Entertainment stories in National Science Week: sex in space, parasites and the return of a television classic

Media bulletins, National Science Week

With more than 2000 planned events around Australia, National Science Week, 10 to 18 August, offers multiple story opportunities. Here are a few ideas for entertainment reporters.

ACT: The Science of Star Wars and Sex in Space – Mitchell

As a prelude to National Science Week, David Cannell, an information technologist from the University of South Australia, presents two fun sessions at GAMMA.CON, Canberra’s annual pop culture festival.

In The Science of Star Wars he looks at the technology depicted in the Star Wars franchise and how it compares to reality. He speculates on how evolution may function in the George Lucas universe, and explains how a real, working lightsabre might be built.

Then, in Sex In Space, he switches things up and asks some really probing questions. Has anyone ever done it? Is it even possible? What about in free fall? Keep an open mind as we explore the physics, biology and Hollywood depictions of out-of-this-world intimacy.

Saturday 3 August Event details

Media contact: Rob Thomas, info@gammacon.org.au or 0422 585 988

VIC: Sounds a lot like Science, with The Curiosity Show and the Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra – Southbank

Professor Rob Morrison and Dr Deane Hutton from the old television cult favourite, The Curiosity Show, are back to explore the science of sound with Dr Ingrid Martin and the Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Using the 70-member orchestra as a live laboratory, the scientists and Ingrid will explore and explain the science of sounds and musical instruments. This fun, interactive performance introduces children to science, using do-it-yourself experiments with household items including straws, rubber bands and cardboard.

Be prepared for bucketloads of home-made instruments, audience participation, and a cracking grand finale.

Sunday 18 August, 1.30pm & 4.30pm Event details

Media contact: Mariam Chung, 0404 868 629.

VIC: MACHINE World Premiere Screening at Melbourne International Film Festival – Melbourne

The world premiere of MACHINE is screening at Melbourne International Film Festival.

MACHINE is an exploration of identity, creativity, and humanity, as we grapple with artificial intelligence and our place in a world where MACHINES appear to be smarter than humans.

Post screening there will be a Q&A with leading artificial intelligence scientist Professor Toby Walsh.

Friday 16 August Event details

Media enquiries: Danielle Mastronardo, danielle@finchcompany.com or 0414 211 480

Talent available for interviews:

  • Michael Hilliard, Executive Producer and creator of the film
  • Toby Walsh, Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at UNSW and author of popular science book 2062: The World That AI Made.

NSW & TAS: Alanta Colley: Parasites lost, days of our hives and the science of poor choices

When Alanta Colley isn’t using her Master of International Public Health to save lives and prevent diseases and stuff, she’s making people laugh. Three of her comedy shows are running during National Science Week.

Parasites Lost – The story of one woman, who has contained multitudes – Lake Macquarie, NSW

Parasites Lost combines science communication, storytelling, and comedy in a parable on parasites. It is a unique opportunity to learn about the secret life of some ingenious microorganisms, from someone who’s played host to a bunch of them.

As a public health practitioner, Alanta has travelled the world, living in villages in some of the most remote parts of Asia and Africa, sharing health education on how to prevent disease. In the process she’s also managed to contract most of the world’s least pleasant parasites. Essentially, she’s terrible at her job.

Friday 9 August Event details   

Days of Our Hives: A tale about bees, wasp heat death and friendship – Marrickville, NSW

Urban beekeeper Alanta combines stand-up, storytelling and scientific revelations about the weird and wonderful world of bees, as part of the Sydney Science Festival.

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 that honey is, in fact, bee vomit.

Saturday 10 to Tuesday 13 August Event details

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

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

Media enquiries: Alanta Colley, alanta.colley@gmail.com or 0478 143 905

National: Launch to the Future! A STEM Story – capital cities

Launch to the Future! A STEM Story is a theatrical education program exploring Australia’s contribution to space science. It combines high energy sketch comedy and improvisation to entertain and inspire audiences of all ages.

The fact-filled show finds actors and educators having fun with the astonishing discoveries, innovations and solutions of space science. The performance features the work of local Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt, and Australian astronomer Ruby Payne-Scott, and covers everything from the Square Kilometre Array and Australia’s role in the transmission of the first moon landing.

Sydney: Saturday 10 August Event details

Melbourne: Saturday 10 August Event details

Adelaide: Saturday 17 August Event details

Canberra: Saturday 17 August Event details

Perth: Saturday 24 August Event details

Brisbane: Saturday 24 August Event details

Media enquiries: Tobias Benn, tobias@echelon.net.au, 03 9532 0988

NT: Marvel at the Moon and Stars with MAGNT – Darwin

Embark on a 3D outer space experience in Starlab’s Cosmodome Science Theatre & Planetarium at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Brilliant 3D depictions of our solar system, moon phases, eclipses and tidal rhythms combined with surround-sound effects will captivate you.

Marvel at the night sky where you will discover obscure and interesting constellations inside the immersive Cosmodome Theatre. Channel your inner explorer and learn how to use the Southern Cross as a compass.

Enhance your galactic experience by visiting MAGNT’s Between the Moon and the Stars exhibition – where art meets science.

Tuesday 13 to Sunday 18 August Event details

Media enquiries: Rebecca Campart, rebecca.campart@magnt.net.au or 08 8999 8203

Talent available for interviews:

  • MAGNT Curator of Maritime Archaeology and History – Paul Clark
  • MAGNT Director – Marcus Schutenko

WA: Carnivorous plants, astronomy and explosions: Perth Science Festival – Claremont

Backyard biology, astronomy, carnivorous plants, expert talks, and big and bubbly science shows are coming to the Claremont Showgrounds.

Perth Science Festival is a family-friendly general public event, with more than 60 interactive stalls, explosive experiments, native animals, science theatre, roving performers, and more.

Join scientists and science-enthusiasts from Scitech, ASTRO 3D, ChemCentre, Bush Heritage Australia, Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, and WA’s universities and research institutions – more than 50 organisations in total – for two days of informative science with roving STEM buskers, cosplayers, face painters and music to create a carnival atmosphere.

Saturday 24 to Sunday 25 August Event details

Media enquiries: Taylor Bartels, taylor.bartels@scitech.org.au or 08 9215 0702   

About National Science Week

National Science Week is one of Australia’s largest festivals, first held in 1997. Last year about 1.2 million people participated in more than 2100 events.

This year will feature parties, music and comedy shows, panel discussions, citizen science opportunities, interactive displays, film nights, open days and online activities.

The festival is proudly supported by the Australian Government; partners CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association and the ABC; and media sponsors including Cosmos, New Scientist and Science Illustrated. More information: www.scienceweek.net.au.

Search for events in your area: scienceweek.net.au/events/. More highlights here. Images for media here.

If you’d like to follow up on any of these stories or hear about others that are relevant to your round, get in touch. To receive story alerts in the lead up to and during National Science Week, register here or email tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au.  

General media enquiries:

Tanya Ha – tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or call 0404 083 863

Niall Byrne – niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or call 0417 131 977 or 03 9398 1416.