Dozens of stories and interesting people at 280+ Science Week events in WA

Media releases, National Science Week

Launch tonight 5.30pm, with dancer and engineer turned science champion. Plus events around the state:

  • Can dance help disadvantaged girls to engage with science? Visiting US dancer and algebra teacher says yes!
  • What’s the weather like on Mars, and are there habitable planets outside our solar system? Meet NASA scientists and planet hunters
  • How to make yourself sick and win a Nobel Prize—Barry Marshall Skypes into Geraldton
  • Counting minibeasts: it’s census time for Perth’s bugs and slugs
  • What are the science-related future career and business opportunities for rural areas?
  • Science and recipes for feeding yourself and your gut flora
  • Hear the sounds of the Universe and songs of Indigenous astronomy
  • Help build a better picture of the Great Barrier Reef’s health, without getting your feet wet
  • And science festivals in Perth, Geraldton, Shark Bay and Gingin.

More on these highlights below, and others at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/science-week, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

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

Tanya Ha: tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863
Niall Byrne: niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0417 131 977

Plus, WA National Science Week launch—5.30pm Thursday 9 August

Can dance help disadvantaged girls to engage in STEM and become the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technologists? This year, National Science Week launches at a special event with international guest speaker US-based Yamilée Toussaint, the CEO and Founder of STEM from Dance.

The launch will also feature Minister for Science the Hon. Minister Dave Kelly, a performance by contemporary dance company Co3, and six ‘tasters’ previewing some of WA’s Science Week highlights.

Where: Subiaco Arts Centre, 180 Hammersley Road, Subiaco, WA 6008. Event details

Media contact: Susan Kreemer Pickford, SKreemerPickford@engineersaustralia.org.au or 0416 035 997

About National Science Week

National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw 1.2 million people participate in more than 2,100 events and activities.

In 2018, National Science Week celebrates its 21st birthday, with events held throughout Australia—from Corals in the Outback in western Queensland to TAStroFest astronomy in the Apple Isle, and from STEM meets dance in Perth to The Innovation Games at Sydney Olympic Park —with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

National Science Week 2018 will run from 11 to 19 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au, public event listings at www.scienceweek.net.au.

National Science Week in WA: event highlights

Perth Science Festival—Claremont

Trash-talking eco faeries, trapdoor spiders, Trekkies, backyard biology, astronomy, carnivorous plants, and big and bubbly science shows are on at the Claremont Showgrounds. Perth Science Festival has over 60 interactive stalls, explosive experiments, native animals, science theatre, roving performers, and more.

Join scientists and science-enthusiasts from Scitech, ASTRO 3D, ChemCentre, Bush Heritage Australia, Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, and WA’s universities and research institutions for two days of fun and informative science.

Saturday 18 to Sunday 19 August Event details

Media enquiries: Taylor Bartels, taylor.bartels@scitech.org.au or 08 9215 0702

Teaching STEM… through dance!— Mandurah

Can dance help disadvantaged girls to engage in STEM and become the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technologists? US dancer and algebra teacher Yamilée Toussaint says it can. She’s the Founder and CEO of STEM From Dance.

Yamilée has personally experienced the benefits of a STEM education and dance. After studying mechanical engineering at MIT and being an avid dancer for 21 years, she switched gears to teach high school algebra in an under-served community in East New York, Brooklyn through Teach For America.

Yamilée is the keynote speaker at the WA launch of National Science Week. While in Australia, she will also speak at the Curtain University’s ‘Moving to Learn’ event and present a two-hour science-meets-dance workshop for people aged 15-25 who live in the Peel region.

Workshop: Sunday 12 August. Event details

Moving to Learn: Monday 13 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Emmaline Yearsley, emmaline.yearsley@scitech.org.au, 08 9215 0739 or 0407 809 508

Walbrininy: Sounds of the Universe, Past and Present—Gingin, WA

The science of gravity and cosmology will be explored through film, live music and Indigenous storytelling at the Gravity Discovery Centre and Observatory in Gingin, WA.

‘Walbrininy’ is a new original musical production, bringing together gravitational research, sci-fi film sequences, live music, Aboriginal Astronomy and Indigenous storytelling.

In the Noongar language the concept of ‘walbrininy’ means total wellbeing, all encompassing, everything connected and right. In the show Walbrininy is reimagined as a fictional planet, existing 130 million years ago, in a far flung galaxy, bound by the harmonic gravitational pull of two spiralling neutron stars. This immersive science and art experience dramatises how Earth-bound scientists are now ‘listening to the Universe’.

Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Tracy Routledge, tracy@trpr.com.au or 0412 223 221

Meet the NASA scientists and planet hunters—Perth

NASA scientists are headed to Australia, bringing Saturn to Sydney, new planets to Perth, and more.

What have we learnt from the hundreds of planets discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope? How will the information beamed back to Earth continue to advance science once Kepler runs out of fuel this year? Will we find more worlds outside our solar system? Are we alone in the Universe?

What did we learn from the Cassini spacecraft’s 13 years with Saturn before its ‘death dive’ into the atmosphere? What’s the weather like on Mars? Ask NASA scientists.

Alex Kling studies the atmospheres of planets, from gas giants to the weird weather on Mars. Megan Shabram is an astrophysicist working on the Kepler Mission’s search for worlds outside our solar system. She is researching how exoplanet systems form.

Alex and Megan will be in Perth as part of a series of events hosted by Australian National University Mt Stromlo Observatory astrophysicist Brad Tucker.

Thursday 16 August. Event detail

Friday 17 August. Event details

Saturday 18 August at Living Universe screening. Event details

Media enquiries: Brad Tucker, brad@mso.anu.edu.au, 02 6125 6711 or 0433 905 777

Astrophotography, eco-houses and Skyping a Nobel Laureate at The Goodness Festival—Geraldton

Barry Marshall famously gave himself a stomach ulcer and treated it with antibiotics. Together with pathologist Robin Warren, he showed that bacteria cause peptic ulcers. They won a Nobel Prize for their efforts.

Inspired by his experiences, Barry has co-written the new children’s ‘How to Win a Nobel Prize’. He’s sharing the story with students at John Willcock College Library in a Skype Q&A session. It’s part of The Goodness: Science, Sustainability and Innovation Festival.

Science improv comedy, Astrofest astrophotography exhibition and workshop, wildflower bus tour, the secret spaces of the Bureau of Meteorology’s Geraldton weather station, sustainable house tours, and more are on the program for The Goodness Festival. The Goodness Festival is mid-West WA’s annual science and environment festival, held across nine days in Greater Geraldton.

Saturday 11 to Sunday 19 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Emma Jackson, 0468 469 720

Southern Skies: one sky, many stories—Midland

What do the stars mean to you? Explore Australia’s night skies through music, astronomy and Indigenous science.

The Griffyn Ensemble—bringing together director Michael Sollis, Indigenous song writer Warren H Williams, and Astronomer Fred Watson—has been collecting stories and exploring Western and Indigenous Astronomy through the medium of music.

This collaboration began with The Griffyn Ensemble’s Southern Sky—a piece of music written by Estonian composer Urmas Sisask tracing the constellations that can be seen from Australia. The project recently travelled to Tennant Creek, where community members contributed their own stories, played to a soundtrack of songs written by Warren.

The result is One Sky, Many Stories, reworking Southern Sky alongside the new songs and stories. These performances bring together Western and Indigenous understandings of the night sky, told through music and the spoken word.

Wednesday 15 August. Event details Midland, WA

Media enquiries: Michael Sollis, sollis@tpg.com.au or 0411 113 769

Minibeasts in MyCity: Perth’s insect census—Western Australian Museum

Is that a friendly bee in your garden, pollinating your fruit tree? Can you tell if that’s a cicada singing or is it something else?

Minibeasts in MyCity is a new Perth science project that will deputise local citizens to join the effort to map biodiversity, help protect our food and environment, and contribute to better designed cities the world over. People can spot and report invertebrates using the MyPestGuide™ Reporter app in a campaign that is focused on biodiversity and urban ecology. People can report minibeasts in their suburbs or at special sites and activities in the City of Perth, where that information will help the city develop its biodiversity framework.

The initiative also allows people to hear from local expert entomologists and Aboriginal people, and includes public talks and displays on biodiversity, taxonomy, urban design, community gardening, and ‘junior curator’ workshops.

Saturday 4 to Sunday 19 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Simon Carroll, simon.carroll@museum.wa.gov.au or 0409 943 185

Networking women and girls in science: The Innovators’ Tea Party—Perth

The Innovators’ Tea Party links successful women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with high school students in engaging speed-networking events. The events are once-off mentoring opportunities that connect passionate and diverse women working in STEM with high-school students looking for more information about career opportunities, career pathways and positive STEM role models.

Saturday 11 and Saturday 18 August Event details

Media enquiries: Tara Broadhurst, tara.broadhurst@innovatorsteaparty.org or 0420 980 647

Eight Cool Ways Science Benefits Rural Communities– Collie

What’s the use of science outside the city? What are the red-hot future career and business opportunities for rural communities? Are they in water, forestry, land rehabilitation, agriculture, health, energy, the arts, or technology? Maybe it will be a wild card?

Discussions and interactive events in Collie, WA, will profile eight ways that science benefits rural communities—from mine rehabilitation to improving agricultural productivity. This will include exploring how our first peoples have contributed to modern science, and will involve people from research, industry, business, and government.

Thursday 16 August Event details

Event enquiries: Kerry Anderson, ongcollie@gmail.com or 0418 553 719

Scitech, solar science and sustainable homes: expo on the Canning—Wilson

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Celebration of Science Community Expo, held on the banks of Canning River.

This year’s event features Gardening Australia presenter Josh Byrne talking about ‘Josh’s House’—the eco-living and housing research lab he calls home. The program has more than 40 activities, including rock bands, solar science, Scitech shows, native animal encounters, Aboriginal presenters, waste as a resource, bug science, a recycled wood workshop, native plant give-aways, interactive displays, hands-on demonstrations, presentations and an open speakers forum.

Sunday 19 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Amy Krupa, info@aaeewa.org.au or 040747054

Recipes for a healthy gut: talk and cooking demo—Wannaroo

Eating your vegetables and whole grains is good for your health… and that of the trillions of bacteria that live in your gut, part of your microbiome.

Having a healthy gut microbiome can reduce the chances of developing a variety of diseases, such as obesity, non-alcoholic liver disease and even certain types of cancer. But a healthy diet is important for both you and your gut flora.

Nutrition researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU) will present a series of sessions for National Science Week in Wanneroo’s libraries that are part science talk and part cooking class.

These events will present the science of why plant-based foods—rich in fibre and resistant starch—are essential to feed the gut microbiome, and share recipes from ECU’s Gut Feeling cookbook.

Thursday 23 to Thursday 30 August. Event details

Media enquiries: David Gear, d.gear@ecu.edu.au or 08 6304 2288

ECU nutrition researchers Amanda Devine and Jo Rees are available for interviews.

Virtual Reef Diver: dive into your computer screen to help scientists—national

Dive online to help the Great Barrier Reef this Science Week—and you could win a GoPro camera!

The ABC’s citizen science project Virtual Reef Diver is celebrating the International Year of the Reef, inviting people to dive through their computer screens into the Great Barrier Reef.

They will review and classify underwater images of the Reef to help scientists identify areas of sand, coral and algae to help build a better picture of coral cover. This work will allow scientists and reef managers to make critical decisions to ensure that the Reef has a future.

The project has been developed by the Queensland University of Technology, in collaboration with a host of scientific and community organisations.

Monday 6 to Friday 31 August. www.virtualreef.org.au

Several researchers, divers and science communicators are available for interviews. Read the full media release.

Media enquiries: Suzannah Lyons suzannah@scienceinpublic.com.au, 03 9398 1416, 0409 689 543