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How often do you think about what’s in the ground beneath your feet? The cavities and caverns, the small bodies that live in subdued light? In our tenth edition, our writers and artists explore the science of the underground, drawing our attention to that which is often out of sight. Read more
Person touches aluminium ant sculpture coming out of the ground.

Artist statement: Jim A. Barker

Before being contacted by Australian Ant Art I was peripherally aware of the underground beauty found in ant's nests. Upon hearing what they had in mind I was only too keen to jump in and help them document this dig. Read more
Beetaloo Reservoir, plack and white trees on a hill near dam

Water sites and songline rites: A new-old science

The morning came, not gently like the sunrise should and has done in this place for more years than I know how to speak. The earth shook, and the racket from the birds as they rose into the air simply added to our abrupt awakening. Read more
The road down the centre of Yorke Peninsula stretches south in a long unwavering line towards a distant vanishing point. Read more
a photograph of the inside of Postojna Caves with green and orange rock formations

Snakes and Dragons

It is raining on the day we visit Postojna caves. This is one of the largest cave networks in Europe, so big that there is a train to get from one end to the other. Read more
I hadn’t seen Dave in a while and was probably due a visit. Read more
the oil painting 'Early Morning After a Storm at Sea' by Winslow Homer

Only Time Will Tell if the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow

He lives above a tailor’s shop in Aarhus, Denmark. He is five feet six inches tall and weighs approximately 140 pounds. He has no outstanding features that would make him stand out in a crowd. Read more

Department of the Vanishing - Six Floors Down

On my first day
they gave me a list Read more
you expect this particle-scape
to be seismic | smashing protons Read more
Painting of smoke in a circle amongst trees under a dawn sky with the sun low.

First Peoples’ knowledge of ‘mysterious fairy circles’ in Australian deserts has upended a long-standing science debate

What are “fairy circles”? They are polka dots of bare earth, regularly scattered across arid grasslands. Scientists first described fairy circles in Namibia in the 1970s and sparked a global debate in the scientific community about the causes of the phenomenon. Read more
A close up of limestone, coloured brown, white and yellow.

Following the Stygobites

The map old
very old
a fragment only Read more
Collage of underground creatures and objects (stalagmites and crayfish) by artist Amelia Hine.

Interview with Amelia Hine: 'Whoever’s is the soil'

Amelia Hine is a human geographies researcher and emerging artist originally from Brisbane and now living and working in Oldenburg, Germany. Amelia's immersive exhibition Whoever’s is the soil was held at Stable Art Space in Meanjin (Brisbane) from 2–3 October 2021. Read more
My grown son sits cross-legged in the back yard, under him, worn blue cotton spread over the dirt, a childhood towel that once kept him dry and warm. Read more
It began with Egyptian mummies
hook to scramble and pull brain jelly
through nostrils, sacred jars for lungs Read more
Photo of a constellation in space

Science fiction?

It is a bit of a lark 
That the best way to discover
Dark Matter Read more
An old mine shaft covered in moss and ferns

Subterranean-Obligate Bat

this here is sacred ground
this here left open an empty mine shaft Read more
Aerial satellite photograph of a vast canyon and terrain on the planet Mars

The Rivets for the Trees: Crafting Resonant Settings in Hard Science Fiction

Imagine. You are standing in the Juventae Chasma, a box canyon cut deep into the red plains of Mars whose walls loom six kilometers above you, three times the height of the Grand Canyon. Read more
It's been ten years
since you walked
into the forest
eyes smoking Read more
Scanned images of two fossils and their corresponding sea creature: Horseshoe Crab and Shrimp

What’s in a name?

I recollect the old dry watercourse where I was seated, splitting shale, each hammer blow Read more
Because I’m a refugee in Australia, I feel the same as fish in an aquarium. Australia is a very beautiful country, with beautiful water… but I would like to swim in my water.’ - Hedar Abadi Read more
Hedar Abadi smiles at the camera.

Featured artist statement on 'Migrating: oil on canvas'

I exhibit here 'Migrating: oil on canvas' that tackles alienation and displacement, and I shed light on the issues of our current world… and responding to audience and media queries regarding why I use fish in my recent exhibitions, I am saying that fish… Read more
In this image, we see a black and white photograph of an outdoor scene. The dominant colors are grey, black, and white, with the accent color being a dark brown. The photo appears to have been taken in a park or other outdoor area.  The main focus of the image is a wooden bed frame that sits unoccupied on the grassy ground.

The Teak Bed That Led Four Humans to Travel from Singapore to Muna Island, Southeast Sulawesi, and Back Again

Is it possible to trace the geographic origin of the wood from an old teak bed using DNA-tracking technology typically applied to determine whether timber comes from legal or illegal logging sites in Southeast Asia? Read more

Interview with Tuấn Mami: Vietnamese Immigrating Garden

Tuấn Mami is an interdisciplinary-experimental artist, working with site-specific installation, video, performance and conceptual art, who constantly explores new mediums, means and methods of evolving with reflective questioning, and social research Read more
A photo of trees with red leaves in Autumn.

Alma Mater: On body donation, cell migration and morphogenesis

We gather around the hospital bed in late December 2022 where my Aunty Gail lies, brittle but accepting of the terms on which the cells of her body will soon embark on their mass migration from life to death. Read more
A Chimera (represented as a lion with a goat's head in the middle of its back and with a tail that ends in a snake's head on its tail) against a black and gold backdrop.

What we carry with us

Nearly all my ancestors migrated from Ireland in the 1860s. The O’Connors, O’Rourkes, Careys, and Egans decided that Australia offered them a better future than post-famine Ireland. Read more
Taking as a point of departure the effects of environmental change and migration, we would like to outline a new map with a set of possibilities. Read more

Far-Flung: This is Nsenene Season

After the rain season in Uganda, a frenzy of green descends on towns and cities across the country, heralding the start of another season. Read more
A photo of seaweed underwater.

The Thread is Made of Flesh

Your spirit – sugar milk – must burn. Your blood – silk mosquito – must burn. Your memory – disembodied crematorium – must burn. Your heart – limewater and seafoam – must burn. Read more
Leisl wakes. Finds herself standing in the garden in the dead of night – an undead night! She finds herself: standing. Night, but. It is: insanely noisy. There seem, bizarrely, more animals awake now than in the short daylight hours. Is it? Bizarre? Read more
The farewell lunch had started on a high note. My friends had done their best, pooling their credits to get us into Stella’s Table. They’d even tried to order real meat for me, but given the price, I’d insisted vat-grown was indistinguishable. Read more
They never went back.
I return to a Wanneroo Nursery to meet them.
It was meant as a slur. Read more
Consider the rabbit:
vegetarian, pacifist,
exceptional breeder,
submissive in comely brown fur
shaped for the arm’s cradling. Read more
In your garden, I fill the gaps—
under lilac and lemon trees,
by camellias and fuchsias,
in the perfumed shadow of gardenias. Read more
A painting of a flooded river and are gumtree. The colours are pastel.

Yaama Ngunna Baaka: Dancing the River

Everyone is feeling the heat
the long dry
roots of red gums Read more
It last appeared
to the Neanderthal,
hurled from beyond
the Oort, Read more
Orange butterflies on red flowers in a garden.

If There Is a Butterfly That Drinks Tears

If there is a butterfly that drinks tears
let it drink the tears of mothers. Down South
great walls begin to spring up between butterfly Read more
Collage of different tropical cyclones.

Cyclonic Storm Migration

Near the Azores that’s where they arise tropical depressions that wander Read more
a pepper taught me to move through pain
that's a true story.
how do pups have friendlier smiles than their people?
in new york, dogs will still look at you in the face Read more
Diamanté dusted skin
sparkles with warmth.
—A thousand exploding suns Read more
A surrealist drawing on a cream background.

Yesterday is Today - the Migration of Memory

Today is Saturday and you are still a child. helping Mother polish the furniture,
feed wet clothes through the mangleand
chop the carrots for dinner. Read more
I stand apart a drab donga. Zipped vests undo basic plumage, almost non-verbal. Rare vagrant, ropy lists. Read more
leaving Bass Strait
on the muttonbird gales
flocks fly north Read more
Ruins of an abandoned red building.

For a Limited Time Only

On Sundays, my neighborhood smells
of laundry, lilac blooms running out
of vents in search of pasture. Read more
In a picture of a picture there was a man
tagged with your name sitting next to a man
I recognised as your father. Read more
two babies bitten
in their London homes

a woman gnawed by a fox
as she slept Read more
birds flying in August . their wings flaringagainst the graceful sun .birds flying inwards to where nests are room-like . Read more
Rock art (petroglyph) of human figure, image taken at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Revelations from Dudley

A ribbon of morning-lit glitter reaches the rocks
through the sweep of sea from the horizon, outnear the edge of the Sydney Basin. That hole Read more
Feature image by George Catlin,Painting og  Buffalo Herds Crossing the Upper Missouri, 1832 Smithsonian Institute (Public Domain)

Before the Border

No swans, nor cows nor sheep graze;
five fences submerge half-way across,
in water pale and calm as the underside of pearly clouds. Thousands of feathers Read more
They wanted roses.
They wanted tulips.
They wanted chrysanthemums. Read more
View of Western Australian coastline taken from above.

The Lake at the End of Summer

A movie is interrupted
by a call from mum
beside a lake under marri trees
exultant at the full moon Read more
Lost at sea in a world gone stormbroken hugging at last to leeward of an unknown island I consult the map: Rawaki, Mckean, Enderbury, Nikumaroro, Read more
They come to find each other in the heights—Jezebels, glasswings, chequereds—but I stand here only for emperors,and they have not failed me. Read more
Hooded merganser not so hidden among the mallards and geese,liminaling its way home on the low-slung canal, water drained for the season. Black and white crest on full display, a stampon this day to mark how we walked the canal. Read more
This image is a close-up of a mitochondria, captured in black and white.

On Homage & the Body

Who knows what compelled me to         answer my father’s call. His tumor                   resurfacing like the past.        Ghosts             solidifying. In many ways, there was an us. Cells       cycling                      into sameness of                    our collarbones, soft lung linings,                      your face  Read more
Science can illuminate the shot of dopamine in a brain’s pathway; the delicate interconnections of the nervous system; the ways eyes and ears process sound and light; the role of the gut in immunity. Writing alchemises these marvels, using science as… Read more
The small, grey room is dimly lit, amplifying the whirr and sigh of the machines. 
The examiner hovers; poised as if to give me a scalp massage.   Read more
The northern lights in shades of emerald green over snowy mountains.

A Russian Physicist Puts His Head Inside a Particle Accelerator

‘Not only do these children not hear walls, but when they have the chance to be in a pool, they waste it by just sitting there and talking to their friends!’ Read more
A photo of a swimming pool with a gridded floor and sides. The water is light blue.

Abnormal I Contact

‘Not only do these children not hear walls, but when they have the chance to be in a pool, they waste it by just sitting there and talking to their friends!’ Read more
elbow room, the new condo, unfettered viewsbespoke micro climate. smart glass windows Read more
Feature Image Latvian postage stamp to commemorate Christmas with drawings by the Latvian writer and artist Margarita Stāraste (Public domain) Read more
After Destiny Birdsong I know you’re busy, but You work from home, so Thank you for your kind donation. Now Keeping 1.5 metres apart, please I think the government should Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately You don’t have kids, so You saw the… Read more
it’s the earring that vanishes
on hitting the ground, the last pill
of a nonrenewable prescription,
one bounce, and singularity. Read more
An ear on a mouse?
Why not an ear on a tea cup?
A ferris wheel on a fire engine
A pimple on a pumpkin Read more
Blocksspeaking on FaceTime to the younger autist telling the way the world makes space for what I have in me Read more
Photograph of a large silver horizontal cylinder.

Death is an Iron Lung

My poverty enclosed me like an iron lung, but so young then, I didn’t understand the disease. At school my head stuck out of the classroom window; I was more outside of myself, than in. Read more
A photo of several metal circular metal devices on a blue background.

“Don't Mess With My Heart Device, I'll Do It Myself"

Karen: Hello Marie, my fellow cyborg! Would you please give a brief introduction to who you are and what you do?  Marie: It is a pleasure to meet you Karen! I have a pacemaker implant, due to my condition called heartblock, where the signal that makes the… Read more
Most ear issues lean toward vertigo and hearing loss, and doctors will not diagnose a patient with Ménière’s disease unless they experience both. Before my diagnosis, I thought hearing loss meant gaining silence. Since my diagnosis, I’ve gained noise.… Read more
A photograph of a wolf howling in the snow.

Girl Who Cries Wolf

These days, the fingers of a diagnosis blanch with welter, blue with weather I don’t say, not aloud, not within spitting distance of anyone. Read more
The IAU constellation Draco and surrounding constellations with traditional Chinese asterisms overlaid.

Grief, loss and the injured brain

‘We are made of starstuff’ [i], writes Carl Sagan in The Cosmic Connection, but what do the 3.2 trillion atoms of my body have in common with the dust of stars? And how does my atomic body find its way back to the stars? These are the questions I asked… Read more
A photo of a book cover: featuring the bottom of a woman's head and neck, with shoulders covered by black puffy sleaves. The words 'Hearing Maud' and 'Jessica White' are overlayed.

Hearing Maud: an extract

One morning, a few weeks into my stay, I walk from the studio to the nearby Botanical Gardens. Weak winter light falls through the oaks and their yellow leaves spiral to the ground. Read more
Not even eating matters, which is something no one tells us, which is something I learn later, after I have badgered my mother to eat, after she has finally asked for a fried egg every day Read more
It’s an almond, she tells me, probing thin, long metal chopsticks through two holes in my skull. You know how these things bind receptors, secrete hormones into the bloodstream like honey dripping from a golden spoon. The apple is on hiatus. Read more
A photograph of nurses in white in black and white.

How to Mount a Sick-Room TV

Using your average stud finder, palm the flat hand of it against the drywall, until it pings with an infrared calm. Pencil the moment. Read more
6am I forgot to see the sky starred cream flowers open Read more
on if you're rich enoughand light people can be no smarter than a pig and suffer Read more
The circular movement of Bird Box, a Netflix Original based on the novel of the same name by Josh Malerman, begins with the protagonists’ final journey along a river to find a place of refuge during an apocalypse. Read more
A photograph of stacked vinyl records.

Music as Memoir / Vinyl Memories

Dad gives me his old vinyls. I wipe off thick layers of dust and take crates of them to my car. Place them in my boot, next to his record player and wood panelled speakers. Read more
A photo of stars featuring a whirlpool gallery.

On a backwater ebay in Seyfert’s Galaxy

And this, what is this red liquid,that  costs as much as a Moon of Argus? Read more
The close up of cells in black and white.

On Homage & Body

Who knows what compelled me to answer my father’s call. His tumor resurfacing like the past. Ghosts solidifying. In many ways, there was an us. Read more

People in Deaf Houses

Here’s the church and here’s the steeple. The Deaf students have barricaded the door, hot-wired the school buses, moved them in front of the gates and let the air out of the tires. They’ve shut the campus down, and the police can’t do anything about it… Read more
Part I. In 1911, J. F. Gudernatsch conducted an experiment on tadpoles, fed them pieces of organs—including thyroid, liver, adrenal gland, pituitary gland, muscle, thymus, testicle, or ovary—from horses, calves, cats, dogs, pigs, or rabbits. He described… Read more

Professor Owen Makes Love to Miss Anning

I start cleaning the house the day my husband moves out. I’ve never broken up with someone before, so I don’t know how to react, and cleaning’s the only thing I can think of doing. I put on my headphones and turn the music up loud. The cats wander aimless… Read more

Session 2: ReDo—Completement

Enormous levels of kinetic energy can be transferred through microscopic to cosmic distances by photons that travel at the speed of light, carrying a relativistic mass/energy. This energy, when photons collide with atoms and molecules of living systems… Read more

Session 7: Disembodied

Does the Cosmos, then, into which we dissolve, smack of us? Read more
Feature image: Mildred Ford, Tea Kettle, c. 1936, NGA Read more

This is Not a Stunt (19th century)

Trauma Time is Crip Time

“Under which conditions is a body simply raw material for the industries of analysis?” – Billy-Ray Belcourt, NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field, p.70.   Trauma time is crip time. It bends and fractures. It stops and starts, turning back on itself… Read more
Our seventh edition, Science, Humour and the Absurd is out now! I’ve been thinking about what humour is, and what it means for something to be ‘funny’. There are definitely different kinds of funny depending on where you live—I know this as a midwestern… Read more
A crayon and chalk drawing on paper of men in hats watching a woman in a dress on stage

Free cheese and crackers

The treatment facility has CANCER CENTRE written in big letters on the façade. Cheers, thanks for the reminder.   There’s a receptionist in charge of welcoming me and other patients, and showing us to our allocated chairs. We carry our own luggage –… Read more

Laughing and Crying: absurdist theatre, science and climate crisis

Rapidly rising sea levels and temperatures, erratic and severe weather: we have made nature uncanny, broken and unpredictable. In his book Dark Ecology, eco-critical philosopher Tim Morton describes global warming as a “wicked problem for which time is… Read more

An Uncertain Electricity

Neil rode down thirteen floors in the elevator at seven am – the end of his shift – and exited through a dawn-tinged foyer. He was drained, but it was a good, satisfying depletion. Neil feared letting in that thought of satisfaction, though, lest it… Read more

The Funny Formula

The Imperial Majesty and the lords superior have given me a challenging task: to ascertain why humans laugh. If the Hegemony is to subsume this planet, we must soften the humans’ attitude towards extraterrestrials through humour. This achieved, they will… Read more

What You Always Wanted to Know About Mathematicians But Were Afraid to Ask: An Anthropology of Mathematicians in the Late Afternoon

WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT MATHEMATICIANS  BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK  Read more

Adherence to the Committee Process

Minutes of Institute Grants Committee – Science/Technology 14 August 2024, 2pm, Roland Seaforth Seminar Room 5.03 Voting Members: Cr Lydia Greenwood, Chair Cr Albert Shenton, Emeritus Prof. Cr Claude Challis Attendees: Ms Prisha Devi, Bsc (Hon)… Read more
“I’ve never been picked in the lottery before. Figures, knowing my luck, that the first time would also be the last. I guess as far as conscription goes, I prefer this to serving some colonial political agenda.  I worked at Nantech, so I guess I’m giving… Read more
Customer:   Dear Sir/Madam   I am writing to complain about the EazyKid Kit sold by your company at 49.99 sol-credits on Earth. Despite its high price and its promise of a fail-safe pregnancy, it does not deliver and I am very disappointed.   Let me run… Read more

Galileo's Daughter

Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art' Read more

The Carbon Snake

In grade 6, our science teacher did an experiment. The abstract was dull: an introduction to core concepts (‘chemical reactions’ and ‘what is a catalyst?’) but when she materialised at her demo bench in elasticised safety goggles and a stiff lab coat the… Read more

Carbon Copy Consumables

Look, what you’ve got to understand about industry – and I’m talking about the food industry in particular – is that the pursuit of money always trumps common sense. It’s been this way since Year Dot. For instance, there’s only one type of banana across… Read more
[only person known to have been struck by a meteor]   Sheesh, talk about wrong place at the wrong time. Out watering the petunias on a golden summer’s evening, when out of a clear sky... That glancing, blackened bruise on her hip like a shark’s taken a… Read more
Feature image via JSTOR Read more
Scientists report they have found remains of toy people on Flores Island and the journalists add they were pea brains that hunted miniature elephants which scientist Peter Brown  said would make nice pets.   It was variably reported that they were too… Read more
Feature image via Te Papa Collections Read more

Science According to Amber

Feature museum via The Metropolitan Museum of Art Read more

Both in Kansas and Not in Kansas

Moa’s Advice To The Kākāpō

Originally published in Body Politic (The Cuba Press, Wellington, 2020) Read more
Lithograph image of stylised racehorses and jockeys rounding a bend on the course

The Thing That Hits You in the Head

How tastelessly undignified, the toff who has his top-hat off, from accidental elbowing  geraniums in crockery by Madams on the balcony—  who only meant a mercenary wave. Now, lying in the evening damp, is hatless corpse, and mindless plant; statistically… Read more

Three Pounds of Matter

This poem was originally published in Seisma Magazine. Read more
A woke friend in a wide brimmed hat,  through a fog of incense, below a dream  catcher, above a mound of tie-dye rugs,  told me that anger was bad for me, even  in short bouts, and that I must  quell it  with every bit of might as if it were a spark … Read more
Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art' Read more

What is the Normal Life of a Jellyfish?

This poem was originally published in Front Range Review (Spring, 2012). Read more
This poem was originally published in FERAL: A Journal of Poetry and Art Read more
Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art' Read more

Ten Fun Facts About Silence

Feature image via IIIF Read more

Ghosts of ancient underwater clouds

This poem was first published in Australian Poetry Journal 4.1 July 2014 Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art' Read more
This poem was first published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, May/June 2019 Read more

Tip Diebæck’s Licentia Pearl

At Altitude then no more light

after Tabula Rasa , for two violins, string orchestra, and prepared piano, by Arvo Pärt Read more

In space your body does crazy things

Because of some metabolic anomaly triggered by microgravity, your body loses potassium, so it tries to neutralise the charge of salt on your skin with calcium taken straight from your skeleton. It figures you don’t need that anymore, (which is why you’ll… Read more

The Teetering Vase Contemplates Gravity

I. Newton said there is no choice; this weakest natural force still draws all things, relentless.   Apples, stones, my lucent porcelain fall with the same force as the Moon falls, too   but Newton stood on giants' shoulders to claim that Moon's slight… Read more

Editor's letter

A few nights ago I stayed up late to finish Frankenstein, a book which I had somehow overlooked during my literature degree many moons ago. Published by Mary Shelley when she was a mere twenty years old, the novel charts the relationship between Victor… Read more
1. The Realisation has been growing for years. Small hints, intimations, never enough evidence or narrative to define it, describe it – driving along a coast road; running a hand over a ghost gum’s smooth bark; watching a Coorong pelican lifting from its… Read more
My grandfather was a biologist, and my grandmother was a librarian. With this genetic combination, it is perhaps unsurprising that I wound up as a plant systematist and taxonomist. Put simply, systematics is the science which aims to discover, classify,… Read more

On First Looking into a Microscope

You’ve spent years trekking through the bush, through mountainscapes, along beaches and riverbanks. You stop regularly on your walks to pause and look around. You think yourself observant. You sit on a boulder and watch a pair of wedgetail eagles rising… Read more
Edinburgh piles higher. Street layering on street. Empty cellars decay. ~ Read more

For the Benefit of Naturalists

In my mind’s eye I saw Mother observing a metamorphosis: jaw clenched; eyes widened and holding utterly still, forgetting to blink. Her nostrils flared and she brought her face down, close to the creature’s emergent head. The sphinx moth’s upper abdomen… Read more
There are monsters in the trees. I hear their shallow breaths, their teeth clacking as long talons are scraped along trunks like metal on bone. Worse still are the cries: horrid curdles of throat and air that reverberate through the foliage, sometimes… Read more
Footsteps of giant creatures cross the ancient mud A thousand paw prints caught in pitted sandstone run along the shore, fill as rock pools at high tide   The Goolarabaroo sing the trail of a Marrala Man A great emu races by, shedding feathers from his… Read more

The Australian Anthropo-seen

This poem has been previously published in the City of Greater Bendigo’s What I Did Last Week: Online Exhibition Week 26 as well as Poetry for the Planet: An Anthology of Imagined Futures (Litoria Press, 2021). Read more
This poem was first published in Rabbit 31 – Science Read more
                                                   Luscious                 Beautiful                             blushing spider orchids               kangaroo apples                                                                      ( Caladenia… Read more

For Sue: The T-Rex

What a Surprise said the fossil to the world And it is Surprising To get pulled out of the ground like so many potatoes This used to be an Ocean, I swear It did... but now it’s just Montana And what a surprise to see a dinosaur Said the world In plain… Read more
i Women on plastic chairs shift in the sand as the scientist lifts the box to their table. Mungo Lady brought back, safe in country; a breeze rustles her spirit home.   They spread her cracked, charred bones on the velvet lining and cry the same tears of… Read more

H I S T O R I E S

  i  Defined  after Terra Spiritus … with a darker shade of pale (1993-1998) by Bea Maddock (1934-2016).   Two centuries past the voyage around, she charts from map to graph to sheet a fine wash outlining the island’s shoreline cliffs and inner hills.  … Read more
Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art' Read more

Stink Jars : applied and pure

Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art' Read more
Looking into the operating microscope, I hold the tiniest pair of stainless steel forceps, & within them sits a mouse calf anterior tibialis. I just move my hands. The artist is the hand that plays. I squeeze once then let him go. In twenty minutes… Read more

Documenting Clouds

Even though it's overcast I spend my day taking photos of clouds while I know it's been done before   and that this suggests a failure of imagination on my part I can't help thinking of each cloud as unique   as I'm re-documenting the heavens I shift… Read more

Darwin's Finches, Overheard

1.     Least Concern? Are you negging me? 2.     My father wasn’t a finch; nor am I. Good day, sir. 3.     Don’t call me Common, punk. I’d like to see you occupy this niche. 4.     Have you seen her, parading around with that twig, evicting invertebrates… Read more
my friend didn’t know the one tree in his backyard was a mulberry still, there are those who see trees as only a green thing that stands in the way Blake wrote in seventeen ninety-nine   this week I listened to the sound of wings fluttering to silence on… Read more
Long before it was a lunar crater, she was a woman made of flesh and blood, a learned philosopher and great astronomer whose skin was torn off by a Christian mob. They stripped, minced her with tiles; set her alight and dragged her sorry heap through… Read more

In Defence of Rome’s Starlings

Feature image by Eliza Brightwen Read more

An Imaginary Taxonomy of the South Seas

Excerpt from the Annals of Natural History, xiv, 1822, “Description of a Flightless Swan of the Southern Indian Ocean” by Robert Frazer, Botanist, Royal Navy The anatomical descriptions show it in the Anatinae family and closest in skeletal structure of… Read more

Encomium boronia granitica

Note: Boronia granitica is an endangered wildflower shrub native to Australia; all of the animal species noted in this poem are indigenous to the same areas as this plant, and are already extinct or endangered. This poem was first published in the light… Read more
Author’s note: ‘Kings Cross 1340’ treats postcodes not only as geographic markers, but as a numeric representation of the corresponding place name, and performs equations based around key figures in Australia’s colonised history commemorated in the… Read more
I’ve come to learn that writers are always asking each other how they write. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you write everyday? In fact, the way I write is closely related to the theme of Edition #5: Illumination & Illustration. I’ll pretend that… Read more

Review of ‘The Smallest Lights in the Universe'

‘Not every planet has a star. Some aren’t part of a solar system. They are alone. We call them rogue planets.’ Sara Seager is not speaking metaphorically, at least not entirely, with this opening to her memoir The Smallest Lights in the Universe. As the… Read more

Beyond Sight: A Personal History of Imaging

For a long time, they’d known there was a hidden world of sickness. But it was not until a Dutch draper, a lens grinder, peered through one of the first microscopes and drew pictures of his ‘animalcules’—meaning little animals in Dutch—that we truly… Read more

The Visual Art of Writing or Krissy Kneen Carves out a Book

A parcel arrives for me express post. A heavy parcel. My partner is confused. He is used to seeing parcels arrive for me. Usually book-shaped boxes. This is different. It is heavy, irregularly shaped. Soft with the give of bubble wrap. What have you… Read more

Observation Journal: Introduction

This is an introduction page for the  observation journal  pages. I’m still tinkering with it, so do feel free to let me know if you have any general questions you think should be addressed. For this reason, comments are currently open on this page. Read more

Observation Journal: Surfaces

This  observation journal spread  was concerned with “Five thoughts about surface texture/decoration”. Read more

Observation Journal: Variations on descriptions

This  observation journal  page has what is now one of my favourite observation journal activities. It’s a chance to be poetic and/or silly, a splendid vocabulary workout, and also intellectually soothing enough to do late at night. Read more
EVERY YEAR, IN first semester, my husband teaches a tertiary course called ‘Biological Adaptation to Climate Change’ to third-year science students in Brisbane. Enrolments have roughly tripled in the time he’s been offering the program, and the students… Read more

Double-space: Creating optical image system artworks across Art and STEM

I have always been fascinated by the interaction of glass and light. Sitting in an echoey cathedral as a small child, I would fix my gaze on the stained-glass windows, eagerly awaiting the sun to reappear and illuminate the coloured figures, magically… Read more
Tess wonders what she would have to say to get her mother to sit up again, breathe deep again, smile, if such a thing were even possible at this stage. Because she hasn’t moved, hasn’t opened her eyes for four days now, and sometimes when Tess enters the… Read more

The Birdman’s Wife

Excerpt from The Birdman’s Wife , a historical novel about the life of zoological illustrator Elizabeth Gould, by Melissa Ashley (2016, Affirm Press) Read more
Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art' Read more
 After Grace Cossington Smith’s Portrait of Diddy, c 1922. Read more
Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art' Read more
Feature image via Biodiversity Heritage Library Read more
The moon is a child of collision Born 4.5 billion years ago The result of a violent union between our earth and what we call a ‘wandering ‘planet How curious to describe an entire planet With the same term we might employ for a 20-something student on a… Read more

Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art' Read more
the oar bent in water – straight to my touch – clear of belief – errands for the eye – we know to verify Read more
Excerpt from The Dying Alchemists by Nicholas Bennett and illustrated by Tina Wilson. Available from One Tentacle Publishing Read more

The last of this red hour

‘an autumn of’, ‘silences’ are from Denise Levertov's “Everything that Acts is Actual”, Here and Now (1957); ‘powder hulks’ refers to the shipwrecks at Sydney's Homebush Bay; ‘word bells' is from Patricia McCarthy's sequence, “Word Bells. From Rilke’s… Read more
Capitalism and science make interesting bedfellows. Sometimes they are passionately aligned; at other times they cling to opposite edges of the mattress. In this edition, a range of writers explore the relationship between capitalism and science in… Read more

Review of ‘The Living Sea of Waking Dreams’

Within the first few pages of Richard Flanagan’s The Living Sea of Waking Dreams, one encounters a raft of losses. The book, which centres around three siblings, Anna, Tommy and Terzo, and their mother Francie, opens with the vanishing of Anna’s middle… Read more

Matters of the Heart

He lay there naked under the strong artificial lights, his damp skin cool to touch. He would tell me what happened but not through words. It was still dark outside at the time we met in the basement room of the old regional hospital. We were not alone. I… Read more
First published in Saltfront studies in human habit(at) Issue 4, Fall 2015, Salt Lake City. Read more

(Life)Grants Writer

He would have laughed out loud if it hadn’t been all so damn absurd. His life was on the line, he had less than 2hrs to come up with a successful LifeGrant for the upcoming solar year or he would be terminated (aka killed) on the spot… and what he could… Read more

A Moment of Light in the Einstein Cafe

Albert is sitting by the window, thinking about time and space and wondering where his teaspoon has gone, when he hears the two ladies come into the cafe. He glances up at them briefly, noting they are each wrestling a large baby carriage in with them,… Read more
Introduction: First Ned Kelly’s skull then Pharlap’s mighty heart. Phrenology and the history of morbid awe. Next to be purloined for purposes of research was Einstein’s brain, (plus his eyeballs given as a present to Albert’s ophthalmologist). The… Read more

Dark Cloud Constellation

Because our dreams were always linear, our markers white, we only saw  the Cross, a dot-to-dot for  mad flag wavers. Because our dreams were white lines,     we did not see a beaked nebula, a neck stretched along  the Milky Way. Because our dreams were… Read more

Folding and Tilting

Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art' Read more

There is a Shape to Trees

Feature image via Biodiversity Heritage Library Read more
Our new edition celebrates the myriad ways that poetry is in science, and science is in poetry, and how we find lyricism in the world around us. As Carol Jenkins writes in her essay, ‘A Transect of the Science-Poetry Incline’ the instance of a poem’s… Read more

Beautiful Mathematics: A Discussion between Author and Mathematician

A foreword from Amanda— A few months ago I read a novel called The Housekeeper and the Professor, by revered Japanese writer Yoko Ogawa, translated into the English by Stephen Snyder in 2009. A writer friend had recommended it on Facebook and, seeing it… Read more

A Transect of the Science-Poetry Incline

When I left my job in the then National Industrial Chemical Notification and Assessment Scheme, that went by the rhyming and trivialising acronym NICNAS, at the usual departure afternoon tea, the Director — who knew I was writing a novel — said, with that… Read more

Interview with an Oesophagus: The Transcript

I am Galen, investigative reporter and a roving T-Cell lymphocyte, also known as White Blood Cell or “ Killer” ( Galen winks) on-site in the Oesophagus. T-Cells don’t ordinarily visit the oesophagus. I’m usually sent elsewhere on “Seek and Destroy”… Read more
‘[11] Sodium’ first appeared in Tricia Dearborn, Autobiochemistry (UWAP, 2019). It also appeared in Bianca Nogrady (ed.), The Best Australian Science Writing 2019 (NewSouth Publishing). Read more
‘[50] Tin’ first appeared in Tricia Dearborn's Autobiochemistry (UWAP, 2019). Read more
‘[82] Lead’ first appeared in Sarah Holland-Batt (ed.), Island Magazine 153 (June 2018) and was the featured poem in Holland-Batt’s column in the Weekend Australian ’s Arts Review of 3 April 2020: ‘Of poetry and biochemistry’. It also appeared in Tricia… Read more
Originally published in Xn. Read more
Feature image by Buller, Walter Lawry Sir 1838-1906 Read more

At the University Library

By Jackson
  First published in A coat of ashes (Recent Work Press 2019). Read more
Feature image by Stephen Rahn Read more
First published in Meniscus 5 (1), June 2017 Read more
[1] Stratus in ragged shreds   Meanwhile, on the floor of Parliament absolute time disputes with relative time – no kinship here –   the sun naps its way through slogans policy disintegrates into magnetic reversals as the opposition scoops at the sewer… Read more
First published in The Weekend Australian , Dec 2016 Read more

Inhabiting the Tesseract

Between our adjacent rooms the voile twitches liminal, exposes the perpendicular. We are entangled, she & I, the way in which nothing really dies, woven into the same fabric of the next dimension. Living side by side in the crooked house, beans are… Read more

On a Transect in North Carolina

Qi Qi, the Endling

Feature image by Charlie Fong Read more
Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell (purple) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (yellow), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Seasonal Sciku Sequence

    Australia, 2020 i. a new decade dawns summer fires feed then die down while SARS-CoV-2 spreads   ii. autumnal iso tans & burns fade; vitamin D blood levels fall   iii. this hemisphere leans sunward as winter breeds spring hibernators rise     The… Read more

Space Chimps (ii) Enos

Airplane Baby Banana Blanket interprets the bizarre true story of Lucy, a chimpanzee raised as the ‘daughter’ of Oklahoma psychotherapist Dr Maurice Temerlin during the 1960s and 70s. ‘Space Chimps I’, ‘Space Chimps II’ and ‘Space Chimps III’ signpost the… Read more
This item is photo of a Chimpanzee in molded couch with nylon net restraint garment.

Space Chimps (i) Property of Holloman Aerospace Medical

Airplane Baby Banana Blanket interprets the bizarre true story of Lucy, a chimpanzee raised as the ‘daughter’ of Oklahoma psychotherapist Dr Maurice Temerlin during the 1960s and 70s. ‘Space Chimps I’, ‘Space Chimps II’ and ‘Space Chimps III’ signpost the… Read more

Space Chimps (iii) Death of an Astronaut

Photograph of Ham the Chimpanzee Reaching for an Apple after Landing Safely inside a Mercury Capsule - NARA Read more

States of Matter

    So we make goo to prove that some things behave the way they shouldn’t   just like people, I guess, but this is more intrinsic, it’s oobleck.   Is it a solid or liquid? Non-Newtonian fluid: custard or toothpaste,   shampoo or blood. Also called magic… Read more
Feature image via NPS/Patrick Myers Read more
First published in A coat of ashes (Recent Work Press 2019). Read more
First published in A coat of ashes (Recent Work Press 2019). Read more

Under the Microscope

In the 1920s, it was the only thing a woman without an education could do. That and Nursing. Isobel Bennett AO (1909 – 2008)   Part 1    The Christmas Cruise   William J Dakin meets Isobel and her sister at boat drill, his wife by his side, his voice… Read more
We hope everyone who has landed on our pages over the past month has enjoyed our focus on women and science, and we welcome you to our next issue on Extinction. We initially shaped this theme around three novels released earlier this year – James… Read more
A dead tree with bare branches stands before a lake. A row of trees are on the opposite side of the lake.

‘The Loneliest Plants’: On humility and reciprocity in conservation work

In 2009, not far from the Golden Gate Bridge, botanist Dan Gluesenkamp was driving home from a conference when he noticed what he thought might be a Raven’s Manzanita – an endangered evergreen shrub native to San Francisco, with only a single wild plant… Read more
Colour lithograph of a shark with mouth open

How Being Human Led Me to Better Science Outcomes

Here’s what you need to know about me—my qualifications, if you will: 1) I am a trained research scientist in the field of sharks; 2) I am a human being; and 3) I want to help people to better understand sharks. I suppose you could also consider me a… Read more
A black and white photo of chunks of glacier ice, with snow-covered mountains in the background.

How We Write the Future (Panel)

Thank you to Rose Michael of RMIT Writing & Publishing and Deanne Sheldon-Collins of Speculate Literary Festival, we are able to share with you a complete transcript of this video chat with the incredible Jane Rawson, James Bradley, Catherine… Read more
Summer in Melbourne in the 1980s. It seemed like I was always peeling the back of my legs off sticky seats—the orange plastic chairs at school or the vinyl of the car, where turning on the ‘air-conditioning’ was using two hands to pull down a reluctant… Read more
Lutaralipina – the giant freshwater crayfish ( Astacopsis gouldi) – is the world’s largest freshwater invertebrate. It can live for up to 80 years, grow to almost a metre in length and weigh as much as six kilograms. This rare and secretive creature lurks… Read more
Small jade mammoth against a white background.

Do Not Feed the Monkeys!!!

From Gifts for the One Who Comes After by Helen Marshall (ChiZine Publications, 2014) Read more
Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art' Read more

The Allotropes of Tin

Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art' Read more
Hello! First of all, thank you to everyone who’s helped us get here! Science Write Now has been a long time in the making, and along the way we’ve benefited from countless conversations with friends and colleagues about science and writing and reading. It… Read more

Learning to Forget: Seeking balance between science and fiction

I am not a scientist; I was a reasonable biology student, but I limped through chemistry at high school and eventually dropped it for politics. My school learning of science calcified when I chose to focus on arts at university, but when I conceived the… Read more
Originally published in Writers Queensland magazine, September 2019 Read more

Science in Story: Craft techniques for fiction writers

Scientists seek to tell meaningful, logical, comprehensive stories that explain how the world works. Allowing for differences in cultural logic, storytellers have long sought to do the same. Scientists and storytellers may use different methods and tools… Read more

What Comes First is a Question

In the opening of Lab Girl, her memoir about becoming a scientist, Hope Jahren exhorts her reader to look outside their window. Amidst buildings and sidewalks, they might catch a glimpse of something green: a tree. This is ‘one of the few things left in… Read more
An excerpt from Theories of Entanglement by Krissy Kneen (Text Publishing, 2022) Read more