Art meets astrophysics, cocktail chemistry, women’s woo, and wild weather

Media bulletins, National Science Week

National Science Week kicks off in Canberra this Saturday – with 75+ events around ACT:

  • Robots, drones, reptiles, performers, expert speakers and food trucks take over The Shine Dome.
  • Sense and sensibility: how pseudoscience helps market wellness woo to women.
  • Physics meets archaeology: how a new chamber was discovered in the Great Pyramid of Khufu.
  • Artists, animators and astronomers present the Universe in four dimensions.
  • Meet the medical inventor behind the cochlear ear and a nutrition scientist using one.
  • Can Canberra adapt to live with drought, wild weather and climate change? Ask an expert panel.
  • A science comedy quiz show that aims to save our species.
  • Art inspired by the rocks, minerals, crystals and fossils of Geoscience Australia.
  • Spot wildlife with your smartphone in the Great Aussie BioQuest.
  • Take the Aha! Challenge and test your brain’s creative insight.

More on these highlights below, and others at, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Scientists, artists, performers and event organisers are available for interview throughout Science Week.

National Science Week in ACT: event highlights

InterACTive Science — The Shine Dome, Acton

Robots, drones, seismometers, fossils, and live reptiles will take over the Shine Dome to kick off National Science Week in Canberra, with two InterACTive Science events — a family-friendly event in the day, and, for adults only, InterACTive Science After Dark at 6pm.  

Both gigs feature weird and wonderful talks, activities, performers, stalls, food trucks and more to showcase STEM in the nation’s capital.

Talk topics include:

  • The Hidden Circus: the unbelievable abilities of parasites.
  • In your backyard: the geoscience of Canberra.
  • Is the Moon made of cheese?
  • The magic of motion pictures.
  • The secret life of critters.
  • Thinking outside the planet – innovative earth and environmental science education in the ACT.
  • Australian mammals and their genomes.
  • Harnessing the swarm: controlling drones and unmanned ground vehicles.

Saturday 10 August Event details After Dark Event details

Women’s Woo: pseudoscience and women’s health — Acton

Trish Hann, clinical educator in diagnostic radiology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, turns a critical eye on nonsense therapies and treatments directed at women.

This talk is a tour through the world of women’s woo. There’s more of it than people realise, and it’s often weirder than expected. There are the obvious therapies that are skewed towards women, as well as technically gender-neutral approaches such as essential oils, naturopathy, and the use of psychics that attract more female customers than male.

In this talk, men and women alike will learn how to sort the sense from the nonsense with therapies and treatments.

Tuesday 13 August Event details

Cosmic to microscopic: hidden spaces and new evidence from the pyramid field at Giza — the Embassy of Egypt, Yarralumla

By harnessing cosmic rays, a new chamber was recently discovered in the Great Pyramid of Khufu, which dates from about 2560 BCE. This lecture by Macquarie University archaeologist, Dr Karin Sowada, explores new stories from the Giza plateau, and the role of science in moving debate about the site beyond speculation.

Presented by National Science Week ACT, the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) and the Embassy of Egypt in Canberra.

Saturday 17 August Event details

ACT: U4D: The Universe in 4 Dimensions — Canberra

U4D is a trip through space and time using dance and animation, involving artists and astronomers.

ASTRO 3D astronomers, who research the universe from soon after the Big Bang to the present-day, will work with dance artists Liz Lea, Eric Avery, photographer Jen Brown and animator James Josephides.

Together they will create an arts-science performance exploring the key concepts of the astronomers’ research, including the origin of the ionised universe and the Periodic Table.

The aim is to place the human body in space while seeking connections with cultural histories including the Dreamtime and recent discoveries being made by astronomers.

Saturday 17 August Event details

Changing lives with science: cochlear developments — The Shine Dome, Acton

In this event, cochlear implant inventor Professor Graeme Clark will discuss the success and future of the pioneering hearing technology known as the “bionic ear”. He will be joined by nutrition scientist Professor Jennie-Brand Miller from the University of Sydney, who received cochlear implants after gradually losing her hearing as a teen.

Tuesday 13 August Event details

Droughts and wild weather: Living with climate change — Acton

The Earth’s climate is warming. Weather events are becoming more severe and affecting more people. In Australia droughts are becoming longer and winter rainfall is decreasing. In this event, a panel of experts from the Australian National University will discuss what our future looks like under climate change.

How can we adapt to live in this warmer world? What can we do to prepare ourselves for these changes? What impacts are these changes going to have on local, regional and global scales?

Panellists include:

  • Professor Jamie Pittock
  • Dr Liz Hanna
  • Emeritus Professor Janette Lindesay
  • Dr Annette Hirsch
  • Dr Matthew Colloff
  • Dr Steven Crimp

The event will take place  at the China in the World Auditorium, ANU.

Sunday 18 August Event details

Wait Wait … Save Our Species! – Canberra

Wait Wait … Save Our Species! takes the hit US news-based radio quiz comedy show Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! to a live event format with a focus on biodiversity. Prominent and obscure biodiversity and conservation news stories will be dissected and discussed. Audience members will join the host, expert panellists, a scorekeeper, and a science celebrity guest for jokes, limericks, and fun. This initiative brings laughter and learning together to help save our species.

Thursday 15 August Event details

A science cocktail – Acton

What is the chemistry behind your favourite ethanol-based drink?

Experts explain the science of alcohol, with taste tests, hands-on experiments and public talks. Ticket includes two free drinks. This event promotes a responsible consumption of alcohol.

Friday 16 August Event details

GEO: Art of the Collection — Acton, ACT

A collaboration between Geoscience Australia and the Australian National University School of Art & Design, this art exhibition is a response to Geoscience Australia’s vast and marvellous collection of rocks, minerals, crystals and fossils.

Wednesday 7 to Friday 30 August Tuesday to Friday. Event details

The Great Aussie BioQuest: like Pokémon Go! but with real animals!

Submit your wildlife sightings using your smartphone and help scientists study how climate change is influencing where the wild things are.

QuestaGame is a smartphone app where users can log sightings of real wildlife. They can then identify the plant or animal, or wait for an expert to help. All sightings are verified and given a remarkability score.

The data is then shared with the Atlas of Living Australia to help researchers make better decisions about protecting the environment.

Ready to join thousands of players across Australia in a team-based, outdoor game that will help protect our environment? Join the Great Aussie Biodiversity Challenge 2019.

QuestaGamers have already found new species, including the spider Ornodolmedes benrevelli, named after the gamer who photographed it —Ben Revell— by the scientist who confirmed it. Other new species of moths, spiders and insects are in the process of being scientifically described. Gamers have also spotted invasive species that are a threat to biosecurity.

Saturday 10 August until Sunday 18 August Event details

The Aha! Challenge: Test your creative brain for science—online

You know that feeling of ‘aha’? It’s that flash of insight you get when pieces of information fall into place, revealing a deeper meaning or understanding.

It’s a critical contributor to scientific, mathematics and creative discovery, and researchers are really keen to know how it changes over our lifespan. Does that feeling of excited discovery change over our life?

Contribute to real scientific research from the comfort of your own home by participating in the ABC’s National Science Week project ‘The Aha! Challenge’. Participants will do a series of online tests designed to elicit insight and draw out creativity, helping scientists understand how the human brain works.

Visit until Saturday 31 August.

About National Science Week

National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw 1.2 million people participate in more than 2100 events and activities.

In 2019, National Science Week events will be held right throughout Australia—from the world’s first global Indigenous hackathon ‘INDIGI HACK’ to ‘Dr Dolphin’ and his bottlenose friends in Adelaide, and from marking the Moon landing in Sydney to the science queens of Kings Park in Perth—with science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

National Science Week 2019 will run from 10 to 18 August. Media kit at, public event listings at