CPASian Chris Ingles revolutionises Middle-earth geology

Ingles & Orthia 2016 Middle-earth mapFor fifty years fans of Lord of the Rings have struggled to make sense of the geology of the world depicted in Tolkien’s work – Middle-earth – in terms of contemporary earth science.

But according to CPAS graduate Chris Ingles – a former earth science and science communication student – they never got it right. Until now.

Chris completed a sci com research project in 2014 re-analysing the geological evidence about Middle-earth from the Lord of the Rings books to better understand the geological history of that world.

What he found challenged the prevailing literature on this topic. In particular, lots of previous writers hypothesised the role of plate tectonics in forming Middle-earth’s many mountain ranges. But Chris used cutting edge geological theory alongside new literary evidence to show this would not be possible.

Here we present Chris’s paradigm-challenging paper, co-authored with supervisor Lindy Orthia.

To cite this work: Ingles C. and Orthia L.A. (2016) A New Synthesis on the Geology of Middle-earth: Genesis, Orogeny and Tectonics. Canberra: Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, The Australian National University.

Ingles & Orthia 2016 Middle-earth geology

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How to Time Travel Back to Ancient Lands

Have you ever wanted to look into the ancient past?

Imagine walking through ancient rainforest and stepping back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

The good news is, that these forests still exist. However, they are under threat.

Many of you have probably heard of the Wollemi Pine.

One day in 1994 it was stumbled upon in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, by David Noble, a National Parks officer. It was like no other tree he had seen before and was later found to be one of the oldest and rarest trees left in existence.

Australia’s environment has often been noted as unique, due to its isolation after it broke away from the supercontinent Gondwana and Antarctica about 45 million years ago.

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Fusion makes the Sun shine, but won’t make the world go round


Nuclear Fusion. Credit:

Nuclear fusion, or fusion for short, is what powers the Sun: deep in the Sun’s core, the nuclei, or central parts, of hydrogen atoms smash together, releasing energy in the process.

If we got this going on Earth, it could provide us with clean energy for millions of years. From just one gram of hydrogen, which we could extract from water, fusion could produce more energy than 15,000 tonnes of petrol, with zero greenhouse gas emissions.

However, fusion in labs has always taken more energy to get started than it produced.

But in 2014, the internet erupted with news. A team from the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in the U.S. had managed to get nuclear fusion going by using a giant laser to supply energy to a sample of hydrogen fuel.

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Is this our chance to recreate evolution?

I’m sure you all learnt about fossils when you were in primary school. The thought of fossils probably sparks images in your head of dinosaurs or little rocks with shapes of animals on them, right?

The truth is, there’s a lot more to fossils than just discovering rocks with pictures in them. Fossils are magically rare occurrences; and as a community it is vital for each and every one of us to recognize the importance of fossils and to not undermine their value.


Use of surface microscopy shows muscle attachment points in alligator (A), rabbit (B), turkey (C) and tyrannosaur (D).

This is why the emergence of a new technology known as surface microscopy is a topic worth talking about.

This new technology- surface microscopy, can inspect fossils more precisely and accurately than ever before. It has shown to be vastly superior to any previous method of investigating fossils.

But why do we need to be able to study fossils more precisely?

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Worming to the Centre of the Earth – Turning Your Core Healthier

Are you fond of gardening? Growing your own vegetables?

You might not enjoy any of those activities, but during your childhood you probably enjoyed digging a hole in the ground searching for buried treasure or even to see how deep you could dig.

How do I know this? You weren’t alone.

Behold, earthworms!

Single Earthworm in Soil:

These squirmy little friends of ours are integral to the ground beneath us as they decompose organic material into soil which then work as nutrients for plants to feed off in order to grow naturally and successfully.

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Anxiety: The deception from the brain


Anxious people are not feeble-minded.

It is their brains that play the fool with them.


mark for Vetta pse jane

It is very normal to worry about scary things – like speaking in front of hundreds of people, or losing someone you love. However, life gets much more complex when you start to feel fear in every single thing.

Anxiety sufferers view the world differently. What bother them are the things that you might believe are nothing to worry about. Imagine how you would live when you feel fear on everyday tasks such as driving, going to the place with people, or even opening the door for pizza delivery. The life would never be easy.

I can hear some of you saying. ‘Why don’t they just not worry?’, ‘they are being crazy’, ‘get over it’

Well, it is not something that they can put some efforts and get over the fear. It is actually their brain’s responsibility to confuse neutral everyday stuffs with such a massive disaster.

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Approach Gravitational Waves Via 3 Questions

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have detected the gravitational waves! We did it!”

The whole world is fascinated by this exciting announcement. For the first time, scientists have observed a temporary gravitational signal generated by two black holes crashing together, confirming a prediction from Albert Einstein 100 years ago.

Experiments of detecting gravitational waves have been conducted since the 1960s. However, as the waves are incredibly weak, even Einstein was skeptical that they would ever be detected.

So how did scientists finally detect gravitational waves?

The answers lie in the Einstein’ s theory of general relativity and the most precise detector ever built, Advanced LIGO!


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Why we need to ban this common pesticide

Low levels of exposure are supposed to be harmless, but the evidence suggests otherwise

In a recent study , Valeria Rivero Osimani and her colleagues have found that the exposure of a pregnant woman to organophosphate pesticides can affect the functioning of the placenta.

This research adds yet another hazard to the growing list of dangers involved with the use of these pesticides.

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Caldera Me, Maybe? The Truth About Volcanic Disasters

Something’s brewing in America that could devastate mankind—and we aren’t talking about Trump.

There’s no single natural disaster quite as destructive as a volcanic eruption.

A single volcano can knock cities off the map. It can cause global climate change, instantly. It can even wipe out half of all life on earth.


And you thought global warming was bad…

Fortunately, how these eruptions happen is well understood. Scientists know exactly what makes a supervolcano such as America’s Yellowstone blow its top.

At least… they thought they did. But a recent paper by volcanologist Agust Gudmundsson has suggested that everything we thought we knew about how the largest eruptions happen is wrong.

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Sacrifice One Tooth to Benefit the Jaw

A recent study by Associate Professor Koray Halicioglu and his team have shone light on the martyr we know as our first molars.

People are petrified of the dentist, and there’s a nasty image painted of the rusty pliers, long needles and powerful drills used to tear out our perfectly good teeth.

my teeth attempt 2

X-ray of Human Teeth. Photo credit: K Redston

But this new study shows that taking out the first permanent molars allows for not only healthier teeth in the long term, but also helps wisdom teeth erupt faster.

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