Media releases

An eco-apocalyptic circus; insect Olympics; green energy in the red centre; and more

Dozens of stories and interesting people at 80+ Science Week events in the Top End

  • Artists and Circus Oz performers explore climate change.
  • Bush foods, food waste as fuel, and science in the garden with Costa Georgiardis at the desertSMART EcoFair—Alice Springs
  • Can Alice Springs be 100% renewable energy powered by 2030?
  • What do midges have to do with chocolate? Find out at the Darwin Insect Festival.
  • Politicians get a grip (test): HealthLAB visits Parliament House.
  • Meet the science writer who turned 13 sea voyages in three years into a book and a play. And hear from her on science, journalism and telling the stories of climate change.
  • From suspended schoolboy to educational pioneer: 17-year-old innovator Taj Jabari.
  • Meet Fergus the tawny frogmouth, Mr Slithers the snake, and other Top End wildlife.
  • Are you addicted to your smartphone? Researchers want to know.

More on these highlights below, and others at, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia. [click to continue…]

Mayan astronomy; biomedical future; black holes on the big screen; a bloody Science Gallery; and more

Dozens of stories and interesting people at 325+ Science Week events in Victoria

  • Art meets science in BLOOD: Attract & Repel.
  • A virtual reality look inside a plant cell.
  • The science of food at Queen Victoria Market.
  • Game your children’s interesting in science.
  • Will Australia’s biomedical research future be as bright as our past achievements? With Gustav Nossal, Anne Kelso and other research leaders.
  • What do actress Hedy Lamarr, nuclear physicist Lise Meitner and Nobel winner Marie Curie have in common? Their science stories on stage.
  • Ask the Interstellar visual effects wiz how to make a black hole on the big screen believable.
  • Can science make the world’s most liveable city even better?
  • Are your genes your destiny? Gattaca 20 years on.
  • What can we learn about ancient astronomy from Mayan ruins? Ask an expert from Honduras.
  • Do you have a healthy relationship with your smartphone? Researchers want to know.

More on these highlights below, and others at, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Scientists and event organisers are available for interview throughout Science Week. Read on for contact details for each event, or call:

About National Science Week

National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw a staggering 1.3 million people participate in more than 1,800 events and activities.

In 2017, National Science Week celebrates its 20th birthday, with events held throughout Australia— from insect Olympics in Darwin to ‘Blood’ at Melbourne’s new Science Gallery, to Antarctic science in the Apple Isle—with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

The festival is proudly supported by the Australian Government; partners CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association and the ABC; and sponsors Cosmos, Discovery Science, New Scientist and Popular Science.

National Science Week 2017 will run from 12 – 20 August. Find an event at

More about the event highlights

Blood—is it art? Is it science?

Science Gallery Melbourne is giving us a taste of what to expect when it sets up permanently in 2020, combining art, science and controversy with its pop-up exhibition.

BLOOD: Attract & Repel features 22 works which address the themes of taboo, stigma, identity, giving, health, future.

As well as international artists, the exhibition also involves many of The University of Melbourne’s staff and students – from almost all disciplines; only the business and architecture streams are not involved – and a curatorial advisory panel like few other galleries, among them a cardiologist, a haematologist, an Indigenous bio-artist and a performance art lecturer.

Embedded at the University of Melbourne, Science Gallery Melbourne will involve, inspire and transform curious minds through arts and science.

Tuesday 25 July – Thursday 5 October Event details

Talent available for interviews:

  • Rose Hiscock – Science Gallery Melbourne director
  • Ryan Jeffries – Blood creative director

Media enquiries: Katrina Hall –

Event enquiries: Lee Casey, or 03 9035 4484

Market of the Mind—Queensbridge Square, Southbank

Socialise with science after work at Market of the Mind in Southbank, with ice-sculpture, inside-out people, a virtual reality look inside a plant cell, and taste fine wines from the grapes CSIRO developed to suit Australia’s growing conditions.

Friday 11 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Carly Siebentritt, or 03 9545 2615

Living Science at Queen Vic Market—Melbourne

A day of food, facts and fun for the whole family at Queen Victoria Market, with DNA from fruit, zebrafish embryos, liquid nitrogen shows, hands-on experiments, and a marine touch tank.

Sunday 13 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Carly Siebentritt, or 03 9545 2615

Game your kids’ science skills at family science games nights—Warrnambool, Geelong and Burwood

Gaming is an ideal means of engaging participants in science. Science games nights in Warrnambool, Geelong and Burwood will provide participants with the opportunity to play a variety of games relating to different scientific concepts and skills that they may not have previously thought about.

The games provide a fun and exciting avenue for exploring scientific concepts that are normally difficult to relate to and which might be perceived as too difficult to understand or not relevant to participants’ lives.

Each child attending will be given a ‘science games bag’ with science games and information about resources that will enable them to pursue their interest in playing or creating science games.

Warrnambool on Monday 14, Geelong on Wednesday 16, and Burwood on Friday 18 August Event details

Media enquiries: John Cripps Clark, 03 924 46467 or 0403 878 021

Buffeted by Global Headwinds: Challenges Facing Biomedical Research—South Wharf

Biomedical research in Australia has a distinguished history with our universities, medical research institutes and hospitals ensuring we enjoy high standards of health and care. Our contribution to health and well-being is recognized internationally: half of Australia’s sixteen Nobel Prize recipients received the award for either Physiology or Medicine.

The Convergence Science Network brings together a distinguished panel—including Sir Gustav Nossal, Prof Anne Kelso, Prof John Carroll, and MC Dr Rachel Nowak—for a public conversation about the state of biomedical research in Australia. This is an opportunity to understand the headwinds biomedical research faces and to have a say about how we might respond, to ensure we remain a nation that not only enjoys the benefits of cutting edge health care but contributes to a world where good health is not only the preserve of wealthy nations.

Monday 14 August. Event details

Event enquiries: Luan Ismahil, or 03 8344 8405

Curie Meitner LaMarr Indivisible—Clayton

Radiation. Nuclear fission. Frequency hopping.

These discoveries are made by women – double Nobel Prize winner and discoverer of radioactivity Marie Curie, the Austrian-Swedish nuclear physicist Lise Meitner and the Viennese Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr with the invention of frequency hopping.

As pioneers in their chosen fields in the early 20th century, what triumphs and challenges have they faced in both their personal and professional lives as they battle a world where science is thought of as a male endeavour?

The Monash School of Physics and Astronomy presents Curie Meitner Lamarr Indivisible – a play featuring the stories of these three remarkable women who have challenged the assumptions of their day that women are viewed as incapable of advanced abstract thought.

Directed by Sandra Shuddekopf, with the three scientists portrayed by Austrian improv actress Anita Zieher and staged by Viennese theatre group portraitheater.

Tuesday 15 August. Event details

Wednesday 16 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Silvia Dropulich,, 03 9902 4513 or 0435 138 743

See Interstellar with the guy behind the visual effects—Melbourne, VIC

How do you build a black hole for the big screen? And make it convincing, entertaining and true to the science?

See the movie Interstellar—in which a team of researchers must find a way through a wormhole to a new home for humanity—and hear a short talk and Q&A with Oliver James, the Chief Scientist from Double Negative, the team responsible for bringing the science behind Interstellar to life.

Melbourne (Mornington): Wednesday 16 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Brad Tucker, 02 6125 6711 or 0433 905 777

Can science make the world’s most liveable city better?—Melbourne, VIC

Melbourne has ranked as the ‘world’s most liveable city’ for the seventh consecutive year.

What does science and research reveal about Melbourne’s future liveability?

Dr Anthony Boxshall (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientist, longtime 3RRR presenter, and Principal Fellow at University of Melbourne) will host a panel discussion of the science of Melbourne’s liveability, from air quality to train tunnels to behavior change. With panelists:

  • Walkability and healthy urbanism expert Billie Giles-Corti

Distinguished Professor, NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, Director RMIT Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform, Director Healthy Liveable Cities Group

  • Architecture guru and lead researcher at the Sagrada Familia Basilica (Barcelona) Mark Burry

Director of the Smart Cities Research Institute, Swinburne University of Technology

  • City planner Andy Fergus

Urban Designer for City of Melbourne, Melbourne School of Design, Melbourne Architours

  • Behaviour change researcher Sarah Kneebone

Research Fellow at BehaviourWorks Australia, Monash Sustainable Development Institute

Friday 18 August. Event details The event will also be livestreamed online.

Anthony Boxshall and Andrea Hinwood, Victoria’s Chief Environmental Scientist, are available for interview.

Media enquiries: John Rees, or 03 9695 2903

Gattaca: Are your genes your destiny?—Melbourne, VIC

How close is Gattaca to reality, 20 years on from its cinema release? Are we choosing the gender of our children? Are we creating designer babies? Are we profiling people with DNA?

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the sci-fi film Gattaca. This modern classic explores the consequences of genetic selection and manipulation on society through the eyes of genetically less-than-perfect Vincent (Ethan Hawke) and genetically perfect Irene (Uma Thurman).

This event is a screening of Gattaca, followed by an expert panel discussion of the science, art and ethics of the movie. Scientists are available for interview.

Friday 18 August. Event details

Media contact: Jacqueline Savard,, 02 9036 3427 or 0406 484 170

Mayan Astronomy—Emerald, VIC

What can we learn about ancient astronomy from the remains of a lost civilisation?

The Mayan Classic period (250 CE- 900CE) was the height of the arts, astronomy, architecture and urbanism for the Maya. Observations of the celestial landscape arise in sculptures, buildings, calendars, numbering, writings and all Mayan cultural expressions.

Mount Burnett Observatory and Emerald Secondary College are hosting a mini festival of astronomy, with telescopes, interactive activities for the kids and a lecture by Dr Javier Mejuto on Mayan Astronomy.

Visiting academic Dr Mejuto (Professor of Cultural Astronomy at the National Autonomous University in Honduras) will share his knowledge of Mayan Astronomy. He will focus on Copan Ruinas—a site known for outstanding architecture and symbolic language that shows the role of time and cosmos in the religion, rituals, and social ends of the Mayan people.

Friday 18 August. Event details

Dr Javier Mejuto and Dr James Murray will be available for interview.

Media enquiries: James Murray, or 0409 703 929

Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey—national

Are you a slave to your smartphone? Or have you mastered your mobile? Researchers want your help to build a deeper understanding of our relationship with our smartphones.

Take part in Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey—the online project for National Science Week.

How has having a smartphone changed your life? Has it made your life easier? Or harder? How much time do you spend on it? Does it help you connect (or disconnect) with people? And could you live without it?

The survey will run on the ABC website for two weeks from Friday 11 August. Join in by heading to the Smartphone Survey website at

Several researchers and science communicators are available for interviews.

Media enquiries: Suzannah Lyons, 03 9398 1416 or 0409 689 543

How healthy is your relationship with your smartphone?

Are you a slave to your smartphone? Or have you mastered your mobile?

Researchers want your help to build a deeper understanding of our relationship with our smartphones.

Take part in Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey—the online project for National Science Week.

How has having a smartphone changed your life?

Has it made your life easier? Or harder? How much time do you spend on it? Does it help you connect (or disconnect) with people? And could you live without it?

Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey is asking you to share how you use your smartphone and what impact this ubiquitous device is having on your life.

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Dozens of stories and interesting people at 190+ Science Week events in SA

Science for ageing gracefully; cab sav chemistry; dinosaurs amongst us; and more

  • Who will win SA’s top science awards? And who are the unsung heroes?
  • Fighting cancer, virtual reality, and light and colour at our newest festival Big Science Adelaide.
  • What gives wine its colour, flavour and texture? Ask a wine scientist (yes, that’s a profession!).
  • Young scientists have healthy insights for seniors, from dementia to active ageing to hip replacements.
  • Are quotas the answer for women in science? Ask them.
  • Bioprospecting, climate change, and the rise of China: why should we care about Antarctic research?
  • Battle of the brains: who is the best, brightest and funniest physicist?
  • Ask the singing palaeontologist about dancing with the ‘dinosaurs amongst us’.
  • See a mobile astronomy observatory on wheels in Port Augusta.
  • The megafauna fossils of Naracoorte Caves.
  • Do you have a healthy relationship with your smartphone?

More on these highlights below, and others at, and on Twitter at @SciWkMedia.

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Modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought

New dating of ancient human teeth discovered in a Sumatran cave site suggests modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The international research led by Dr Kira Westaway from Macquarie University and published in Nature, has pushed back the timing of when humans first left Africa, their arrival in Southeast Asia, and the first time they lived in rainforests.

This evidence of humans living in the Sumatra rainforest more than 63,000 years ago, also suggests they could have made the crossing to the Australian continent even earlier than the accepted 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.

Other Australian universities involved in the research included the Australian National University, the University of Queensland, the University of Wollongong, Griffith University and Southern Cross University.

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National Science Week 2017 showcases key importance of science to the community

Press release from: Senator The Hon Arthur Sinodinous AO, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science and Senator for NSW

National Science Week, which I am delighted to launch today, provides a valuable opportunity for all Australians to meet scientists, discuss hot topics, do science and celebrate its discoveries and impact on our society.

This is the 20th anniversary of National Science Week and it will be held from 12-20 August.

It has become one of Australia’s biggest festivals with 1.3 million people expected to participate in more than 2000 events, including hands-on and online activities and competitions from the Tiwi Islands to Antarctica and Christmas Island to Cape York.
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Bumper program of National Science Week events to inspire families about wonders of STEM

Media release posted on behalf of the New South Wales National Science Week Coordinating Committee and the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist

10 August 2017

Communities across New South Wales will have their eyes opened to the wonders of science and technology through a packed program of National Science Week events.

Close to 600 fun and family-friendly events will be hosted by universities, museums and research organisations across the state as part of the annual celebration of science, technology and innovation.

National Science Week, now in its 21st year, provides an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of Australian scientists to the world of knowledge.

NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, Mary O’Kane, says it also seeks to foster a love of science in young Australians.

“National Science Week is a chance not only to celebrate really great achievements and advances in science; but also to stir our next generation of science minds,” Professor O’Kane said.

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Dozens of stories and interesting people at 300+ Science Week events in WA

Neuroscience meets music; Indigenous engineers; the maths of primordial soup; and more

  • From suspended schoolboy to educational pioneer: 17-year-old innovator and 2014 Australian Young Innovator of the Year Taj Pabari, in WA for the Perth Science Festival
  • Western Australians to find out what’s lurking in their pantry
  • Are your genes your destiny? How close is Gattaca to reality, 20 years on?
  • Great Southern Science to be showcased at one-day conference in Albany
  • Who will be WA’s Scientist of the Year? Find out Monday 14 August
  • A prospective Martian—Mars One candidate Josh Richards launches his new book, following his quest to become a Martian
  • Bush tucker and behind-the-scenes tour of BoM in Geraldton
  • Scientist and mathematician Dr Rowena Ball on the origins of life, in Geraldton
  • Mock drug lab, blood and gore, solving crimes, making ice-cream, and bring your own soil sample to the ChemCentre Open Day in Bentley
  • What role did WA play in the discovery of gravitational waves? Plus… Galileo, blackholes and more in Gingin
  • Stories of Indigenous engineers in Kalgoorlie
  • Do you have a healthy relationship with your smartphone?
  • And science festivals in Perth, Geraldton, Albany, Gingin and Kalgoorlie.

More on these highlights below, and others at, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

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Dozens of stories and interesting people at 260+ Science Week events in Queensland

Scientists in the shopping mall; the science behind the energy crisis; forensic facial reconstruction; and more


  • Remarkable science careers: TV presenting, engineering sports tech, immunology with worms, and putting parasites in a book for kids
  • Are batteries the answer for keeping the lights on? What’s Australia’s energy crisis all about? Find out at the Big Picture Energy talks
  • Commonwealth Games sports science, medical science and making slime at Westfield
  • Meet the curators, and a science sleepover at Queensland Museum
  • The science of fireworks with the Brisbane Broncos
  • Meet the ‘farmer robot’ at Street Science at EKKA
  • Battle of the brains: who is the funniest physicist?
  • Find out how facial forensic reconstruction works from the scientist whose work helped identify a Belanglo victim—also in Toowoomba

Regional Queensland

  • Microbes cleaning up mine sites, how the land effects the Reef, and an ancient fanged kangaroo—talk with science’s female rising stars, touring Cairns, Cloncurry, Mt Isa, and more
  • New MacDonald has a drone: how science is shaping rural futures—Charters Towers
  • Art-science experiences in the tropics at Cairns

Everywhere: do you have a healthy relationship with your smartphone?

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Perth Science Festival coming, rain or shine

Media release posted on behalf of the Western Australian National Science Week Coordinating Committee

Perth Science Festival moves to the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre. Rain or shine, we’ll see you there with explosive shows, hands-on experiments, native animals and more!

Perth Science Festival is set to kick off National Science Week in Western Australia, with a free family-friendly event in a new indoor venue at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Wander the stalls exploring Future Earth or cuddle up to native animals, then hear from inspirational speakers or jump on a fact-finding tour through art and video games.

With more than 70 different stallholders and shows across the weekend, there will be something for everyone!

Discover augmented reality and sample edible bugs in Scitech’s Future Earth zone, power your own city with Western Power, explore space with Gravity Discovery Centre and Perth Observatory, cuddle up to native animals with Kanyana Wildlife, WA Reptile Park, and Native ARC, and much more.

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Tasmania’s National Science Week Launch

Media release posted on behalf of the Tasmanian National Science Week Coordinating Committee

National Science Week Launch: 10am, Friday 11 August

The Hon Michael Ferguson will be joined by an array of esteemed Tasmanians to launch National Science Week in Tasmania and formally open the 2017 Tasmanian STEM Excellence Awards at the Festival of Bright Ideas (FoBI) schools day.

Joining the minister will be:

  • Dr Stephanie Downes, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Centre (ACE CRC).
  • Andy Baird, Chair of the Tasmanian National Science Week Coordinating Committee and Deputy Director of Engagement at Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
  • Jeremy Just, explosive live science performer

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570 Science Week events in NSW New South Wales launches National Science Week with NASA’s mission to Mars; boozy botany; the chemistry of life and death and more

8 August 2017, launch at 8.30am at Australian Museum

1 William Street, Sydney. Please enter via Crystal Hall, corner of William and College Streets

With NSW Chief Scientist Mary O’Kane, Australian Museum Executive Director and CEO Kim McKay molecular biology guru Merlin Crossley, Winny the Muttaburrasaurus, and students from Chifley Public School, animals and experiments.

Contact: Claire Vince on, or 0468 726 910.

Statewide highlights include

  • Can parasitic worms halt MS? Or honey fight superbugs?
  • Sporty science at the Innovation Games
  • The botany of brewing
  • The chemistry of the smell of death, with a modern-day Sherlock
  • Chemistry saving lives and creating jobs
  • Greenhouse or madhouse? What’s holding back climate action?
  • Dinosaurs invade the Blue Mountains, and more…

And more than 570 other events across the state.

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Future Earth, life on Mars, and a gallery full of bloody science

August a prime time to talk innovation and science—National Science Week kicks off 12 August

It’s time to plan your coverage of over 1,800 events across Australia for National Science Week from 12-20 August.

We have national touring speakers, and local events everywhere from the Tiwi Islands to Hobart:

  • the man behind the visual effects of Interstellar: Oliver James in Canberra and Melbourne
  • US science writer Dava Sobel, author of books The Glass Universe and Longitude in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Bendigo
  • the 17-year-old inventor of a build-it-yourself tablet, Taj Pabari—in Perth, Darwin and Brisbane
  • Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey—ABC’s national project
  • Australia joins the global Moonhack world record attempt for the most kids coding—national
  • Canadian astronaut and ‘Space Oddity’ Chris Hadfield coming to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne
  • Innovating Energy Summit: Powering Australia’s Future at Parliament House in Canberra
  • art meets science in ‘Blood’, the first exhibition of the new Science Gallery Melbourne
  • Future Earth science lessons in schools; science-themed Brain Break morning teas in workplaces

1,800 events across Australia during National Science Week, with more registered each day, including: [click to continue…]

Wine science, outer-space, hackerspaces, the scent of death, and are you a slave to your smartphone?

A taste of some of the 1,800+ National Science Week events and activities around the country.

  • What’s your relationship with your phone? (national)
  • Is your future written in your genes? (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth)
  • NASA scientists and potential Martians on the Red Planet (NSW)
  • Science Gallery International’s bloody Australian debut (VIC)
  • Hunting pests in pantries (WA and SA)
  • Plus many more

International guests

  • Canadian astronaut and ‘Space Oddity’ Chris Hadfield
  • The man behind the visual effects of the movie Interstellar Oliver James
  • US science writer Dava Sobel, author of The Glass Universe, revealing more hidden figures from the history of astronomy
  • English physicist, writer and broadcaster Paul Davies

Local science stars

  • Katie Mack—the astrophysicist J K Rowling follows—will be the Women in Physics Touring Lecturer, before heading back to America in 2018
  • Astrophysicist and science communicator Alan Duffy, Mamamia’s ‘hot astronomer
  • Lee Constable—Steminist, host of Network Ten’s science show SCOPE, and the brains behind Co-Lab: Science Meets Street Art
  • 17-year-old inventor, social entrepreneur and educational pioneer Taj Pabari, who developed a build-it-yourself tablet and creativity kit for kids
  • Forensic chemist and modern-day Sherlock Holmes Shari Forbes, who uses a ‘farm’ of buried bodies to study the smell of death and decay
  • Comedian, science communicator and Mars One candidate Josh Richards

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What fly guts could reveal about our health

Diet choice, reproduction of fruit flies affected by gut bacteria

Two Macquarie researchers are co-authors on a pair of intriguing papers about fruit fly gut bacteria.

The two new studies reveal that the gut bacteria composition of the common fruit fly affects consumption as well as reproductive behaviour.

The discoveries provide an exciting illustration into how of how microbes can influence the behaviour of host animals, which could be important for understanding gut microbiota and cognitive function in humans in the future.

Dr Fleur Ponton, is the last author on both studies and is based at Macquarie University’s Department of Biological Sciences.

“Beyond the biomedical significance of this research, there are potential interesting applications in the context of invasive and pest species control,” she says.

Macquarie University has a long history in pest control and hosts the Australian Research Council Centre for Fruit Fly Biosecurity Innovation.

The papers were co-authored by researchers from Macquarie University’s Department of Biological Sciences and the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and report that that the gut microbiota of the common fruit fly has a significant effect on their foraging behaviour and reproductive success, and that its influence can be carried down to the next generation.

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Better batteries for electric cars; smartphone testing for diseases & clean water; Nobel Laureate who transformed fuels, plastic and drugs; and more

Thursday 27 July 2017, at the RACI Centenary Chemistry Congress, Melbourne Convention Centre

Today at the Centenary Chemistry Congress

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The inventor of the nanocar; the man who unboiled an egg is now unfolding a $160 billion industry; confusing insects so they can’t mate; and more

Wednesday, 26 July 2017, at the RACI Centenary Chemistry Congress, Melbourne Convention Centre

Today at the Centenary Chemistry Congress

From a molecular motor to the nanocar and beyond: 2016 chemistry Nobel Prize recipient Ben Feringa is speaking in Melbourne and available for interview today and Thursday. More below.

The man who unboiled an egg: Colin Raston won an IgNobel Prize in 2015 for unboiling an egg. Now he and his team are taking the technology to market. And it’s set to transform the $160 protein folding industry. More below.

A pheromone-based alternative to insecticides; and cleaner, greener household products: Frances Arnold is confusing insects so they can’t mate (a bit like spraying bad perfume). And James Clark wants to take the fossil fuels out of solvents used in paint and cleaning products. More below.

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Chemical terrorism a stark reality; periodic table on a hair; how water and CO2 can replace toxic solvents; wood waste into green chemistry; and more

Tuesday, 25 July 2017, at the RACI Centenary Chemistry Congress, Melbourne Convention Centre

Nobel Peace Prize winner on eliminating chemical weapons

While the threat of countries using chemical weapons has diminished, “chemical terrorism is no longer a theoretical proposition or even imminent threat, but a stark reality,” according to His Excellency Mr Ahmet Üzümcü.

Winner of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, Mr Üzümcü is the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

In 2013, the OPCW along with the United Nations and 30 partner countries participated in an operation to remove all the chemical weapons declared by the Syrian Arab Republic.

Since then, the OPCW has remained engaged in Syria through an ongoing fact-finding mission to establish whether chemical weapons have been used in Syria.

They’re also keeping a close eye on North Korea, one of only four countries who haven’t yet joined the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international treaty outlawing the production, stockpiling or use of chemical weapons. The treaty came into force 20 years ago.

Limited availability for interviews – talk is at 2.30pm.

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Business can solve today’s intractable challenges says Dow CEO Andrew Liveris, but Australia is falling behind

Business can help make the world a better place by driving the solutions to problems like climate change, food security and rising energy demand.

“I firmly believe that the companies who will lead the 21st century will be the ones that invent solutions to these mounting global challenges,” said Andrew Liveris, speaking last night at the RACI Centenary Chemistry Congress.

For Dow that’s meant developing a paint that removes toxic formaldehyde from the air, innovative packaging technologies that reduce food waste, and new methods of desalination that allow us to put more of the planet’s water to use.

Last year the company was awarded 754 US patents – eight times the number they were getting a decade ago.

“More and more companies are seeing that we can do well by doing good,” Andrew said.

But we also need governments to set smart regulatory and policy frameworks that enable innovation to flourish, and that’s not happening enough in Australia he said.

According to the World Economic Forum, Australia ranks 25th in the world when it comes to “business capacity for innovation”. And we’re also falling behind in our competitiveness in teaching young people maths and science.

Andrew says our quality of life will go backwards “if all we are is a farm, a hotel and a quarry”.

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