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

Media releases, National Science Week

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 www.scienceinpublic.com.au/science-week, and on Twitter at @SciWkMedia.

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

Plus, SA National Science Week launch at the Science Excellence Awards – 7pm, 11 August 2017, Adelaide Convention Centre

Science Week in SA kicks off at the 2017 South Australian Science Excellence Awards with:

  • Dr Jordan Nguyen, a biomedical engineer, inventor and TV presenter
  • 2016 SA Scientist of the Year, ancient DNA researcher Prof Alan Cooper
  • SA Chief Scientist and Patron of National Science Week SA Dr Leanna Read
  • Minister for Science and Information Economy, the Hon Kyam Maher

Thirty finalists are in the running for nine awards, recognising the state’s top scientists, PhD students, educators, collaborations, industry professionals, and unsung science communication heroes.

7pm, Friday 11 August, Adelaide Convention Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide Event details

Media enquiries: Sarah Treasure, sarah.treasure@sa.gov.au, 08 8207 8778 or 0424 952 098.

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.

National Science Week 2017 will run from 12 – 20 August. Event details at www.scienceweek.net.au.

More about the event highlights

Fighting cancer; science on the big screen; university and museum open days; and an innovation lab in a library at Big Science Adelaide

2017 sees the inaugural Big Science Adelaide—a new festival of big issues, brilliant minds, great sights and top science, right in the heart of Adelaide.

Events include:

Saturday 12 – Sunday 20 August Event details

SA Chief Scientist and Patron of National Science Week SA Dr Leanna Read and SA National Science Week Coordinating Committee Chair Rona Sakko are available for interviews.

Media enquiries: Rona Sakko ronadel@dodo.com.au or 0419 827 723

The Complete Wine Science Spectrum—North Adelaide

Like a good red wine? Prefer white? How about orange? Wine colour can reveal more about the chemistry and biology of wine than just its appearance.

Australian Wine Research Institute scientists can tell you more.

Jacqui McRae knows the proteins that give white wine a haze and how tannins influence red wine texture. Simon Dillon can tell you how living yeast turns grape juice into wine.

Find out the origins of wine colour in Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc and discover how colour can make a Cabernet Sauvignon meatier than a Chardonnay. Find out why orange wine is the new rosé. Maybe you just want to know what the colour of an aged wine means for flavour and texture.

An evening of activities, myth-busting, information… and wine tasting.

Tuesday 15 August. Event details

Wine scientists are available for interviews.

Media enquiries: Ella Robinson, ella.robinson@awri.com.au or 08 8313 6600.

Young scientists Present Health Science for Seniors—Hove

Young scientists have some healthy advice for senior (50+) Australians on a range of healthy ageing topics, including:

  • Dr Ashleigh Smith—getting active for a healthy body and brain into old age
  • Bradley Simpson—what can we learn from Indigenous knowledge about bush medicines, health and wellbeing?
  • Dr Laura Weyrich—how your body’s resident bacteria help keep you healthy
  • Dr Hannah Keage—how to prevent late-life dementia
  • Dr Carol Maher—exercise and healthy ageing
  • Dr Dominic Thewlis—the lowdown on hip and knee replacements

Science for Seniors is a new initiative to provide a series of engaging and interesting seminars on current research on health and ageing for seniors (50+) in the local community.

Tuesday 15 August. Event details

Thursday 17 August. Event details

Media and event enquiries: Sarah Bray, Sarah.Bray@sa.gov.au or 0410 498 122

Is a quota system the best way to promote more women in STEM? Let’s hear from them—Flinders University, Bedford Park

What do established female research leaders and PhD students starting their careers think about the gender equity debate? What do they think about proposals to promote women in science and academia by using a quota system?

Discussing their thoughts are four professors: microbiologist Melissa Brown, forensic and analytical chemist Claire Lenehan, biomedical engineer Karen Reynolds, and ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) and vision scientist Justine Smith.

They’re joined by PhD students Jessica Buss, Shee Chee Ong, Olivia Davies, and Sarah Marshall.

Moderated by Prof David Day, Former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Flinders University.

Friday 18 August. Event details

Event enquiries: Maria Parappilly, stemwomen@flinders.edu.au or 08 8201 5842

Re-imagining Antarctic Science – the Role of History, Law and Politics—University of Adelaide

Why should we care about science in the Antarctic? Is the Antarctic something to be protected or exploited?

A multinational group of experts from different disciplines—historian, biologist and social scientists —discuss current challenges and the future of Antarctic science, with talks and Q&A sessions:

  • South Australia’s historic scientific connections to Antarctica: Mark Pharaoh, Senior Collections Manager, Mawson Centre, South Australian Museum
  • Antarctic biodiversity has been shaped by past environmental change and extremes, but what is its future?: Dr Ceridwen Fraser, Senior Lecturer, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University / ACT Scientist of the Year 2016
  • Antarctic bioprospecting, a developing country perspective: Prof Carina Oliveria, Faculty of Law, University of Brasilia, Brazil
  • Antarctic bioprospecting, a developed country perspective: Associate Prof David Leary, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney
  • The rise of China and Antarctic science: Dr Nengye Liu, Senior Lecturer, Adelaide Law School, University of Adelaide

Tuesday 15 August. Event details

Media and event enquiries: Nengye Liu, nengye.liu@adelaide.edu.au or 08 8313 4448,

Who is the Funniest Physicist? Battle of the Brains—Adelaide

Who is Adelaide’s best, brightest and funniest physicist? Science meets Spick ‘n’ Specks at this panel event, hosted by physicist and science communicator Dr Andrew Stephenson.

  • physicist and electrical engineer, who doesn’t have an identity crisis, Prof Derek Abbott;
  • nuclear and medical physicist, and mad AFL supporter Prof Eva Bezak;
  • computational physicist, lapsed pianist, and novice Dungeon Master Alex Chambers;
  • physicist ordinaire specialising in applications of relativity and elbow patches Dr Sam Drake;
  • particle flavour physicist, indie game developer, and offbeat fashion fan Sophie Hollitt;
  • particle astrophysicist, Large Hadron Collider expert and Scandinavian indie-pop record producer Dr Martin White.

Wednesday 16 August. Event details

Media and event enquiries: Andrew Stephenson, info@thesciencenation.com or 0421 400 688,

The Singing Palaeontologist and the Dinosaurs Amongst Us—Adelaide, SA

The singing palaeontologist Professor Flint and Australian Classical Youth Ballet performers tell the story of how some dinosaurs survived extinction… sort of.

‘Dinosaurs Amongst Us’ follows the evolution of birds from a particular group of dinosaurs, and explores how it is we know what we know. It’s a roving performance throughout the beautiful surrounds and prehistoric plants of the Adelaide Botanic Garden.

Saturday 12 August. Event details

Media and event enquiries: Michael Mills, michael@heapsgood.com.au or 0411 287 381,

Naracoorte Caves Connection: fossils, world heritage & more—Naracoorte

Children will be able to experience four different activities which will explore our linkages to the past and develop an understanding of the value of world heritage.

Interactive activities will unlock the mysteries of the universe, day and night, seasons and phases of the moon and the importance of biodiversity.

Tuesday 22 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Sally Klose, council@nlc.sa.gov.au

Public Outreach Astronomy—Port Augusta

Southern Cross Outreach Observatory Project is a mobile astronomical observatory. It is a community science project aimed to promote astronomy among communities in Australia. This mobile observatory is designed to travel far and wide, and is equipped with computerised telescopes for solar viewing and night-time astronomy.

In August 2017, Southern Cross Outreach Observatory Project will travel to Mildura, Broken Hill, and Port Augusta to carry out public outreach astronomy events during National Science Week.

Saturday 19 August. Event details

Event enquiries: Muhammad Akbar Hussain, akbar260@yahoo.com or 0478 144 483

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 www.smartphonesurvey.net.au.

Several researchers and science communicators are available for interviews.

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