Women and the Internet, dolphins in Adelaide, and fun with the Periodic Table

Media bulletins, National Science Week

Highlights from day five of National Science Week – hump day brings comedy, dance and memories of the flu.

423 events and exhibitions, 18 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

Adam Spencer, Karl Kruszelnicki and many distinguished scientists feature in events around the country today – bringing tales of music, maths, Indigenous history and the untold stories behind the invention of the World Wide Web.


  • In class online with Karl Kruszelnicki.


  • Indigenous science sessions at Redfern begin.
  • Pandemic in Parramatta:when the Spanish flu hit town.
  • Reclaiming the contribution of women to the creation of the Internet.
  • Periodic Table fun with Adam Spencer, Karl Kruszelnicki and Alice Motion.


  • Rapid-fire science education: 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each in a PechaKucha Night.


  • Meet the local dolphins.


  • High-voltage art made by electrifying matter.
  • The science and comedy of your poor decisions, with Alanta Colley & Ben McKenzie.


  • TheIndigenous stories, memories, and roadmaps of the night skies.

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

Also today:

National Science Week 2019 runs from 10 to 18 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au. Or visit the National Science Week website for the details of events in your area: www.scienceweek.net.au.

For general Science Week media enquiries:

Tanya Ha: tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863
Niall Byrne: niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0417 131 977

More about the event highlights

National: In Class with Dr Karl — online

TV presenter, radio reporter, (Ig) Nobel Prize winner, and science communicator Dr Karl comes to homes and classrooms around Australia, via the Internet. He will join The Royal Institution of Australia and Adelaide Botanic High to answer students’ burning questions.

This event was recorded with a live audience on Saturday 10 August and will be broadcast into classrooms on Wednesday 14 August.

Wednesday 14 August Event details

NSW: Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern

What can Aboriginal astronomy tell us about the night sky? How is our native flora used in bush medicine and soap-making? How do Indigenous Australians make axes from stone and other artefacts? What can we learn about sustainable living from more than 60,000 years of Indigenous culture?

The Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern is a celebration of Indigenous and Western science, and Indigenous youth and Elder achievements. Part of the Sydney Science Festival and National Science Week, the four-day event at the Redfern Community Centre will demonstrate the value of traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledge in science and technology, and the relevance of science to our everyday lives. Indigenous students from National Indigenous Science Education Program (NISEP) partner schools will assist in demonstrating activities.

Wednesday 14 to Friday 16 August Event details

Family Science Fun Day: Sunday 18 August Event details

NSW: Women and the Internet — Sydney

A discussion among leading tech experts about the often unacknowledged role of women in the development of the internet.

The popular history of technology is one of men and machines, transformation tales of garages to grand mansions, alpha nerds and ‘brogrammers’. All too often, the female visionaries who have been at the forefront of technology and innovation are overlooked.

In her breakthrough book Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet, VICE reporter and musician Claire L Evans tells the story of the Internet’s unsung female heroes. From Ada Lovelace, who programmed the first computer in Victorian England, to Elizabeth Feinler, who helped create the first domain names, women have been a huge part of every significant milestone in web development. These women joined the ranks of pioneers who defied social convention to become database poets, information wranglers, hypertext dreamers, and glass-ceiling-shattering entrepreneurs.

Following her solo talk, Evans will be joined by a panel of experts, including futurist Genevieve Bell, best-selling author Ginger Gorman, UNSW President of Robogals Sandy Aung, and science journalist Natasha Mitchell, to discuss how women will continue to shape the technology of our future.

Wednesday 14 August Event details

NSW: Pandemic in Parramatta — Parramatta

The deadly ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic that swept the world after the First World War, killing an astonishing 50–100 million people, reached Sydney in January 1919. By March of that year, despite comprehensive attempts at containment, Parramatta was in the grip of an outbreak.

Join us in this centenary year for an immersive expert talk by virologist Professor Dominic Dwyer that draws on social history and medicine to explore the impact of the pandemic on Parramatta.

Wednesday 14 August Event details

NSW: The Al – Zr of the Periodic Table — Camperdown

Who invented the periodic table? Which is the rarest element on earth? Will we ever know if all the elements have been found?

An ensemble of scientists including Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Adam Spencer and Dr Alice Motion will uncover the weird and wonderful tales of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, which celebrates its 150th birthday this year.

Wednesday 14 August Event details

QLD: ‘Science Goes Troppo’ at the Tanks – Cairns

Meet the scientists researching hot topics in Australia’s tropics at the Tanks Arts Centre in the Cairns Botanical Gardens. National Science Week at the Tanks: Science Goes Troppo! will feature a PechaKucha Night, where local scientists will share their research in a fast-paced, engaging and entertaining format.

The PechaKucha presentation style is short, sharp and snappy with each presenter telling their science story with 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each. This event will bring together scientists, musicians and the community to explore and celebrate science in the Tropics.

Wednesday 14 August Event details

SA: Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary Public Lecture — Port Adelaide

Meet Port Adelaide’s local dolphins and a man on a mission to save them: Chair of the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary Dr Mike Bossley. In 2005, his ongoing study of dolphins in Adelaide’s estuary was the basis for the SA Government declaring the area a dolphin sanctuary.

Wednesday 14 August Event details

TAS: Alanta Colley & Ben McKenzie: ‘You Chose Poorly’ – Hobart and Franklin

We each make an infinite number of choices every day – in relationships, in finance, in Buzzfeed quizzes. But how do we make them – and why are some of them so terrible? Science comedians Alanta and Ben invite you to dive into your own psyche, paddle about in your subconscious and sun yourself on the deck chair of your hopes and fears as they explore the psychology behind the bad decisions we all make.

Hobart: Wednesday 14 August Event details; Franklin: Thursday 15 August Event details

TAS: ‘matter’ by Sean O’Connell – Moonah

Artist Sean O’Connell creates jewellery and works through experiments in energy and matter.

In the exhibition ‘matter’, Sean explores the various materials we use to create the worlds we live in.

Brick, carbon composite, celery top pine, silk, lead, meteoric ore. They all share a history and relationship with humans – through our use and manipulation of them, in craft and industry, forming the objects and buildings of our daily lives.

Using high voltage spark discharges, Sean’s images reveal the individual qualities and internal structures of matter. Rather than the usual light reflected off the surface of things we see with our eyes, spark discharges allow a glimpse within, to the internal nature of everyday materials.

Friday 2 to Saturday 24 August Event details

VIC: What Indigenous storytelling can teach us about memory, our highways and ourselves – Melbourne

For more than 65,000 years, the night sky has served as a map for Indigenous peoples all around the world. Aboriginal Australians plotted the absence and presence of stars to develop celestial maps for navigation to survive the harsh landscape. In doing so, they built complex knowledge systems using signals from the sky and the land to recall and pass on significant knowledge, cultural values and wisdom.

Cultures around the world have long grouped stars into familiar patterns. Curiously, many of these constellations are perceived in strikingly similar ways, despite the cultures being geographically and temporally separated. Could this have something to do with psychological pattern recognition? And can we use the same method to encode our own memories in the modern world?

Wednesday 14 August Event details

Psychology and perception expert Simon Cropper – who is also one of the researchers behind the National Science Week Aha! Challenge – is available for interviews

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 Indigenous astronomy  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 www.scienceinpublic.com.au. Or visit the National Science Week website for the details of events in your area: www.scienceweek.net.au.