Rose essential oil or (−)-cis-rose-oxide and beta-damascenone: which would you prefer in your skincare?

“Nothing is black and white when it comes to fragrances…of course, synthetic fragrances are bad. Fragrances derived from essential oils can be wonderful. Fragrance isn’t categorically bad. I would really implore you guys to not be afraid of essential oil-derived fragrances.”

That’s Brooke DeVard of the delightful Naked Beauty Podcast


Revellers at the 2019 Mardi Gras party. Photo by Jeffrey Feng.

The festivities for Pride Week are in full swing, but many of us don’t know much about the historical background behind the celebration. This gives us the timely opportunity to learn more about New South Wales’ rich LGBTIQ history, including the history of Mardi Gras.

Let’s pay tribute to the…


Image: Pixabay

Travel and adventure go hand in hand (although most of us are only dreaming of travelling right now).

In literature, plenty of travel and adventure novels describe a journey or quest through unfamiliar territory: The Odyssey*, Don Quixote, Gulliver’s Travels, The Hobbit, On the Road (just to name a few)


Image from Pixabay

Let’s talk emotions.

Unhappiness. Anger. Envy. Guilt.

Joy. Gratitude. Fulfilment.

Do you categorise the first group as negative, and the second group as positive?

Do you aim to maximise positive emotions, and minimise negative ones? Do you express them equally? Is happiness something you strive for?

It’s a veritable Pandora’s…


Shop Until You Drop by Banksy, in London.

Innovation. Must-have. Revolution. These are words that get thrown about a lot in the tech sphere, and the land of internet-connected devices (aka the Internet of Things, or IoT) is no exception. But what happens when connectivity adds approximately zero value?

Redundancy doesn’t seem to be barrier for the manufacturers…


Image from Pexels.

The past decade has seen an explosion in research into how we can maximise our downtime to improve our wellbeing, reduce stress and even increase our productivity.

In the spirit of scientific self-improvement, here’s a (relaxing) stroll through some established and emerging areas of research into downtime.

Downtime: getting down to business?

Mental downtime isn’t…


A compilation of science stories of 2020 (very) loosely inspired by the carol.

🎶…and a partridge in a pear tree. Image by Xavier Romero-Frias; CCO.

The 12 Days of Christmas has been described as the holiday’s most annoying carol — bah, humbug!
The song may or may not be a coded, Catholic mnemonic that could be sung around Protestants without fear of persecution — an enticing, but disputed history.
In the spirit of Christmas, what about…


Retrofitting coal-fired power plants with MGA thermal storage could be the key to repurposing existing infrastructure to run emissions-free. Image: jplenio/Pixabay

Roughly the shape and size of a brick, the energy storage blocks developed by Australian research start-up MGA Thermal can be stacked and scaled to store millions of kilowatt hours of energy. …


Does anyone really know how hyaluronic acid works?

If you grew up reading fashion and beauty magazines in the 1990s like I did, you’ll be familiar with print advertisements that looked a little something like this:

Advertisement for Peralia skin preparation from 1909. Wellcome Images, 2018

Yes, alright, this particular advertisement is from 1909, but the marketing strategies of the…


Antoine Lavoisier conducting an experiment related to combustion generated by amplified sun light. Source: History of Science

Chemistry is often accredited with fostering the development of civilizations. Early chemists were responsible for developing the fields of metallurgy, pharmacology and that obsolete brand of science, alchemy. In fact, a distinction between chemistry and alchemy was only established in the 17th century, when Robert Boyle described chemistry as applying…

Larissa Fedunik-Hofman

Science communicator and freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. PhD in Chemistry.

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