Evil weevils in your pantry; science at the Broncos/Eels match; dance to gravitational waves…1,700 science events from Darwin to Antarctica

Bulletins, Media bulletins, National Science Week

National Science Week – starts officially tomorrow but with lots of events today and launches around the country.

  • More than 1,700 events and activities around the country
  • Plenty of photo ops, and scientists and interesting people to interview
  • 500,000 animals already identified in the national experiment – Wildlife Spotter

We will bring you daily highlights over the next week. Read on for your first set of highlights.


Tasmania: Space geeks and Festival of Bright Ideas kick off Science Week.Tasmania release below.

Alice: Costa, the Human Hedge, talking science and sustainability at the desertSMART EcoFair in Alice Springs.

Brisbane: science at the Broncos/Eels game, and the world’s largest science practical attempt with 3,000 students at the Convention Centre.

Canberra: dance to the drums of God – gravitational waves at Canberra’s Science Week launch. ACT media release below.

Tomorrow (Saturday):

Perth: Biohacker, electric vehicles, and a ‘rainbow science explosion’ at the Perth Science Festival, WA  media release below.

Melbourne: from WWI to a nurse’s gut – a graphic novel launched by Robyn Williams.

Sydney: Meet a dinosaur in the Centennial Park swamp; shark in a bus; behind the scenes of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Adelaide: a ‘singing palaeontologist’ and his youth theatre friends tell the Universe’s story…in song.

And many more events below and online.

And go online later today for our specialist story and event collections on Artsand Health, and (from Monday), Food, Indigenous, Environment, Innovation,Lifestyle and Technology. 

Kind regards,

In this bulletin:

NASA’s hunt for water, Wildlife and a Women in Science WikiBomb

National Science Week starts on Saturday 13 August

  • Is that an evil weevil? What pests are in your pantry? – from Saturday 13 August across WA
  • Dinosaurs, bees, and a shark in a bus – Saturday 13 August in Sydney
  • Bleaching hits a crocheted coral reef – in Darwin all next week
  • How hard is it to get scientists to believe BS (bad science)? – Wednesday in Adelaide
  • Find out which FNQ-born Nobel hero co-invented lasers -Wednesday in Townsville
  • What do changes in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica mean for Tasmania? – Tuesday in Hobart, Wednesday in Launceston
  • The muddy trenches of World War I and the mucus-lined trenches of a nurse’s gut – a graphic novel – Saturday 20 August in Melbourne
  • Why NASA’s hunt for water in the solar system is the hunt for life – Sunday 21 in Canberra

… these are just a few of the highlights, and there’s more on each below.

From laser shows celebrating Far North Queensland’s Nobel hero, down to ‘Brain Break’ science-themed morning teas in the Antarctic bases. From finding pests in Perth’s pantries to dinosaurs in Sydney—over 1,700 events and activities have been registered across Australia for National Science Week.

Running from 13-21 August, National Science Week 2016 is expected to reach over a million Australians—with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert talks, art installations and performances, interactive hands-on displays, open days, online activities, and even a Women in Science WikiBomb.

There are science festivals in Hobart, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, the Sapphire Coast, Lismore, Geraldton, Ulverston, Hunter Valley, Alice Springs, and more.

And there are expert panel discussions, exploring topics such as ‘will robots replace teachers?,’ ‘what can we do about science denial?’ and ‘what’s happening in the Antarctic and why should we care?

‘Wildlife Spotter’—the ABC’s citizen science project for National Science Week 2016—is inviting ordinary Australians to be citizen scientists from the comfort of their own homes, contributing to real science by identifying quolls, malleefowl, Tassie devils, feral cats, and many more animals captured in photos.  These citizen scientists will identify animals in roughly a million images taken all across Australia by automated cameras. Visit: www.wildlifespotter.net.au.

First held in 1997, National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year’s program saw a staggering 1.3 million people participate in over 1,500 events and activities.

The festival is proudly supported by the Australian Government; partners CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association and the ABC; and sponsorsCosmos, Discovery Science, New Scientist and Popular Science.

Visit the National Science Week website for the details of events in your area:www.scienceweek.net.au.

National Science Week 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

Dinosaurs, bees, and shark in a bus – Centennial Parklands, Sydney, NSW

Meet a dinosaur, pot a plant, and learn the science of beekeeping at ‘Science in the Swamp!’ Centennial Parklands will host a dinosaur, snakes and other wildlife, the ‘Shark in a Bus’ mobile mini museum, physics and chemistry demonstrations, and other activities in a free family fun day.

Photo opportunities of family science fun.

Saturday 13 August, 11am – 3pm Event details

Media enquiries: Vanessa Barratt, Vanessa.Barratt@cp.nsw.gov.au or 0450 018 752

Pantry Blitz: what pests might be lurking in your pantry? – WA

What potential pests are hiding in your pantry?

If you love local wines, be on the lookout for the elephant weevil, a vineyard villain.
This citizen science activity will involve the community in learning about insects and helping to protect our food, environment, and livelihoods from pest damage.

Participants will place a pantry trap in their pantry for one month and use free reporting tools to send insect reports for identification. The findings will be published on the Pantry Blitz webpage.

Saturday 13 August to Sunday 30 October Initiative details

Crocheted coral and knitted reefs communicating climate change – Darwin, NT

Territory Wildlife Park has been working with local community craft groups as well as individuals from around Australia to create a three-dimensional artistic installation. It consists of six two-metre tall jetty pylons that will be covered in crocheted, knitted, and needle felted corals and marine animals.

This community art installation has been designed to raise awareness of the impact of global warming on our coral reef systems in oceans and seas around the world. The installation will also serve as a visual explanation of what coral bleaching looks like as the coral pylons will transition from a pylon covered with healthy brightly coloured corals to a pylon with dead bleached corals.

Mon 15 – Fri 19 August Event details
Enquiries: Jasmine Jan, jasmine.jan@nt.gov.au or 08 8988 7228

Professor Flint’s ‘A Brief History of Life, the Universe, and Everything’ – Oaklands Park, SA

Every great story has a hero. In ‘Professor Flint’s A Brief History of Life, the Universe, and Everything,’ life itself, and its awesome ability to adapt and survive across billions of years, is the hero. Join Professor Flint and performers from the Adelaide Youth Theatre on this delightful, paleontological, musical adventure and discover where you and your family fit in to this extraordinary story.

Saturday 13 August Event details

Can scientists spin and spot the Bull S…cience – Adelaide, SA

What do the moon landings, global warming, and vaccination all have in common? They’re conspiracies perpetuated by scientists, right? WRONG!

Just how hard it is to get scientists to believe BS (bad science)? The Science Nation is holding a contest of intelligence, interrogation and intimidation that sees a lineup of scientists each trying to have their peers believe complete and utter BS.

Adelaide’s participants include: metaboloepigeneticist and comic Dr Hannah Brown; botanist and molecular biologist Associate Professor Rachel Burton; anthropologist and evolutionary scientist Professor Alan Cooper; physical chemist and surface scientist Dr Andrew Stapleton; and paleontologist, RiAus Director and train aficionado Dr Paul Willis.

Wednesday 17 August Event details

Organiser and host Andrew Stephenson is available for interviews. Contact Andrew directly via info@thesciencenation.com or 0421 400 688.

Prokhorov LaserShow: highlighting Far North Queensland’s Nobel hero – Townsville, Smithfield and Atherton, QLD

How many Australians know that one of the co-inventors of the laser is from regional Queensland? A series of public presentations in Townsville, Smithfield and Atherton will highlight the curious story of Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Prokhorov, born in 1916 in the Atherton Tablelands, who subsequently returned with his parents to their Russian homeland.

The LaserShow is a 45-minute interactive show with demonstrations and audience participation, followed by a Q&A session.

Wednesday 17 to Saturday 20 August Event details

Scientists available for interviews.
Contact: Errol Hunt, errol@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0423 139 210

What’s happening down south and why should we care? – Hobart and Launceston, TAS

Find out from a water and sea ice expert, a biologist, and an ice sheet expert what’s going on with the Southern Ocean and Antarctica and what this means for Tasmania and beyond in public lectures to be held in Hobart and Launceston. These presentations will be followed by a panel discussion with the audience and will be streamed live online.

Experts from diverse backgrounds speaking for 15 minutes on the topic of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, and a 40-minute panel discussion with the audience. The speakers include Professor Matt King, Dr Delphine Lannuzel, and Dr Mary-Anne Lea, with Dr Guy Williams as master of ceremonies.

Hobart: Tuesday 16 August Event details
Launceston: Wednesday 17 August Event details

Microscopic battles in the large intestine – Melbourne, VIC

What does World War I have in common with your large intestine? Find out in a new graphic novel The Invisible War, to be launched at the Royal Society of Victoria.

The story is set in 1916, partly around the muddy trenches of World War One, and partly in the mucus-lined trenches of a nurse’s large intestine. It describes a vast, unseen world populated by bacteria and viruses, where microscopic battles between ancient enemies are waged on a daily basis.

The afternoon will feature an exhibition of original artwork by Ben Hutchings(illustrator of The Invisible War) and an interdisciplinary panel discussion led by The Science Show’s Robyn Williams.

Saturday 20 Aug Event details Enquiries: Mike Flattley,rsv@sciencevictoria.org.au or 03 9663 5259

Why NASA’s hunt for water in the solar system is the hunt for life – Canberra, ACT

Are we living alone in the universe? How did life emerge on Earth?

Searching for signs of water and understanding what’s on and under the surface of Earth, the Moon, Venus, Mercury, and Mars is important in the search for signs of life.

Explore ice on comets from the ROSETTA mission and take a look at NASA’s future plans to probe subsurface water on Jupiter’s icy moons in a public lecture from visiting planetary s
cientist Dr Essam Heggy, from the University of Southern California NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Sunday 21 August Event details

Black holes in Ulverstone and bright ideas in Hobart – Tasmania’s National Science Week and TastroFest launch

Ulverstone – launch media call

12 August 2016, launch event at 10:30am Gawler Room in the Ulverstone Civic Centre, Patrick Street, Ulverstone.

  • From Penguin to NASA and beyond – presentation from Tasmanian-born, internationally renowned astrophysicist Dr Jules Harnett
  • National Science Week and TastroFest to be launched by Minister for Information Technology and Innovation, Mr Michael Ferguson, MP
  • Hosted by Andy Baird, Chair, National Science Week Committee Tasmania, Deputy Director Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Contact for the launch and TastroFest is Brittany Trubody, Cultural Facilities and Events Officer, Central Coast Council: (03) 6429 8927,brittany.trubody@centralcoast.tas.gov.au

Hobart – media opportunities at the Festival of Bright Ideas
12 August 2016, 9am – 11am, Princes Wharf 1, Castray Esplanade, Hobart

The Festival of Bright Ideas Schools Day has opportunities for great vision and talent for interviews, ahead of the public day on Saturday.

  • Meet US space historian and TV presenter Amy Shira Teitel, who will be sharing her love of retro rocket science
  • See local science communicator Jeremy Just demonstrate cool science with liquid nitrogen
  • Sample the science of food with the visiting Questacon Tasty Science Show
  • Plus plenty of visiting school children.

Contact: Jenni Klaus, Communications Manager – National Science Week Tasmania, jenni.klaus@utas.edu.au, 0414 701 134

While National Science Week officially runs between 13-21 August Australia-wide, in Tasmania we have to call it Science Month! With over 100 events to choose from including several unique festivals, there is genuinely something for everyone. In the south, the Festival of Bright Ideas (Saturday 13 August) will dazzle Hobart’s waterfront with spectacular science shows, workshops, talks and more. TastroFest returns to the northwest, investigating the secrets among the stars (12-14 August) and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston will hold their annual Science Open Season (12-19 August).

Guest speakers have come from all over the world including Space Historian Amy Shira Teitel, who regularly hangs out with NASA crew and staff! Amy has travelled from sunny Los Angeles, California, taking time out from filming for TV and web to speak at the Festival of Bright Ideas and TastroFest, as well as local schools, as part of her whirlwind Australian tour. Ruben Meerman (the Surfing Scientist) of Catalyst fame has a top secret laser show scheduled for the Festival of Bright Ideas. Astrophysicist and Penguin native Dr Jules Harnett returns to Tasmania to speak at TastroFest, and in Hobart via the Royal Society, about her life’s work.

State-wide, there are events at museums, art galleries, cafes, farms, and even pubs, most of them totally free! National Science week is for all Australians: artists, corporate execs, families, students, librarians, tradies, retirees, you name it! There’s an event to suit everyone.

For more information and event listings, please visit www.scienceweek.net.au

Costa the half human/half hedge talks ecoscience in Alice Springs

The three-day desertSMART EcoFair brings science and sustainability to the fore in Alice Springs, with activities focused on solar energy, climate change and sustainable living.

The 2016 program sees the event expand across multiple venues including Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, Alice Springs Community Garden, Earth Sanctuary and Alice Springs Desert Park.

EcoFair ambassador Costa Georgiadis (Gardening Australia) will be present at all EcoFair events throughout the weekend, bringing with him his passion and enthusiasm for soil science, biodiversity and food security.

For more information and the EcoFair program go to www.ecofair.org.au

Media interviews available with Costa today: Friday 11-1pm, 2-3.30pm
Contact: Nicole Pietsch 08 8952 2497 or 0429 333 960

3,000 students in one giant practical science lesson – Brisbane

12 August 2016, 9am – 12 noon, Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre, Cnr Merivale and Glenelg Streets, South Brisbane

  • Approximately 3,000 students in Years 5 – 10 will be involved in breaking the Guinness World Records title for the largest practical science lesson.

Contact: Kylie Kraus, Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist,kylie.kraus@chiefscientist.qld.gov.au, 07 3215 3769

Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/guinness-world-record-science-lesson-attempt

Gravitational waves, drones and bettongs – Canberra’s Science Week launch

Canberra launch event – get into the groove of gravitational waves

12 August 2016, launch event at 6pm – 7:30pm, Old Bus Depot, 21 Wentworth Avenue , Kingston

  • Professor Susan Scott shares the story of her involvement with the discovery of gravitational waves, predicted by Einstein 100 years ago
  • Drumming and dance performances inspired by gravitational waves
  • Minister Chris Bourke attending

Drones, bettongs, life on other planets or the best-kept secrets about space travel…what will you discover in Canberra this National Science Week?

National Science Week starts on Friday in Canberra, with more than 110 events registered for this year’s edition. From international guest speakers to scavenger hunts, technology workshops and hands-on experiments, there is something for everyone.

Join our launch (August 12, 6pm, Old Bus Depot) to start National Science Week with a bang! Discover gravitational waves like you have never heard them before, thanks to Professor Susan Scott and Fresh Funk!

Explore the incredible science done here in the ACT at Science in ACTion! Marvel at drones, learn to extract DNA or learn how Canberra is reintroducing the bettong, its cutest and fluffiest engineer, at Mulligans Flat! Last year, more than 5,000 people visited Science in ACTion, interacting with Canberra’s thought leaders.

Discover the secret history of space travel, thanks to Amy Shira Teitel, our international guest speaker for the 2016 edition of National Science Week.

Watch movies the sciencey way: discover Interstellar, I, Robot and The Martian in a brand new light, thanks to our experts! Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths,Dr Brad Tucker, Dr Damith Herath and Dr Penny King, together with other science experts, will share their knowledge and bust some myths!

The public is also invited to explore and experience Canberra’s unparalleled scientific talent: why not meet with the 2016 ACT Scientist of the Year, in conversation with Dr Amber Beavis or learn about climate change in a relaxed environment during the Big Climate Trivia Night, with Dr Sophie Lewis (ANU),Dr Anna McDonald (UC) and Dr Kate Auty, Environment Commissioner for the ACT.

“Canberra has a strong history of achievements in science, research and education, and in creating inventive solutions to real world problems. This makes Canberra the ideal host for National Science Week,” Chief Minister Andrew Barr said. “Be inspired by the brilliant possibilities that light up our future”.

National Science Week in the ACT is proudly supported by the Australian Government – Inspiring Australia, and the ACT Government.


Cuddly animals, a biohacker and electric vehicles get Perth Science Festival going

Media call: 13 August at 10am, Perth Cultural Centre, with:

  • International visitor biohacker Ellen Jorgenson, bringing biotech and open science together
  • Governor of Western Australia, the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC
  • Perth’s Lord Mayor Lisa-M. Scaffidi
  • Welcome to Country conducted by Ingrid Cummings from Codeswitch
  • The launch will conclude with a giant rainbow science explosion

With over 60 stallholders and performers at this free event, there will be incredible visuals from the range of hands-on activities and science fun, music, film (and of course, explosions!) happening throughout the festival.

Special guests include visiting scientist and biohacker Dr Ellen Jorgensen (whose TEDGlobal talk ‘Biohacking – you can do it too’ has received over 1 million views online), and ‘BirdMan’ and local ABC 720 radio guest Eric McCrum.

Highlights this year will include the RAC electric vehicle zone, Scitech live shows and the nationally touring comedy-theatre show STEMania. The World Biotech Tour hosted at Scitech from August 15 – 21 will also have a presence at the Perth Science Festival at the World Biotech Tent.

This event is free and open to the public. To find out more about the event visit:scienceweek.net.au/WA

Contact: Carmen Smith, Science Partnerships Catalyst, Scitech,carmen.smith@scitech.org.au, 08 9215 0739

More about Science in Public

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Kind regards,

Niall Byrne

Creative Director
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