Wine science; pulse checks for politicians; microplastics; a kids coding hackathon; and more

Bulletins, Media bulletins

Highlights from day four of National Science Week:

454 events and exhibitions, 21 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

National and international talent, researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country. Plenty of photo opportunities.






Read on for more on all of these, including event contact details.

Also today:

National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw a staggering 1.3 million people participate in more than 1,800 events and activities.

In 2017, National Science Week celebrates its 20th birthday, with 2,000+ events registered throughout Australia— from insect Olympics in Darwin to ‘Blood’ at Melbourne’s new Science Gallery, to Antarctic science in the Apple Isle—with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

Visit the National Science Week website for the details of events in your area:

For general Science Week media enquiries:

More about the event highlights


Worms & Honey—Unlikely Heroes—Ultimo, NSW

Could worms be the answer to halting Multiple Sclerosis? Could honey be the answer to antibiotic resistance? This double feature explores these unlikely heroes.

Meet Sheila Donnelly, the parasitologist who thinks that parasitic worms may be able to help stop the progression of MS.

And meet microbiologist, Nural Cokcetin, who  is working on alternatives for treating antibiotic resistant skin infections. She thinks Australian honey could be a a medicinal powerhouse.

Tuesday 15 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Nicole Tuohy, or 02 9514 1777, 0419 222 329

How strong is a politician’s handshake? Grip strength and other health checks at Parliament House—Darwin, NT


Strong handshakes, but high blood pressure? How would our policy makers fare on a health check?

HealthLAB is a mobile Science Week event that brings health checks and information about science and medical careers to multiple locations across the Territory, starting with Parliament House.

HealthLAB participants will undertake personal health measures and learn about healthy lifestyle choices. Through a series of hands-on activities, participants will learn how today’s lifestyle choices impact on immediate and long-term personal health.

The stations include:

  •  Blood Pressure—an opportunity to discuss healthy lifestyle choices related to exercise and diet.
  •  Haemoglobin levels—an opportunity to discuss healthy diet and its importance to health.
  •  Grip Strength—an activity which measures upper body strength.
  • Bio Impedance machine—which measures fat/muscle/bone ratios and explores healthy weight ranges. This station is run by HealthLAB’s dietician and participants can ask questions and explore ways to make positive choices for a healthier diet.
  • Sugar display—which shows the amount of sugar in common drinks.
  • Smokerlyser—which measures smoke exposure to individuals including smokers.
  • Ultra sound machine—an opportunity for participants to see the inner workings of their bodies looking at organs and blood flow.

Tuesday 15 August at Parliament House. Event details
All dates and locations

Event enquiries: Nicole Boyd, or 08 8946 8539

The Complete Wine Science Spectrum—North Adelaide, SA

Like a good red wine? Prefer white? How about orange? Wine colour can reveal more about the chemistry and biology of wine than just its appearance.
Australian Wine Research Institute scientists can tell you more.

Jacqui McRae knows the proteins that give white wine a haze and how tannins influence red wine texture. Simon Dillon can tell you how living yeast turns grape juice into wine.

Find out the origins of wine colour in Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc and discover how colour can make a Cabernet Sauvignon meatier than a Chardonnay. Find out why orange wine is the new rosé. Maybe you just want to know what the colour of an aged wine means for flavour and texture.

An evening of activities, myth-busting, information… and wine tasting.

Tuesday 15 August. Event details. Wine scientists are available for interviews.

Media enquiries: Ella Robinson, or 08 8313 6600

Young scientists present Health Science for Seniors—Hove, SA

Young scientists have some healthy advice for senior (50+) Australians on a range of healthy ageing topics, including:

  • Dr Ashleigh Smith—getting active for a healthy body and brain into old age
  • Bradley Simpson—what can we learn from Indigenous knowledge about bush medicines, health and wellbeing?
  • Dr Laura Weyrich—how your body’s resident bacteria help keep you healthy
  • Dr Hannah Keage—how to prevent late-life dementia
  • Dr Carol Maher—exercise and healthy ageing
  • Dr Dominic Thewlis—the lowdown on hip and knee replacements

Science for Seniors is a new initiative to provide a series of engaging and interesting seminars on current research on health and aging for seniors (50+)  in the local community.

Tuesday 15 August. Event details
Thursday 17 August. Event details

Media and event enquiries: Sarah Bray, or 0410 498 122

Plastic pollution in the oceans: problems and solutions—Battery Point, Tas

Three speakers will provide a range of perspectives about the challenges of plastic and what we can do in our everyday to help.

Dr Heidi Auman has worked as a biologist for most of the past 25 years, focusing mainly on seabird biology. Her research is global in nature with a preference for isolated islands, including those of the US Great Lakes, sub-tropical Midway Atoll, sub-Antarctic Heard Island, and Tasmania. Her specialisations focus upon human impacts on seabirds, including plastic debris ingestion, toxicology, human disturbance, physiology, urbanisation, and diet.

Dr Scott Ling has spent two decades working in and out of the water and his research spans a broad range of temperate marine ecological challenges. He is also an award winning science educator and communicator. Scott will present his work on plastic microbeads and their impact on the environment.

Luise Grossman, environmental campaigner, one of the founders of the Five Oceans initiative that aims to establish productive recycling infrastructure, will discuss the development of the ecoFIn, the world’s first surfboard fin made from recycled plastic waste from some of the world’s most polluted beaches in Indonesia and show a short video.

Tuesday 15 August. Event details

Luise Grossman, Dr Heidi Auman, Dr Scott Ling are all available for media interviews.

Media enquiries: Anita Gowers, or 03 6226 2521.

Big Changes in Big Places: Oceans and Ice—Sandy Bay and Launceston, Tas

The oceans and ice play a major role in the past, current and future of the Earth’s climate. How is this changing? Hear from:

  • Dr Stephanie Downes, physical oceanographer, will detail how and why the big climate changes we see and hear about (increasing carbon dioxide, air pollution, global warming, sea level rise) are not uniformly spread around the global ocean and continents.
  • Dr Felicity Graham, an ice sheet specialist, will talk about the stability of ice sheets, and what the major sea level changes could be if everything melted.
  • Dr Mathieu Mongin, a biogeochemical modeler will highlight the major role that Tasmanian researchers play in modelling and tackling the decimation of reefs, and detail the impacts of ocean acidification.

After three short talks, the Master of Ceremonies, Dr Tas van Ommen from the Australian Antarctic Division, will lead a Q&A session.

Tuesday 15 August. Hobart Event details

Wednesday 16 August. Launceston Event details

Media enquiries: David Reilly, ACE CRC Public Affairs Manager, 03 6226 2380 or 0428 510 641; or Craig Macaulay, AMOS-Tasmanian Regional Centre Public Affairs Manager, 0488 005 752.

Becoming Martian: talk and book launch—Bentley, WA

How will our bodies adapt to life in 38 per cent gravity? How will having no hope of return to Earth affect the colonist’s minds? How will becoming a dual-planet species forever change how we see ourselves and our place in the universe?

Physicist and comedian Josh Richards wants a one-way ticket to Mars. He’s a candidate astronaut for the Mars One mission.

His new book Becoming Martian give a humourous and informative account of his journey so far.

Tuesday 15 August Event details

Media enquiries: Josh Richards, or 0481 303 457