back to the dark ages...
It might seem like a world away but the impact of the US government shutdown is being felt much closer to home.
Former researcher at Melbourne's La Trobe University, Michael Lazarou, now works for the National Institutes of Health in Washington where he is researching Parkinson's disease.
This week he travelled to Perth to present some of his findings at the ComBio science conference being held in the city.
But, just hours before he was due to speak he was advised by the NIH that his presentation couldn't go ahead.
"Almost a total of 30 hours travel time to come to Perth and I got some emails from the NIH alerting me that I'm no longer allowed to present my work because the government has shut down," Mr Lazarou said.
"It's actually a federal offence if I do go ahead and give the talk or even continue attending the conference so I have to keep away basically, I can't even listen to everyone else's work."
More than 800,000 US government workers will spend a second day on unpaid leave after the shutdown came into effect at midnight on Monday (local time), when the US Congress failed to meet a deadline to bring in a new budget.
US president Barack Obama is blaming the Republican's right-wing Tea Party movement for the shutdown after it opposed Obamacare - subsidised health insurance.
Researcher says travel time and effort is wasted
Mr Lazarou has been forced to cancel other speaking engagements around the country.
He says he was stunned by the advice from his employer.
"To be honest, I thought 'this isn't real', I didn't quite believe it," he said.
"I had prepared for such a long time to come here and give this talk, all that effort and it goes to waste now."
He says other delegates were somewhat amused by his situation, flabbergasted that the political situation in the US has made its mark here.
"They were shocked because it's so strange, you can't help but have a chuckle at it," he said.
Mr Lazarou's case is a clear example of the far reaching impact of the government shutdown.
He says many other scientists are also affected.
"This is one person but there are thousands of scientists in the United States at the moment that can't continue their research and many of these people are doing important research in many different fields," he said.
"It's just a real shame that everyone has to stop work and wait until the politicians can work things out."
Mr Lazarou's next challenge is getting back to the US.
His visa is due for renewal and he doesn't know whether that will happen before he's due to fly out in a week's time.
"Right now I'm unsure when I'll be able to return because at the moment I don't have a visa to allow re-entry into the United States," he said.
"I'm just really not sure what's going to happen next, I hope the politicians can work it out as soon as possible."