Movember, men’s health and more

Science Communicators

It’s Movember. So the ASC is taking a look at men’s health. Why do men die early? Why won’t we go to the doctor? How are researchers and communicators meeting the men’s health challenge. Join us next Thursday 20 November at the Redback. Details below.

The session will be preceded by the ASC National AGM and elections (with a free drink and nibbles).

This is my regular bulletin to people with an interest in science and science communication in Victoria.

Also in this bulletin: science TV producers coming to Australia; Web 2.0; communication training for scientists; evolution; astronomy and more.

Kind regards,



Lessons from Movember and other initiatives in men’s health communication

Australian men can expect to live 76 years, compared with women’s life expectancy of 81. We’re less likely than women to visit our GP and when something is wrong we take longer than women to seek medical attention.

Join ASC Victoria for a lively panel discussion on men’s health: science; communication; and marketing.

Men’s health is one of the toughest communication challenges in science. We’ll learn about how two national organisations have tackled the challenge.

§  Peter Stanton, Head of Basic Science Team, Male Reproductive Research Group, Prince Henry’s Institute will outline the challenges in men’s health

§  Cassy Bezeruk, PR + Communications Manager at Andrology Australia, will discuss how that organisation is bringing the science to the fore – and their use of traditional and new communication tools including outreach and facebook;

§  Luke Slattery, Founder + Executive Director, Movember Foundation will reveal the philosophy behind Movember and its role in both delivering a health message, and raising funds for men’s health research.

Ian Muchamore will chair the forum. Ian is the Science Communication Officer at Prince Henry’s Institute.

Where: Upstairs, Redback Brewery Hotel, 75 Flemington Road, North Melbourne

Cost: Members are free; non-members are $10, students are $5 (drinks and meals at bar prices)

When: Thursday 20 November 2008

Time: 6.45pm for a 7pm start

No booking required. Further information about this event:


National ASC AGM and elections

You are invited to the national ASC AGM and elections. Come, have your say, learn about how ASC works, and join us for a free beer and nibbles. This meeting takes place immediately before the ‘science communication and men’s health’ session the same evening.

Where: Redback Brewery Hotel, 75 Flemington Road, North Melbourne

Cost: free AND a free drink will be provided for those attending. Drinks and meals at bar prices

When: Thursday 20 November 2008

Time: 6pm

More information: Tim Thwaites, President of the Australian Science Communicators at


Web 2.0 for communicators

Our June session was a fascinating discussion on the world of Web 2.0 with experts and academics about the possibilities for science communicators. Now we’re planning a workshop for ASC members on how communicators can best use web 2.0 tools.

Web 2.0 tools are being used in imaginative ways. How can we used them for managing crises, building trust, public engagement, and more effective media liaison.

RMIT will host the workshop in their computer room. This will be a full day (5-6 hour), hands-on workshop exploring blogs, RSS feeds, wikis, and more.

When: We hope to run this course early in 2009 and are seeking interest from ASC members.

Where: RMIT’s computer room facilities

Cost: $300-360

We are now finalising a date, but please email Jason Major to register your interest for this course:


Media and communication training for scientists

The next Science in Public media and communication training session is confirmed for Thursday 20 November, and there are still places available.

Three working journalists will join us over the course of the day to talk about newspapers, radio and TV, and conduct practice interviews. Journalists we have used in the past have included Gerard Scholten from Channel Ten, Chee Chee Leung from The Age, Dina Rosendorf from the Herald Sun and Donna De Maio from 3AW news.

Previous participants tell us that after the course they feel more prepared, not just for media interviews but also for other presentations to stakeholders, customers and the public.

This workshop is a modified version of the courses developed by our colleagues at Econnect Communication and is licensed from them.

Each course is limited to 12 participants.

For more on the course and future dates visit

Time: 9.30am-5pm

Where: Redback Brewery Hotel (upstairs), 75 Flemington Road, North Melbourne

Cost: $650 + GST per person. Morning and afternoon tea and lunch will be provided.

Discount available for financial ASC members.


In 2009 we will celebrate 200 years since Darwin’s birth and 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of Species.

When Charles Darwin came to Australia on the voyage of HMS Beagle in 1836 he was an obscure English naturalist. Twenty three years later the publication of his book, On the Origin of Species, sparked an intellectual, social and spiritual revolution. His work underpins all of modern biology.

I’m working with Melbourne geneticist Phil Batterham to unify the celebrations – giving us all additional promotional and media muscle and making 2009 a true national celebration of Darwin and his works.

If you’d like to receive bulletins on the celebrations please let me know.

For now, here’s a list of just some of the events planned.

Darwin, National Museum of Australia (10 Dec 2008 – 29 March 2009)

This international exhibition was developed by the American Museum of Natural History. It details the life and work of naturalist Charles Darwin including his travels and research work and how they helped shape his later publication On the Origin of Species. The Museum is also hosting a one-day symposium on 26 February.

Charles Darwin’s Birthday Dinner (February)

This celebratory dinner will utilise the entire Melbourne Museum and the IMAX Theatre. There will be live entertainment including a show provided by the National Institute of Circus Arts and IMAX films. Dinner guests will eat their way through the evolutionary tree, starting with the Primordial Soup.

Australian Academy of Science Conference (8 May)

This conference will focus on themes relating to ‘Origins’, and will be closely linked with the festival as well as with the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

Charles Darwin – voyages and ideas that shook the world (20 March – 23 August)

This exhibition will take place at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney. A two-day symposium is planned for the first two days of the exhibition.

Evolution – the Experience (February)

To be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, this conference will explore the depth and breadth of Darwin’s impact on science, agriculture, medicine, the social sciences, the visual and performing arts and religious thought.

Church Service at St Paul’s Cathedral exploring the interface between faith and science (February)

This service will be led by the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, Phillip Freier.

Origin of Species: then and now (24 November)

A one-day symposium on the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, discussing what Darwin wrote then and what he would write today, to be held in the University of Sydney’s Great Hall, which is also celebrating its 150 th anniversary in 2009.

We already know of 30 or so other activities across the country.

For more information on the Melbourne conference and activities go to and

International Year of Astronomy

In 1609 Galileo Galilei turned his telescope to the heavens. That act started modern astronomy. It led to the extraordinary knowledge we now have of our own solar system, planets around other stars, galaxies beyond the Milky Way, and the history and fate of the Universe and our place in it.

In 2009 we celebrate Galileo’s achievements, astronomy, and its contributions to society and culture, with the UN-endorsed International Year of Astronomy. One hundred countries have signed up to take part. Amateur and professional astronomers are working together across Australia to create a year of activities that will:

§  unite people around the world by reconnecting them with the night sky, the common heritage of humanity;

§  re-ignite our natural curiosity and imagination; and

§  re-engage young people in astronomy and the physical sciences.

Read more about Australia’s plans for the Year at and register your events at

World Congress of Science and Factual Producers

This is the international meeting for everyone who makes, buys or broadcasts science and factual television. It will be coming to Australia in 2009 – more news on the host city later.

We’ll be promoting Australia at the 2008 Congress in Florence next month. Please let me know if you’re attending.

Join the ASC

If you’re interested in science communication consider joining the ASC. Full membership is just $88 and you can join online. Details at

We’ve moved

Science in Public is now at

26 Railway Street South, Altona Vic 3018.

Our phone number is unchanged – 03 9398 1416.



Niall Byrne

Creative Director
Science in Public

ph +61 3 9398 1416
mobile +61 417 131 977
skype: niall_byrne