IN BRIEF

Doing science

Dozens of students travelled to Canberra to help Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt launch the innovative secondary schools education program, Science by Doing. The Australian Academy of Science’s initiative combines interactive technology with teaching expertise to create exciting tools for teachers and students in years 7 to 10. Science by Doing resources are available free to every Australian secondary school.

History gets bigger

Big History, the Macquarie University-based program backed by US billionaire Bill Gates, is expanding its Australian footprint. The 2013 pilot program involved 70 US and 40 Australian schools and Australian involvement is expected to jump to more than 100 schools next year. Developed by Macquarie professor, David Christian, Big History is a multi-disciplinary approach to trying to understand the world, linking sciences and humanities.

Putting Australia on the map

A new website helps celebrate the 200th year since Matthew Flinders’ 1814 publication of the first English map to show the true scale and size of the Australian continent. The mariner successfully promoted the name, Australia, for the vast continent which had earlier been described by Captain James Cook as New Holland. The website www.australiaonthemap.org.au contains a timeline, the Landings List, which shows how Flinders’ map was the culmination of two centuries of European visits.

Bank’s emergency measures

ME Bank has donated $20,000 to the Salvation Army’s Disaster Relief Appeal in the wake of recent bushfires and contacted more than 1000 NSW customers, in fire-ravaged areas, to offer financial support. CEO Jamie McPhee said measures on offer included halting home loan interest charges for three months, waiving fees and break costs where customers had to access term deposits, approving extensions to credit card limits, and halting collection letters to customers in affected areas. ME Bank is owned by Australian industry super funds.