Editor's note

Some pollies (anyone remember K-Rudd?) swear they only need three hours of sleep a night. Teenagers swear it’s literally impossible for them to get up in time for school because eight hours just isn’t enough. We’ve all heard we should get eight hours, but according to one of our experts, this convention only arrived with the industrial revolution (eight hours of work, eight hours of leisure, and eight hours of sleep) and isn’t backed up by science. We asked five experts if everyone really needs eight hours’ sleep every night, and five out of five said no. It depends on the person, and it changes as we age. So your teenager probably isn’t lying after all.

Alexandra Hansen

Chief of Staff

Top story

How much sleep we need depends on us as individuals and varies by age. from www.shutterstock.com

We asked five experts: does everyone need eight hours of sleep?

Alexandra Hansen, The Conversation

Five out of five experts agreed not everyone needs eight hours of sleep.

Signs of life on Mars? These are the tracks of NASA’s Curiosity rover exploring the Martian landscape. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Our long fascination with the journey to Mars

Paulo de Souza, CSIRO

Mars has long captured our imagination, from claims of canals to Martian attacks and now our latest NASA exploration to look inside the red planet.

Kathleen Petyarre looking across Atnangker country, Northern Territory, December 2000. Photograph Ian North; courtesy Wakefield Press

Kathleen Petyarre: a brilliant artist whose life was rudely interrupted by colonisers

Christine Judith Nicholls, Flinders University

Petyarre, who won the Telstra prize for Indigenous art in 1996, has died in Alice Springs.

Science + Technology

  • How a change in climate wiped out the ‘Siberian unicorn’

    Kieren Mitchell, University of Adelaide; Adrian Lister, Natural History Museum; Alan Cooper, University of Adelaide; Chris Turney, UNSW

    The loss of the Siberian unicorn shows just how vulnerable some animals can be to environmental change that can impact on their food supply.

  • Curious Kids: What are some of the challenges to Mars travel?

    Paulo de Souza, CSIRO

    I've worked with NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Project for 16 years. If you got yourself a ticket to Mars, here's how I'd advise you to prepare. And by the way, any mistake could kill you.

Environment + Energy

  • For the first time we’ve looked at every threatened bird in Australia side-by-side

    Stephen Garnett, Charles Darwin University; Alienor Chauvenet, Griffith University; April Reside, The University of Queensland; Brendan Wintle, University of Melbourne; David Lindenmayer, Australian National University; David M Watson, Charles Sturt University; Elisa Bayraktarov, The University of Queensland; Hayley Geyle, Charles Darwin University; Hugh Possingham, The University of Queensland; Ian Leiper, Charles Darwin University; James Watson, The University of Queensland; Jim Radford, La Trobe University; John Woinarski, Charles Darwin University; Les Christidis, Southern Cross University; Martine Maron, The University of Queensland; Molly K Grace, University of Oxford; Paul McDonald, University of New England; Sarah Legge, Australian National University

    New research has shown how to measure conservation progress for Australia's 238 endangered bird species

  • Labor’s policy can smooth the energy transition, but much more will be needed to tackle emissions

    Frank Jotzo, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

    The Labor Party's newly announced energy policy could finally set Australia's electricity sector on the path to a renewables-driven future. But policies are still needed to cut emissions elsewhere.


  • The battle to be the Amazon (or Netflix) of transport

    Neil Sipe, The University of Queensland; Dorina Pojani, The University of Queensland

    Investment is pouring into urban technology, much of it into innovative ventures that aim to transform how we get around our cities.

Politics + Society

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Health + Medicine


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