Life on Mars, science behind bars, and marine parks for sharks

Media bulletins, National Science Week

Launch Saturday at the State Library with Minister and International Space Station flight controller Andrea Boyd. With 270+ Science Week events around WA:

▪ Young artists, music with birdsong, Indigenous science, neuroscience and creativity workshops, and more take over the State Library.

▪ What’s the potential for life on the Red Planet? Ask astrophysicists and NASA scientists.

▪ Science behind bars: forensics and criminology at Fremantle Prison

▪ The science of this planet, and in the cosmos beyond at the Goodness Science, Sustainability and Innovation Festival, Geraldton.

▪ What do big parks mean for big sharks? Ask a scientist studying marine parks.

▪ Science careers: meet the woman mapping a panoramic stretch of the Universe.

▪ Sustainability in the suburbs: from soil microbes to microbats.

▪ Fiona Wood: from treating burns to spray-on skin.

▪ Ecology, seed science, genetics and plant conservation: meet the science Queens of Kings Park.

▪ 60 interactive stalls, explosive experiments, native animals, science theatre, and roving performers: Perth Science Festival returns.

▪ 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.

WA’s National Science Week launch at Moonboorli (Beyond) event – 9.30am, Saturday 10 August at the State Library of Western Australia

National Science Week in WA will be launched with an opening ceremony at the Moonboorli (Beyond) event.

Moonboorli (Beyond) is a special free event blending science, culture, ideas, the arts, knowledge and storytelling, organised in partnership with Propel Youth Arts WA.

With the Hon. Dave Kelly Minister for Science and keynote speaker International Space Station Flight Controller Andrea Boyd.

Where: 25 Francis St, Perth Cultural Centre, Perth. Event details

National Science Week in Western Australia: event highlights

Moonboorli (Beyond) — Perth

Propel Youth Arts WA opens National Science Week with Moonboorli (Beyond), a special free event blending science, culture, ideas, knowledge and storytelling at the State Library of Western Australia.

Science is brought to life with:

▪ a zoomusicology installation, bringing instruments and birdsong together;

▪ hypothetical debates based on science fact and science fiction;

▪ Indigenous science explored through country, language, and story;

▪ activities to reinvent scrap materials into one big recycled disco;

▪ neuroscience and creativity workshops;

▪ dance and choir performances;

▪ workshops creating jewellery from, DNA and replicating “protocells” with synthetic materials.

This event is a day-long program of workshops, performances, talks, exhibitions, installations, and showcases of the latest developments and trends in WA and beyond. This is your chance to meet people who can change the world and learn how you can make an impact of your own.

Saturday 10 August Event details

Science behind bars: forensics and criminology at Fremantle Prison — Fremantle

Talks, interactive displays, activities and informative tours of the Fremantle Prison, one of Australia’s historic prisons.

Go behind the bars and delve into the world of forensics and criminology with scientists from Murdoch University.

Participants will learn about Murdoch’s current research in forensic and crime science, including fingerprinting, IT/cyber forensics, imprints and impressions, blood pattern analysis, DNA profiling, criminology, blood typing and crime scene science.

Thursday 15 August Event details

Goodness: Science, Sustainability and Innovation Festival – Geraldton

Goodness Festival is the premiere annual science engagement activity in the Mid-West, and a leading community event in WA.

This year’s Festival will include a mix of community science nights, tours, exhibition, open days, in-depth workshops and after-hours events such as sundowners and a women in science breakfast. Events will include a fusion of art, science and Indigenous culture highlighting the science in the every day.

The festival will take place in and around the Museum of Geraldton, Geraldton Regional Trade Training Centre, City Hive and Central Regional TAFE in Geraldton CBD, with behind-the-scenes tours throughout the region.

Friday 2 August to Saturday 31 Event details

Life on Mars — Perth

Is there life on Mars? We’ve been asking the question for centuries. Could clues in Western Australia’s Pilbara soon give us answers? Join a panel of NASA scientists and astrophysicists to find out.

And if humans do travel to Mars, how will people live on the red planet? Is there already simple life there? Will Mars be a base for humanity one day stepping out into the galaxy? Do we have galactic neighbours?

Graham Phillips, research fellow at University of Melbourne and former host of ABC’s Catalyst, will lead a panel of Australian and International scientists to give you the answers.

Panellists include:

▪ NASA Mars 2020 rover mission program scientist Dr Mitch Schulte

▪ Physicist Professor Paul Davies from Arizona State University

▪ Astrobiologist from University of NSW, Professor Martin Van Kranendonk

▪ BHP’s Dr Vanessa Lickfold

▪ Curtin University’s Fireballs in the Sky coordinator Renae Sayers.

Thursday 15 August Event details

Planet Shark Sunday seminar: big sharks and big parks — Fremantle

Dr Jessica Meeuwig, Professor of Marine Science at The University of Western Australia, explores how large marine parks affect top predators. Dr Meeuwig will present data gathered through the deployment of non-destructive baited video cameras in offshore waters to identify, count and measure ocean wildlife.

Sunday 11 August Event details

Women in STEM Breakfast with award-winning radio astronomer Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker — Mandurah

Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker is an award-winning radio astronomer passionate about understanding the Universe and bringing the beauty of astronomy to the world. After obtaining her PhD in radio astronomy from the University of Cambridge in 2010, she moved to Australia to help commission the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), a low-frequency precursor to the Square Kilometre Array. Using this telescope, she created a panoramic view of the Universe at low radio frequencies: the Galactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA Survey.

During her visit to the Peel region, Natasha will share her career journey so far and her perspective as a woman working in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Wednesday 14 August Event details

Professor Fiona Wood: from treating burns to spray-on skin — Albany

A presentation from renowned burns specialist and plastic surgeon, Professor Fiona Wood.

Professor Wood is one of Australia’s most innovative and respected surgeons and researchers. A highly skilled plastic and reconstructive surgeon and world’s leading burns specialist, she has pioneered research and technology development in burns medicine.

Professor Wood will share her thoughts and insights on women in science and medicine, a perspective from WA’s first female plastic surgeon, featuring her invention of ReCell, the world’s first spray-on skin.

Thursday 15 August Event details

Rocks, Rips and Renewables — Albany

Albany in southern WA is known for its great surf. Could we harness the power of these waves? Hear from University of Western Australia experts at this half-day multi-disciplinary forum about the research underway to develop renewable wave energy in the region, with optional coastal field trip. It will take place at the Great Southern Marine Research Facility in Albany.

Tuesday 13 August Event details

Sustainability in the Suburbs – Greater Perth

Sustainability in the Suburbs brings the science of sustainability to local communities around Perth through a series of 16 community workshops. Urban resilience, soil microbiology, biodiversity and sustainable home design will be revealed through fun and engaging workshops and library displays. Libraries, cafes and community gardens will host workshops, lectures and hands-on verge gardening activities.

Multiple dates and locations Event details

Meet the science queens of Kings Park—Perth

Students studying STEM or STEAM subjects are invited to meet Kings Park’s female science and conservation staff in Kings Park to gain an insight into the rewarding career opportunities in the areas of ecology, seed science, genetics and plant conservation.

The events will take place on 13 and 14 August (Years 5 and 6), and 15 August (Years 9 to 12) for National Science Week.

Bookings are essential and places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Tuesday 13 to Thursday 15 August Event details

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.

Saturday 24 to Sunday 25 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