Firebird scientists, coral reefs, Pokémon, and a cancer-themed escape room

Media bulletins, National Science Week

More than 280 National Science Week events around Queensland:

▪ Three Firebird Queensland netball players are Science Week ambassadors. Find out why they’re into science.

▪ Meet a planet hunter, a mathematician measuring barramundi numbers, and a pharmacologist developing treatments for diabetes and blood pressure.

▪ Pokémon: how much reality is behind these imaginary creatures?

▪ Liquid nitrogen, flame tests, explosions, and cool chemistry experiments at Brisbane Science Festival.

▪ Reefs are in trouble worldwide: how can you help?

▪ Think, puzzle and learn your way out of a cancer-themed escape room.

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

▪ A library of life: delve into the Queensland’s State Collection’s skulls, skeletons, taxidermy birds and animals, and other curios of natural history.

▪ Get out your smartphone: find and photograph where the wild things are.

▪ 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. Read on for contact details for each event, or call:

National Science Week in Queensland: event highlights

Firebirds Queensland: science at a netball game – Queensland State Netball Centre, Nathan

Three Firebirds players are ambassadors for National Science Week in Queensland. Firebirds Queensland will celebrate Science Week at their netball game against the Adelaide Thunderbirds on Sunday 11 August.

As well as being athletes, each ambassador is studying a STEM-based course or working in a STEM field:

▪ Laura Clemesha is a Master of Psychology student.

▪ Jemma Mi Mi is a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology student.

▪ Mahalia Cassidy is an Occupational Therapist.

Spectators at the game are invited to visit the National Science Week stand. If they bring an interesting science fact to the stand, they will receive a free gift. Queensland’s Acting Chief Scientist Professor Paul Bertsch will attend this event.

Sunday 11 August Event details

Pokémon: are they biologically possible? — Rockhampton and Bundaberg, QLD

The whimsical world of Pokémon is filled with colourful, animated characters, many of which draw inspiration from the natural world.

In these interactive seminars, Dr Gurion Ang from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland will compare the features of some Pokémon and their living analogues to determine their biological possibility.

Tuesday August 13 to Friday August 16 Event details   

Kids talk STEM — Maryborough

Bring your children along to ‘Let’s talk STEM’ to hear a panel of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) professionals talk about their careers:

▪ a mathematician who uses her modelling skills to assess the barramundi population.

▪ an astrophysicist who searches for exoplanets in galaxies far, far away.

▪ a cardiovascular pharmacologist with a special interest in diabetes and high blood pressure.

Tuesday 13 August Event details

Brisbane Science Festival – Brisbane

Smoke cannons, liquid nitrogen, flame tests, explosions, and cool chemistry experiments on the streets of Brisbane.

Brisbane Science Festival will bring science to life using a range of interactive activities, guest presentations, and captivating science demonstrations to show the relevance of science in everyday life.

Produced and presented by Street Science and partnerships with government, universities, research organisations, leading Queensland businesses and science institutes.

Friday 16 to Sunday 18 August Event details

Coral reefs – immerse, learn and act—Brisbane & touring regional Queensland

Reefs are in trouble worldwide: how can you help?

Virtual reality that gives you a realistic reef experience even if you’re hundreds of kilometres away is one of projects of CoralWatch, a global citizen science program based at The University of Queensland.

They will be doing presentations, displays, outdoor field science activities and workshops in several regional Queensland coastal communities with suggestions on we can help the reef.

Friday 16 to Sunday 18 August Event details

Makings of a malignancy: The journey of a cancer cell —South Brisbane

The world’s first cancer-themed escape room.

Have you wondered what cancer is, how it develops, and why some cancers are curable while others are not? ‘Makings of a Malignancy: The journey of a cancer cell’ is an immersive experience to see the journey of a cancer cell first-hand.

Participants have to solve a series of puzzles based on the underlying principles of cancer biology in an engaging physical experience. The idea is to learn about the complexities of cancer while breaking down misconceptions surrounding the disease.

Friday 16 to Sunday 18 August Event details

National Science Week at the Tanks: Science Goes Troppo! – 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

Natural curiosity: discovering the secrets of Queensland’s greatest collections — Townsville

Venture across land and sea, over millions of years through Queensland’s State Collection to learn how researchers today work with the past to predict the future.

From discovering new animal species, to understanding the effects of climate change, this vast collection of over a million specimens holds the secrets of Queensland’s natural heritage.

Visitors to this exhibition can:

▪ see the Museum’s collections of taxidermy birds and animals and get up close to a range of skulls and skeletons.

▪ discover the world of reef building corals.

▪ find out how the collection’s 50,000 specimens are used by researchers studying biodiversity, ecology and climate change.

▪ see how researchers are digging up the past and using cutting-edge techniques such as 3D modelling to analyse and interpret fossils.

▪ learn about the future of research and how new techniques will help scientists to better understand existing natural history collections.

Exhibition Event details

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.

QuestaGamers are finding new species, including the spider ornodolmedes benrevelli, named after the QuestaGamer 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 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 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