Indigenous secrets of the Midlands, chemistry in dance, and a pop-up science bar

Media bulletins, National Science Week

Launch Friday at the Festival of Bright Ideas with school kids and minister. And 200+ Science Week events around Tasmania:

▪ 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.

▪ The Tassie devil’s advocate, a sneezing scientist and a seaweed lover: Young Tassie Scientists tour the state.

▪ Dinosaurs, science shows, Moon-landing memories and a night at the museum, in Launceston.

▪ Will the Y chromosome become extinct, and can we bring the Tassie tiger back from extinction? Hear from science academy experts.

▪ Invasive species cocktails, engineering coral reefs, and exploring the tech of retro videogames at a pop-up science bar.

▪ Three elements, three choreographers, three composers and 18 performers: it’s chemistry in dance.

▪ Comedy meets science: laugh about why you make poor choices.

▪ Learn about Tasmania’s Midlands from thousands of years of Aboriginal science.

▪ 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, Tasmania’s National Science Week launch — 10am Friday 9 August

Tasmania’s Minister for Science and Technology, the Hon. Michael Ferguson, will launch National Science Week in Tasmania at the Festival of Bright Ideas Schools’ Day.

The minister will join students from across Tasmania interacting with displays, dancing robots, students using virtual reality (VR), a VR dome with space visuals and Antarctic Division displays.

There will be main-stage shows from 10.30am to 2.30pm (every 40 mins) with explosions, bubbles, hosts in character, and The Science Cowboy who appeared this week on ‘Australia’s Got Talent’.

Where: Princes Wharf 1, Hobart. Event details

National Science Week in Tasmania: event highlights

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!

▪ 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 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 have Tasmania’s flora, fauna and landscape have 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.

Friday 9 August (schools day) Event details

Saturday 10 August Event details

Young Tassie Scientists — everywhere

An ecologist chasing turbo chooks, a food scientist with expertise in ugly fruit, a neuroscientist doing brain surveillance, Tasmania’s own Batwoman, and the sneezing scientist studying hay fever.

These are just a few of the Young Tassie Scientists—early career researchers who become the state’s ambassadors for National Science Week. The new recruits for 2019 will go through a science communication bootcamp, then go out to share their science stories through inspiring and interactive presentations at schools and events around Tasmania.

More about the Young Tassie Scientists.

Multiple dates and locations. Event details

Science Open Season — Launceston

Dinosaurs, science shows, Moon-landing memories, and make your own lunar vehicle are among the highlights of the seven days of Science Open Season at Launceston’s Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery.

The program includes a Saturday expo-style Big Day of Science, showcasing everyday science taking place in the region; Sunday Science with a focus on feathered dinosaurs and a dinosaur themed exhibition, with activities exploring evolution, extinction and climate change; a Night at the Museum for adults, and another for young families; a schools’ program; public lectures; ‘PODS’ (Professionals Out Demonstrating Science); and the Crazy Scientist science shows.

Saturday 10 to Friday 16 August. Event details

Bringing back the thylacine, microbiomes of private parts and eating the problem: BeakerStreet@TMAG, a pop-up science bar—Hobart

▪ Resurrecting species from ancient DNA: should we bring the thylacine and other extinct animals back from the dead? Ask palaeontologist Mike Archer how and why.

▪ ‘Only technology will save us from ourselves’— experts battle it out in the Radio National Science Friction debate, moderated by Natasha Mitchell.

▪ ‘Eat the problem’ at MONA’s Invasive Species Cocktail Bar.

▪ The microbiome of your private parts.

▪ Genetically engineering coral reefs for survival, with Madeleine van Oppen.

▪ Explore technology and game design in a retro videogame arcade.

Ockham’s Razor Live, with short science talks hosted by Bernie Hobbs.

▪ The science of brewing at the Tasmanian Whisky Week distillers bar.

Plus, the Science Photography Prize, workshops, live music, Tassie food and drink, and 100+ roving scientists to chat with—all at BeakerStreet@TMAG, a pop-up science bar at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

In 2019, BeakerStreet presents a series of talks from Australian Academy of Science Fellows at Hobart Town Hall, featuring:

▪ Professor Jenny Graves—the extinction of the Y chromosome and the future of men

▪ Professor Martina Stenzel—the chemistry of life

▪ Dr Steve Rintoul—the keys and clues of climate in the Southern Ocean

▪ Professor Michael Archer—bringing back the dead: why extinction should not have to be forever

Friday 16 to Saturday 17 August Event details

NEON – Clarendon Vale

Three elements, three choreographers, three composers, four scientists, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and 18 local young dancers join forces to explore science through music and movement.

Hobart’s youth dance company Drill will present NEON, a performance that fuses artistic practice and STEM engagement for audiences and young participants. The result will be a suite of works that take as their inspiration forms, behaviours and uses of carbon, lithium and krypton. 

Audiences will first learn about these elements through hands-on experiments and activities, which all include an artistic and scientific component, encouraging creative experimenting and play while learning. They then experience the dance works in a free-roaming and interactive experience, seeing some of their experiments in action.

Wednesday 14 to Saturday 17 August Event details

You chose poorly: psychology meets comedy—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 Colley and Ben McKenzie 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

Aboriginal Science in the Tasmanian Midlands Hotspot — Beaufort, Ross

What can we learn about the science and sustainability of Australia from the people of its First Nations? Environment group Greening Australia and the Tasmanian Aboriginal community are joining forces to celebrate traditional and contemporary knowledge in science and technology in the Tasmanian Midlands Biodiversity Hotspot. This initiative includes four training days, two National Science Week Expos and an exhibition, a field day, and a community symposium, involving 53 Aboriginal youth communicators.

These events share the learnings from more than 60,000 years of Indigenous culture and sustainable land management, including biodiversity of native flora as bush food and medicine.

Sunday 18 and Tuesday 20 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.