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

Media releases, National Science Week

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

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

Plus, WA National Science Week launch— 6pm 10 August 2017

The Perth Symphony Orchestra will launch National Science Week in WA with a symphonic showcase of how music impacts your brain. With the WA Minister for Science, The Hon. Dave Kelly MLA.

6pm Thursday 10 August at the McCusker Auditorium, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research 6 Verdun Street, Nedlands. Event details

Launch media contact: Carmen Smith, carmen.smith@scitech.org.au or 08 9215 0739

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

Innovators, Future Earth, and dive inside a plant cell at Perth Science Festival—Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre

Worms, wormholes, small sustainable homes, and big, bubbley science shows are on at the Perth Cultural Centre. Perth Science Festival has more than 40 interactive stalls, explosive experiments, native animals, science theatre, and more.

This year’s event brings special guest 17-year-old inventor, social entrepreneur and educational pioneer Taj Pabari to WA.

2017 also features Scitech’s Future Earth-themed marquee, where families can explore future housing, future food and future lifestyles. Get creative with a gigantic colouring wall, sample exotic future food, and see how algae can fuel the future.

Saturday 12 to Sunday 13 August. Event details

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

Is there an evil weevil lurking in your pantry?—state-wide

What potential pests are hiding in your pantry? The WA Department of Agriculture and Food wants your help to protect our food, environment and livelihoods from damaging pests by taking part in Pantry Blitz.

Observe what’s in your household pantry and report what you see. For example, did a sweet potato weevil hitch a ride in a bag of produce? They can ruin sweet potato crops.

Participants will place a pantry trap in their pantry for one month and use free reporting tools to send insect reports for identification. The findings will be published on the Pantry Blitz webpage.

Saturday 12 August to Saturday 9 September. Initiative details

Media enquiries: Dionne Tindale, dionne.tindale@agric.wa.gov.au or 08 9368 3208

Gattaca: Are your genes your destiny?—Perth

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).

A series of film nights will screen Gattaca, followed by an expert panel discussion of the science, art and ethics of the movie. Scientists are available for interview.

Saturday 12 August. Event details

Media contact: Jacqueline Savard, Jacqueline.savard@sydney.edu.au, 02 9036 3427 or 0406 484 170

Great Southern Great Science Symposium 2017—Albany

This annual conference will bring together researchers from the southern region who are working on nationally significant science, including agriculture, anthropology, marine science, energy, medicine and health, environmental science, natural resource management, soil science, geology, aquatic ecology and more.

Friday 11 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Liz Tanner, projectofficer@greatsouthernsciencecouncil.org.au or 0422 625 717

2017 WA Premier’s Science Awards Ceremony—West Perth

Who will win the Western Australian Premier’s Science Awards? Nineteen finalists are in the running for Scientist, Early Career Scientist, Student Scientist and Science Engagement Initiative of the Year.

The finalists have contributed to better treatments for cancer and other diseases, biodiversity preservation, advancements in the mineral and energy sectors, and discoveries about the origins of life on Earth and the beginnings of the Universe.

Monday 14 August. Event details

Media enquiries: A media statement will be issued on the night of 14 August 2017. Departmental media contact Natalie Warnock, natalie.warnock@jtsi.wa.gov.au, 08 9222 0515 or 0400 812 869

Becoming Martian: talk and book launch—Bentley

How will our bodies adapt to life in 38 per cent gravity? How will having no hope of return to Earth affect the colonists’ minds? How will becoming a dual-planet species forever change how we see ourselves and our place in the Universe?

Physicist and comedian Josh Richards wants a one-way ticket to Mars. He’s a candidate astronaut for the Mars One mission.

His new book Becoming Martian give a humourous and informative account of his journey so far.

Tuesday 15 August. Event details

Media and event enquiries: Josh Richards, josh.d.richards@gmail.com or 0481 303 457

Goodness Science, Sustainability and Innovation Festival—Geraldton

A science improv comedy jam, permaculture and bush tucker, tours of the Bureau of Meteorology’s secret spaces, water wise gardening, the Ministery of Data Hackathon and more across nine days in Greater Geralton.

Saturday 12 – Sunday 20 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Brendan Penzer, brendanp@guc.edu.au or 08 9920 4400

The origins of life with Dr Rowena Ball—Geraldton

Scientist and mathematician Dr Rowena Ball from the Australian National University in Canberra understands the stuff that fuelled life out of the Primordial Soup on planet Earth. She is coming to Geraldton to share her story of how she became an expert on the origins of life and a passionate advocate for Indigenous scientific and engineering heritage and knowledge.

Friday 18 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Brendan Penzer, brendanp@guc.edu.au or 08 9920 4400

ChemCentre Open Day 2017—Bentley

Yellow hazmat suits, a mock clandestine drug lab, blood and gore toxicology solving crimes, soil testing (bring a sample from your backyard), foam and fire science shows, demonstrations, experiments, forensic lab tours, and liquid nitrogen ice-cream—it’s all part of the ChemCentre Open Day.

Saturday 19 August. Event details

Several scientists available for interviews.

Media enquiries: Katie Eales, keales@chemcentre.wa.gov.au, 08 9422 9828, or 0408 945 084

Blackholes, Galileo, and gravitational waves at Gingin Science Festival—Yeal

What role did Australia play in the discovery of gravitational waves? And why is WA the place to be for astronomy research?

Join Australian International Gravitational Observatory researcher David Blair, Gravity Discovery Centre Head Astronomer Rick Tonello, and UWA Physics PhD students at the Gingin Science Festival located in the Gravity Precinct.

There will be team of UWA physicists on site to demonstrate the ‘Sounds of the Universe’, and role-play Einstein’s amazing predictions.

The Leaning Tower of Gingin will showcase Galileo’s Gravity experiment.

Saturday 19, Sunday 20 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Jan Devlin, manager@gravitycentre.com.au, 08 9575 7577 or 0422 448 875

Stories of Indigenous engineers—Kalgoorlie

A short film, showcasing two Indigenous Engineers from WA. A look at their experiences and journey to become engineers. The engineers will be present as part of the Q&A session with audiences.

Tuesday 15 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Min Hamid, wa.eoc@ewb.org.au or 0405 401 559

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, including Murdoch University’s Dr Lynette Vernon, and science communicators are available for interviews.

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