Arctic art; deep dives; gravitational waves; and the future of farming

Media bulletins, National Science Week

Launch Sunday at Springwood, with Chief Scientist & Engineer and a robot farmhand. Plus 500 Science Week events around NSW:

▪ Maths with Mr WooTube, deep dives, the new climate change activists, and more at the Sydney Science Festival

▪ An Indigenous hackathon to help save languages

▪ Gravitational waves explained by scientists, sounds, video art and poetry

▪ What will the farms of the future look like?

▪ Hear the untold story of the women who made the Internet

▪ Science goes local: 120 scientists visit 70 libraries

▪ Super sight, super hearing, super strength and camouflage: hear about nature’s superpowers

▪ Arctic art and photography inspiring action on climate change

▪ You’re never alone when you’ve got a parasite: public health meets comedy

▪ 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.

Plus, NSW’s National Science Week launch — 2.30pm, Sunday 4 August

NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte will launch National Science Week in NSW at an agri-robotics event in Springwood, joined by University of Sydney engineer Professor Salah Sukkarieh. The event will feature a Digital Farmhand robot demonstration.

From robots rounding up cattle to picking fruit at the right time, technology is helping New South Wales’ $13 billion agriculture sector adapt to the future. Science is not just for the city, says Professor Durrant-Whyte.

Professor Sukkarieh says GPS robots can work 24-seven, run on solar power, and improve farming sustainability. Selective harvesting picks only the produce that is ready, reducing food waste. Smart sensors allow precision spraying and weeding.

Footage available. Scientists available for interviews in the lead up to the event.

Sunday 4 August Event details

See video of Salah Sukkarieh’s robots in action. Broadcast quality footage without music here.

National Science Week in NSW: event highlights

Maths with Mr WooTube, saving oceans, bees, bush medicine, the new climate change activists, and more at the Sydney Science Festival

▪ Can our oceans and their creatures survive climate change, runoff and rubbish? Find out from National Geographic explorer ‘Her Deepness’ Sylvia Earle and marine ecologist Emma Johnston.

▪ Find out about the hidden world of math from teacher ‘Mr WooTube’ Eddie Woo

▪ From student strikes to CLIMARTE, experts discuss activism in the age of climate change

▪ What is life? Author and physicist Paul Davies shares his answers

▪ Hear the untold story of the women who made the Internet

Days of our hives: a comedic look at beekeeping and the science of bees

▪ Learn about space travel, forensic science, making plastic from algae, and more at Science in the City

▪ Explore 60,000 years of local knowledge at the Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern

Other events include maths and music, dark matter, Apollo 11, telomeres and ageing with Elizabeth Blackburn, a night of illusions, Dr Karl, the periodic table, and more.

These are just some of the highlights of this year’s Sydney Science Festival, running from August 6 to 18.

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to attend hundreds of events across dozens of venues, including the Powerhouse, the Australian and the Australian National Maritime museums, Centennial Parklands, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Taronga Zoo, university campuses and local libraries. Festival details

Sydney Science Festival image library.

INDIGI HACK 2019 — Redfern

Can young people’s love of gadgets and technology help save Indigenous language?

Australia is home to some of the oldest languages in the world, and we are at risk of losing them all if we don’t act fast. As many as half of the world’s 7000 languages are expected to be extinct by the end of this century; it is estimated that one language dies out every 14 days.

This initiative helps Indigenous young people bridge science, technology and culture to develop an app that helps capture, revitalise and retain Indigenous language.

INDIGI HACK is a two-day hackathon involving more than 100 Indigenous youth from remote Australia and New Zealand, 20 teachers and community members, and more than 14 industry mentors. The winning hacker gains entry to an incubator to further develop and refine a product and their skills.

Thursday 8 to Friday 9 August Event details

Talent available for interviews:

▪ Luke Briscoe, INDIGI HACK Director and INDIGI LAB CEO

▪ Rae Johnston and Matt Webb, INDIGI HACK Hosts

▪ INDIGI HACK Judges, Prof Peter Radoll (Canberra University), Renee Cawthorne (Australia Museum), Brett Leavy (Bilby Labs) and Maddy de Young (M.A.T.C.H New Zealand).

Elysium Arctic – Darling Harbour, NSW

Artworks capturing the majesty of the polar north – and the impact of climate change – are coming to the Australian National Maritime Museum.

In 2015 a team of explorers, photographers and scientists sailed through the High Arctic of Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland to document these unique environments.

Together, they created Elysium Arctic, an ongoing series of artworks capturing the icons of the north – majestic icebergs and glaciers, playful wildlife and stunning views of land and sea.

Elysium Arctic also records the devastating impact of climate change in the earth’s northernmost regions. The Elysium projects are run by internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer, explorer and conservationist Michael Aw. Aw believes that art can inspire people to take action against climate change and save some of the most vulnerable places on earth.

Tuesday 6 to Sunday 18 August Event details

Sydney Science Festival image library.

Particle/Wave – Wollongong

The late cosmologist Stephen Hawking once said “gravitational waves provide a completely new way of looking at the universe.” What stories do gravitational waves tell? Led by theatre-maker Alicia Sometimes, writers, musicians, sound and video artists, as well as internationally-renowned scientists collaborate to present a unique answer.

Particle/Wave is an immersive multimedia exploration of gravitational waves at the point where poetry, video art, music and science intersect. These events include live music and speakers, as well as the show.

Wollongong: Thursday 15 August Event details

Riverina Science Festival 2019—Wagga Wagga

A week-long festival across Wagga Wagga with interactive science-based programs across a number of venues for all age groups.

The Festival includes an Indigenous science community day, Chemistry in the kitchen, gaming technologies, FUTURE WORLD, Kitchen Science Storytime and the levee environmental walk.

Sunday 11 to Saturday 17 August Event details

Indigenous Science Community day: Sunday 12 August Event details

Brains, bees, cannabis, cancer and more: scientist take over NSW libraries – multiple dates and locations

120 scientists are visiting 70 libraries across the state, sharing their research with locals as part of the ‘Talking Science’ series. Here are some highlights:

At the State Library of NSW, discover the science of hoarding: why does it develop and how can it be treated? 

In Paddington, eco-toxologists Francesca Gissi and Amanda McDonald and environmental scientist Georgina Dawson will share what it is like to work in environment research and protection.

In Concord, learn about keeping gut microbes healthy by eating the right types of food, and how microbes return the favour by making people healthier.

In Mosman, are smartphones making us dumb? Ask expert Mark Williams.

In Blacktown, hear about nanomedicine and its application to cancer therapy.

Also in Blacktown, hear how medicinal cannabis went from criminal to clinical.

In Penrith, find out how trees are cooling cities and helping fight the urban heat island effect.

In Liverpool, hear about the brain and strokes. Stay for an origami making craft session afterward.

In Auburn, how is social media influencing youth uptake of e-cigarettes?

In North Sydney, Francisco Sanchez– Bayo will explore the alarming decline of insect species.

Multiple dates and locations Event details

Future paddock – Allynbrook

The future of agriculture, from the soil to the skies, will be explored at Kater family farm in Allynbrook in the Dungog Shire. The Kater family and their farm have featured on TV when they trialled the SwagBot, a prototype robot designed to work with cattle. See video.

▪ The family will share the principles and their experience of regenerative agriculture, with examples from their own paddocks.

▪ Ecologist and tree specialist Alex King will talk about how to re-establish a fire-resistant healthy native forest.

▪ There will also be displays, demonstrations and information about technology in agriculture, from drones to robotic farmhands.

Sunday 18 August Event details

Science in the Wild: Dinosaurs vs Superpowers – Mt Annan

Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, and Cat Woman have their own sets of superpowers. How do they compare with those of nature’s superheroes in our own backyards? Super sight, super hearing, super strength and camouflage are just some of the superpowers in nature.

Science in the Wild is a free, outdoor family and community event at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan. Join into the activities the scientists have prepped for you and find out about those amazing superpowers.

The incredible roving dinosaur will be coming back as well and show you a bit of pre-historic fauna.

Sunday 11 August Event details

Parasites Lost: the story of one woman, who has contained multitudes — Lake Macquarie

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 of the most ingenious micro-organisms, from someone who’s played host to a bunch of them.

Alanta Colley is a public health practitioner. She’s 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

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, mathematical and creative discovery, and researchers are really keen to know how it changes over our lifespan. Does that feeling of excited discovery change over the years?

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 from Tuesday 6 to Saturday 31 August.

Researchers and science communicators available for interviews.

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 everything including 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