Overdosing on homeopathic sleeping pills, dissecting a croc – National Science Week highlights + Fresh Scientists everywhere and more

Bulletins, Science stakeholder bulletins

If you missed Neil deGrasse Tyson’s dance-moves on Q&A on Monday night and his insightful commentary on all things science, there’s still a chance to catch him at events in Melbourne tonight, or in Brisbane, Sydney or Canberra.

He’s here in Melbourne doing events for National Science Week – with other highlights including: astronaut Chris Hadfield; the woman who survived an neiloverdose of 50 homeopathic sleeping pills; a live croc dissection; 40 remarkable women in science and more. And the RiAus has a special offer on Hadfield tickets.

There are already over 1,500 events registered for the week which kicks off Saturday 15 August. South Australia’s launch was last night, and there’s details on the other state launches below, and the national launch at dozens of schools nationwide.

More below.

Also see Fresh Science. in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Sydney over the next few weeks.

We’ve already heard from young Fresh Scientists from Victoria and North Queensland about bendable spoilers, what small sharks really get up to, and the strange bugs making corals sick. See where you can catch the Freshies near you below.

crocAlso in this bulletin, we’ve got this year’s Eureka Prize finalists and ten of the best science photographs of the year.

And on Sunday night, how a rock became a bomb – Sonya Pemberton’s latest epic doco Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail investigates the untold story of the most wondrous and terrifying rock on Earth. It’s from the same team that brought us Jabbed and should make for interesting viewing.


Kind regards,


2015 Eureka Prize finalists announced: riding with hydrogen, disarming superbugs, don’t eat that toad and more

Forty-nine entries have been selected as finalists for 16 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes worth a total of $160,000 in prize money.

The 2015 Eureka Prize finalists have invented:

  • Low-temperature, low-pressure hydrogen storage that can power a motorised bicycle over 120km on a single, small canister, producing only water as a by-product.
  • An energy storage system that efficiently stores solar power through the night hours, solving the mismatch between solar power generation and electricity demand.
  • ‘Carpentry’-type techniques to switch off key molecular weapons of some new, antibiotic-resistant superbugs, transforming them into harmless bacteria

They’ve discovered:

  • A bizarre dwarf galaxy that harbors a supermassive black hole more than a thousand times ‘too large’.
  • How to teach Northern Territory quolls not to eat toxic cane toads: feed them smaller, less-toxic toads that make the quoll sick, but aren’t fatal.
  • The secret to viewing processes within a patient’s living tissues: nanocrystals with precise, in-built timers that may allow real-time disease diagnosis and the ability to watch drugs interact with living cells in real time.

And they’ve:

  • Taught astronomy in remote WA schools to students of the Wajarri Yamatji, the traditional owners of the land on which the Murchison radio-astronomy observatory sits, and presented the first science event for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
  • Engaged wine growers, foresters and farmers from Cape York to Canberra in on-the-farm research to understand the effects of climate change on growth rates and crop quality.
  • Combined microbiology, machine learning and a novel visualisation method—which was developed to map Napoleon’s military campaigns—to identify new activation mechanisms of the hormone insulin.

The finalists and highly-commended science photographers gave us glimpses into science at every level: from the fading tendrils of a long-exploded star to the new connections between nerve cells in our brains, and a saltwater crocodile.

There’s a full list of finalists, and more about the photos on our website: www.scienceinpublic.com.au/eureka

Follow and share the news with @EurekaPrizes, @scienceinpublic and #Eureka15.
Look out for the release of the finalists’ videos in the lead up to the ceremony on 26 August.

Photo credit: Saltwater Crocodile, Justin Gilligan

National Science Week 2015: Galaxy exploring, bioluminescent bacteria and a ‘shark in a bus’

From a large croc dissection in Darwin, down to Antarctic expedition events for schools ‘live via satellite’. From an international bioluminescent bacteria expert visiting Perth, to the ‘shark in a bus ’ mobile museum visiting Sydney— over 1,500 events and activities have been registered across Australia for National Science Week.
Running from 15-23 August, Science Week is Australia’s annual opportunity to meet scientists, discuss the hot topics, do science, and celebrate its cultural and economic impact on society.

South Australia launched its activities yesterday, with other state and territory launches to follow. Dozens of parliamentarians and senators are attending local launches in schools in their electorates on Friday 14 August, through CSIRO’s Scientists in Schools program.

If your organisation is holding a National Science Week event or activity, please register it, spread the word by putting out a media release and get involved on social media.

On Twitter you can use the hashtags #NatSciWk #BrainBreak and/or mention @Aus_ScienceWeek.

More at: www.scienceweek.net.au

And citizen scientists explore galaxies far, far away…

starsEver wanted to be an astronomer?

ABC’s ‘Galaxy Explorer’, Science Week’s national experiment, is up and running for the month of August, with ordinary Australians doing real science from their own homes, classifying 300,000  galaxies 3-4 billion light years away to help researchers understand how galaxies grow and change.

Dr Karl’s radio and television promos for Galaxy Explorer are being broadcast across the ABC network. In its first five days alone, about 22,000 galaxies have been classified thanks to the group effort of over 2,000 citizen scientists.

Get involved at: www.galaxyexplorer.net.au

More Fresh Science to come in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Sydney

Fresh Science 2015 kicked off this week with events in Melbourne and Townsville, taking the two groups of up-and-coming researchers through a program to help them share their stories of discovery. pub

We heard about genetically-engineered mass-murderers to fight cancer cells, magic molecular crystals that soak up CO2, a simple exercise for tendon injuries that cuts pain and boosts performance, what coral think about moving neighbourhood, and much more.

Then Freshies spoke to schoolkids at Melbourne Museum and to crowds at this years’ first two Fresh Science in the Pub events.

And we’ve only just got started.

You can catch more Fresh Science at the Pub in and book below:

  • Brisbane on 17 August at the State Library – presented by econnect and supported by the University of Queensland
  • Perth on 19 August at the Brisbane Hotel – supported by the Western Australian Museum, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, the University of Western Australia and the University of Notre Dame Australia.
  • Adelaide on 24 August at the Lion Hotel – supported by Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia and the South Australian Museum.
  • Sydney 

    on 31 August at the Three Wise Monkeys
    – supported by the University of NSW and the Australian Museum.

And keep an eye on #FreshSci for more.

Fresh Science takes young researchers with no media experience and turns them into spokespeople for science, giving them a taste of life in the limelight with a day of media training and a public event in their home state.

Thanks to our sponsors for our two events so far: Victoria (Biomedical Research Victoria, the State Government of Victoria and Museum Victoria); and North Queensland (James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science).

Making Babies in the 21st Century: how to make a healthy baby

Free public forum in Adelaide – Sunday 23 August

There’s more to making healthy babies than goes on in the bedroom.

The life you and your partner lead, and the life experiences of your parents can influence:

  • Your chances of conception
  • Your chances of a full-term pregnancy
  • And a healthy start to life for your baby.

The latest research is revealing the impact of poverty and prosperity; remote living and city living, thinness and obesity; and many other factors on fertility and reproduction.

Find out what it takes to make a healthy baby in the 21st Century and how health ‘inequalities’ can be passed down through the generations, in a free public symposium in Adelaide and online.


  • Prof Sarah Robertson, Director of the Robinson Research Institute and Research Program Leader of the Reproductive Immunology Research Group
  • Prof Claire Roberts, Deputy Director of the Robinson Research Institute and President of the Australian and New Zealand Placenta Research Association
  • Prof Robert Norman, Medical Director at Fertility SA and Professor for Reproductive and Periconceptual Medicine at the University of Adelaide
  • Dr Alice Rumbold, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide
  • Prof Michael Davies, epidemiologist at the Robinson Research Institute and co-Director of the Lifecourse and Intergenerational Health Research Group

With Dr Paul Willis, Director of the RiAus, as MC for the forum and leading the discussion through to a question and answer session.

Register online at www.srb.org.au/making-babies-in-the-21st-century

Or watch the live stream from the SRB website, beginning at 3:30pm Adelaide time.
Follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MakingBabies21C
Hear updates via Twitter: twitter.com/MakingBabies21Ce

Science Prizes

2016 Clunies Ross Awards nominations open

It’s seems we’ve only just learned about the achievements of the 2015 Clunies Ross Award winners Jim Patrick, Cathy Foley, Keith Leslie, Leigh Ward and Zhiguo Yuan.

Now ATSE are looking for the 2016 recipients.

This year there’s a new format with three awards categories recognising innovation; entrepreneurship and the commercialisation of knowledge.

In all cases ATSE are looking for a person or team who has made an identifiably significant contribution to the advancement of industry and/or the community through the application of science and technology for the economic, social and environmental benefit of Australia.

Nominations now open and closing Friday 30 October 2015
More at: www.atse.org.au/atse/about/clunies-ross-award/nominations/content/about/clunies-ross-award-nominations.aspx

$25,000 Lawrence Creative Prize open for applications

The Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize recognises bold, young Australian researchers who are taking the risks to ask the challenging questions of today – the questions that have most people saying ‘but that’s impossible’.

The award is named after one of the most creative men in advertising, Neil Lawrence – a former Centenary board member who passed away earlier this year.

Last year Geoff Faulkner of the Mater Research Institute in Brisbane was awarded first place, for his research into how memories might be stored in DNA.

The $25,000 prize promotes innovation and creativity in medical research and is committed to encouraging a domestic culture of scientific excellence. Second and third prize winners receive $5,000.

A People’s Choice Award has also been introduced, which aims to encourage the broader community to get involved in science.

Applications close Thursday 20 August 2015

More at: www.centenary.org.au/support-us/lawrence-creative-prize

$65,000 national innovation challenge deadline extended

The deadline for entries to the Australian Innovation Challenge has been extended until September 7.

The Challenge is helping Australians to commercialise some of our best ideas with $65,000 in prize money.

Entries are open to those with an idea that will progress the fields of minerals and energy, agriculture, health or education; as well as in the Backyard Innovation and Young Innovator categories.

Deadline extended until Monday 7 September 2015

More at: www.theaustralian.com.au/innovationchallenge

The untold story of the most wondrous and terrifying rock on Earth

Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail is an Australian-made three-part documentary telling the story of the element uranium, from its creation in an exploding star to its deployment in nuclear weapons, nuclear energy and nuclear medicine.

The series is presented by Australian-Canadian physicist Dr Derek Muller, creator of the hit YouTube science channel Veritasium and former ABC Catalyst reporter.

Shot in nine countries, Derek follows the story of uranium from Australia and around the world, including visits to Chernobyl and Fukushima.

The series was created by science specialists, Genepool Productions and produced by Emmy Award-winning Australian television science filmmaker Sonya Pemberton, the people behind the award-winning documentary Jabbed – love, fear and vaccines.

More information: www.sbs.com.au/programs/uranium

Science in Public – planning, mentoring, communicating

Contact me to find out more about our services to train, mentor, plan and deliver media and communication strategies for science.  We offer:

Communication plans, mentoring and training
We can review your stakeholders, messages and tools and help you and your communication team refine your plans. We offer this service for individual announcements or for a whole program or institute.

Media releases, launches, and campaigns
We can help you develop an outreach program, from a simple media release through to a launch, a summit, a conference, or a film.

Publications and copy-writing
From a tweet to a newsletter; from a brochure to a Nature supplement, we can write compelling and accurate science-driven copy which captures the essence of your story and purpose.