Forever young? The new Mars explorers; the science of Dr Who; binge listening; and Turing at the Ultimo Science Festival

Bulletins, Media bulletins

Forever young – UK geneticist Professor Dame Linda Partridge talks of an imagined future in which we all stay young by taking a pill that reduces the impact of ageing.

She’s giving the Graeme Clark Oration on Wednesday night – a free public lecture to over 1,200 people. The Melbourne lecture will also be webcast.

Also in this bulletin:

Wednesday: Forever young—growing old gracefully with science

Professor Dame Linda Partridge imagines a future in which we all stay young by taking a pill that reduces the impact of ageing.

She’s not promising immortality, rather she’s working toward a future in which we age gracefully—healthy, happy and active until the end.

She predicts that within a decade, there will be drugs that could keep us healthy in body and mind long into our old age.

Starting in our 40s, we could take medicines to prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and heart disease; to preserve our vital organs; and even to keep our hair full and shiny.

These are claims we’ve heard before, but Dame Linda is the real deal—she’ll be spending a fair portion of her time in the country with Melbourne’s genetics research community.

She’s in Australia to give the Graeme Clark Oration, a free public lecture established to honour Professor Graeme Clark, inventor of the bionic ear.

Past speakers include: Craig Venter of human genome fame; Terry Sejnowski, a computational neuroscience pioneer; and Graeme Clark himself.

Dame Linda is available for interview from today until Wednesday 18 July. To arrange interviews, contact me on 0417 131 977 or email

Dame Linda is giving the Graeme Clark Oration, a free public lecture on Wednesday, at the Melbourne Convention Centre at 6.30 pm.

The public can register online or follow the live webcast from their website. For more information you can Google this: Dame Linda oration.

The website is but it’s easier for people to Google.

August: Understanding Turing; geek food; the art of climate data; maths comedian; and more at the Ultimo Science Festival

The Ultimo Science Festival in Sydney has a reputation for great events for adults alongside the usual National Science Week children’s activities, and this year is no exception.  There will be:

  • molecular gastronomy workshops
  • tours of forensic science labs and the Powerhouse Museum curators’ basement collection
  • Simon Pampena the maths comedian
  • Jack Copeland, international expert on Alan Turing
  • An ABC RN Life Matters forum about animal experimentation hosted by Natasha Mitchell
  • the Art & Science Soiree where scientist and art practitioners meet to develop ideas together
  • the Einstein lecture on the latest science that is building on Einstein’s original work.

There are about 60 events over 11 days and nights, from August 16 to 26, at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney TAFE and the University of Technology, Sydney.

For more, check out or contact Frankie Lee at

August: Are you a binge listener? Checking the nation’s hearing with Soundcheck Australia

The National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL) want to know:

  • how much time we spend in loud social environments;
  • people’s noise habits; and,
  • how well we’re all hearing.

They plan to find out via the 2012 citizen science project for National Science Week—a comprehensive interactive test developed by ABC Science Online with NAL.

The project highlights the danger of cumulative exposure to loud events, and the question being asked in the promotion is: Are You a Binge Listener?

Participants in the survey also enter a competition where winners get tickets to a big music festival, concert or show of their choice.

The National Science Week website will link to Soundcheck Australia when the site is live in early August.

The survey runs from Science Week until the end of August.

For more information contact Frankie Lee at

August: The science of Doctor Wh

From time-travel to sonic screwdrivers—just how much science is there in the cult classic science fiction series Doctor Who?

A live show will explore these topics with comedian Rob Lloyd, astrobiologist Dr Allie Ford, Melbourne physicist David Jennens and CERN physicist Dr Martin White at the CSIRO Discovery centre in Canberra on 11 and 12 August.

We’re not running this event. It’s been put together and promoted by CSIRO and RiAus. But we think it sounds neat and Martin did some great interviews on the Higgs.

More information:

N.B. This was previously flagged as a free event: However, there is a cost. Details online.

August: Sky crane delivers Mars landing party in Melbourne

NASA’s Curiosity rover will be delivered to Mars by skycrane on 6 August. To celebrate, the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC) is throwing a party, complete with their own Mars rover and space researchers.

One of the scientists coming is Marion Anderson, a Monash University researcher who helped pick out a landing site for the Curiosity rover.

Again, we’re not running this event, but it’s a local angle on a global event. The new rover is five times the size of Opportunity, the rover that have been exploring Mars for the past 3,000 Martian days.

For more information, contact VSSEC:

Thanks for the Higgsteria

Thank you to all the reporters who contributed to the fantastic coverage of Higgs and physics over the past week. You all engaged in a story of almost unreportable complexity, included Australia without overselling our contribution and contributed to a national and international Higgsteria that brought a smile to physicists and geeks everywhere.

Special mentions to the Age for their two features, front page, lead editorial, business op-ed and even a Leunig on the goddess particle; The Australian, Reuters, AFP, and rolling coverage on every ABC NewsCaf production over the core 24 hours.

And special thanks to the AusSMC. Their background briefing provided a starting point for TV news and many others.