Sensory science, Antarctic adventures and finding where the wild things are

Media bulletins, National Science Week

Saturday 10 August 2019

Highlights from day one of National Science Week

132 events and exhibitions, 5 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

National and international talent, researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country. Plenty of photo opportunities.


  • Like Pokémon Go! but with real animals: spot wildlife with your smartphone in the Great Aussie BioQuest.


  • The Science Cowboy, the chemistry of colour, cat behaviour, insect eyesight, Antarctic secrets, a VR tour of old Hobart and more at the Festival of Bright Ideas.


  • Days of our hives: science meets comedy meets bee-keeping.
  • Killing cancer, super coral, magma, and microbes: science talks on a soapbox at The Rocks.


  • Icy science:Dr Karl Kruszelnicki’s Antarctic adventures.


  • Changing how food tastes with virtual reality, seeing patterns in the sky, reading a map without your eyes: the science of messing with your senses.

Alice Springs

  • How will The Territory meet its 50 per cent renewable energy taret?


  • Making music with animals, interweaving Noongar culture with science, a recycled disco, and more: science and youth arts collide at Moonboorli (Beyond).

Read on for more on these, including event contact details.

Also today:

  • Brisbane: robots battle it out to see which is the best at soccer, theatre, rescue and problem-solving at the RoboCup Junior 2019 Queensland Championships.
  • Canberra: Interactive Science: robots, drones, reptiles, performers, expert speakers and food trucks take over The Shine Dome.
  • Adelaide: gravitational waves explained by scientists, sounds, video art and poetry at Particle/Wave.

National Science Week 2019 will run from 10 to 18 August. Media kit at Or visit the National Science Week website for the details of events in your area:

More about the event highlights

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

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 expert-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.

Results appear live on the website, displaying the latest finds, as well as the rankings of each science hub team and the top individual players. Prizes are awarded for highest scores in sightings and identifications, as well as active participation.

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

Saturday 10 August until Sunday 18 August Event details

The chemistry of colour, cat behaviour, insect eyesight, drones, Antarctic secrets and a VR tour of old Hobart—at the Festival of Bright Ideas

  • DIY science with Clare Van Dorssen from BrainBuzz on 9Go!
  • The science of bubbles
  • Help wedge tailed eagle research as a citizen scientist
  • Walk through the streets of Hobart Town in the 1820s or tour a far-away city using virtual reality
  • Is there more to cats than eating and sleeping?
  • Why and how are drones are used to collect data both above and below ground?
  • Code a robot and control the movement of an animated character with your voice
  • How we use science to find solutions for Hobart’s traffic congestion
  • What does a garden ecosystem look like through the eyes of an insect?
  • Understand the chemistry of colour and contribute to a festival masterpiece
  • How has Tasmania’s flora, fauna and landscape changed over the last 100 000 years?
  • What secrets are hidden in Antarctica’s ice and snow?

These are just some of the speakers, activities and displays at the Festival of Bright Ideas, all under one roof at Princes Wharf 1 on Hobart’s waterfront.

Saturday 10 August Event details

Days of Our Hives – Marrickville, NSW

Public health educator and urban beekeeper Alanta Colley combines stand-up, storytelling and scientific revelations about the weird and wonderful world of bees.

Days of Our Hives is the tale of Alanta’s adventures and misadventures in urban beekeeping. After fleeing from a swarm in the Czech Republic, Alanta turned her fear into fascination and is now a proud member of Melbourne’s urban beekeeping community: removing swarms from her neighbour’s kitchen; sharing bee trivia; and upsetting people by explaining honey is, in fact, bee vomit.

Saturday 10 to Tuesday 13 August Event details

Great Moments in Antarctic Science with Dr Karl — Adelaide, SA

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki tells stories from his adventures in Antarctica and how in a blizzard you can still see blue skies above you! People will also have the opportunity to ask their burning science questions – be they chemical, physical, technological, biological, astrophysical or astronomical. How much does a cloud weigh? Can you dig a hole all the way through the Earth? How do planes fly? Dr Karl will have the answers.

This special session is aimed at children of primary school age and their families.

Saturday 10 August Event details

Extrasensory—Parliament House, Melbourne, VIC

Can you maintain your appetite in the face of distinctly un-appetising pictures? Or keep your balance while VR messes with your sense of where you are in space? And how will ArtificiaI Intelligence (AI), bionics and smart devices enhance our senses and change human perception?

Extrasensory explores the human senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing and more.

This event combines art installations, performance, storytelling, and experimentation, with food and drink at Victoria’s Parliament House.

Activities and presenters include:

  • Champagne science workshops with science communicator and former My Kitchen Rules contestant Emma Donnelly
  • Virtual reality walks inside a human cell
  • The chemistry of brewing beer to get the right flavour and aroma, with brewer John Helton, who trains beer tasters
  • A talk from Luke Smillie, an expert in susceptibility to ‘pseudo profound bullsh*t’ (meaningless statements designed to appear profound)
  • A look at augmented-reality 3D hearing—the next generation of hearing aids
  • Tactile treasure maps that help people with low vision find their way
  • Arup’s mobile sound lab, showing how sound is controlled inside buildings, from flats along a trainline to concert hall acoustics
  • Food tasting in different virtual places: does your environment make things taste better?
  • How Western science, Indigenous astronomy and Extrasensory visitors see starlight, detect patterns and make stories to explain the night sky.

Saturday 10 August Event details

The Territory’s road to 50% renewable energy by 2030 — Connellan, NT

The Northern Territory has a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Technical, regulatory and economic barriers in the Alice Springs power system need to be overcome. Join Minister for Renewables, Energy and Essential Services, Dale Wakefield, alongside industry leaders and the Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy, for a robust panel discussion with audience participation. Hear about the solutions that can ensure a bright solar future for the Territory.

Saturday 10 August Event details

Soapbox Science Sydney—The Rocks, NSW

Picture an iconic backdrop and 12 enthusiastic female researchers on soapboxes wearing lab coats! Each speaker has an hour to discuss their research with anyone and everyone who happens to walk past.

Soapbox Science Sydney is a free, interactive, public event showcasing the cutting-edge Australian research carried out by aspiring and established female researchers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine disciplines.

Talks include:Physical activity: the elixir of health and wellbeing.

  • How magmas and volcanoes can make a gold mine.
  • Is diversity important? What we can learn from plant breeding.
  • Can super corals really be super heros for the Great Barrier Reef?
  • Designing superior killers of cancers.
  • What can worms teach us about the brain?
  • Machine learning and quantum control: Using our engineering past to navigate a quantum future.
  • Dynamics of running dogs.
  • The gut microbiome: Ask not what you can do for your microbes but what they can do for YOU.

Saturday 10 August  Event details

Moonboorli (Beyond) – Perth, WA

Propel Youth Arts WA opens National Science Week with Moonboorli (Beyond), a special free event blending science, culture, ideas, knowledge and storytelling at the State Library of Western Australia.

Science is brought to life with:

  • a zoomusicology installation, bringing instruments and birdsong together;
  • hypothetical debates based on science fact and science fiction;
  • Indigenous science explored through country, language, and story;
  • activities to reinvent scrap materials into one big recycled disco;
  • neuroscience and creativity workshops;
  • dance and choir performances;
  • workshops creating jewellery from DNA and replicating “protocells” with synthetic materials.

This event is a day-long program of workshops, performances, talks, exhibitions, installations, and showcases of the latest developments and trends in WA and beyond.

Saturday 10 August Event details

More 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 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 Or visit the National Science Week website for the details of events in your area: