new science; science researchers are – that is their job; people who apply science are often called engineers, and that is how I think of myself. I studied science at university and have been using it in various ways ever since.


  3. The word major is kind of relative. I have made some major findings in my field of study and am certainly known internationally with regard to aspects of wine chemistry. I have published over 30 scientific papers with some important results in this area, but like Mia suggested, these wouldn’t be considered major things to most people, including other scientists.


  4. Not yet, but the project I am working on now (the Dark Energy Survey) is attempting to learn about how the whole universe works! So I’d say that’s pretty major. I don’t think we’ll discover the final answer, but we’ll definitely help to get there!


  5. I couldn’t really say anything was ‘major’ just yet, because nothing I’ve made has changed the world… yet 😉

    But I made 2 smaller discoveries. One was a way to clean up toxic water that is made when people make explosives and another was to build a new explosive in an environmentally friendly way.