Best stories of 2021

COVID-19 continued to dominate news headlines in 2021, and rightly so. But the global pandemic didn’t put the brakes on other scientific endeavours in other areas including at CSIRO, so our editorial team has rounded up the best science stories from the past year.

A boat sits on the water while the bush behind it (on the edge of the lake) is on fire.

Sometimes playing with fire is actually the safest option – especially when you’re building houses designed to withstand extreme events.

Showing the dry land and shrub of the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (or APY lands) in South Australia

Researchers have teamed up to uncover an ancient buried water source in South Australia.

Pictures of discarded computer circuit boards. Biomining is an innovative way of mining valuable metals from printed circuit boards like these, which usually end up in landfill.

Did you know there is up to 100 times more gold in a tonne of mobile phones than in a tonne of gold ore? Microbes could underpin a new urban biomining industry, where gold, silver, copper and other e-waste metals are extracted more cleanly and more economically than through conventional mining.

Robot hand decorating sweet cupcake with fresh cherry

In 20 years, will we swap beef for crickets, 3-D print food, or grow our leafy greens on vertical farms in our cities? And what will changes in our diet mean for Australia’s agrifood sector?