Tricky topic backgrounders

Some complex scientific topics are hard to get your head around, particularly those that provoke strong emotional responses among the public. To help you understand some of the more contentious scientific issues that appear in the media, we've put together some handy at-a-glance guides.

These backgrounders are intended to give a quick and easy explanation of an issue and a glossary of terms used in news stories. We hope they will be useful to busy news desks, especially those that lack ready access to a specialist science correspondent.

Note, 'last updated' dates are included on all documents and some are quite dated. Feel free to suggest other topics.

Read about Coal seam gas in a Nutshell (PDF 291 KB)

Read about Hendra virus in a Nutshell (PDF 120KB)

Read about Mobile Phones and Health in a Nutshell (PDF 203KB)

Read about Stem Cells in a Nutshell (PDF 168KB)

Read about Bird Flu in a Nutshell (PDF 281KB)

Read about Mifepristone (RU486) in a Nutshell (PDF 207KB)

Read about Geosequestration in a Nutshell (PDF 152KB)