AI, astro-stars, arachnid art, and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Sunday 12 August 2018

Highlights from day two of National Science Week

129 events and exhibitions, 12 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.


  • A virtual reality tour of the invisible Universe with astrophysicists Alan Duffy and Rebecca Allen at the State Library
  • Meet your wild neighbours at Coolart Wetlands


  • How will humanity live with intelligent machines? Good and bad robots at the Opera House


  • Virtual reality and robotics, Questacon activities, game development, music technology, 3D printing, citizen science, science films, and threatened species at Bega’s Science Festival


  • Meet NASA scientist Andrew Rushby, an astrobiologist and planet hunter


  • Can dance help disadvantaged girls to engage with science? Visiting US dancer says yes!
  • Census time for Perth’s bugs and slugs


  • Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking: the famous dead scientist (and his two wives and mum) brought to life on stage

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

Also today:

National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw 1.2 million people participate in more than 2,100 events and activities.

In 2018, National Science Week celebrates its 21st birthday, with events held throughout Australia—from Corals in the Outback in Queensland to astronomy in the Apple Isle, and from STEM meets dance in Perth to The Innovation Games at Sydney Olympic Park—with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

National Science Week 2018 will run from 11 to 19 August. Media kit at Or visit the National Science Week website for the details of events in your area:

For general Science Week media enquiries:

Tanya Ha: or 0404 083 863
Niall Byrne: or 0417 131 977


More about the event highlights

Immersive Science II: a virtual reality tour of the invisible universe—Melbourne

From the outer reaches of the cosmos to the tiny world of the microcosmos, how can you see the science that’s invisible to the naked eye?

Science communicators and researchers, Associate Professor Alan Duffy and Dr Rebecca Allen, will host Immersive Science II, guiding audiences through the Universe and the ripples in the fabric of spacetime, and exploring the nano- and microscopic realms—all with the help of immersive virtual reality technology.

Alan and Rebecca will answer questions from the audience and those submitted via social media. There is a day-time event for families at the State Library (today), an evening event for adults at the Mountain Goat Brewery (Thursday), and regional viewing parties and online video streaming.

Sunday 12 and Thursday 16 August Event details (multiple locations)

Media enquiries: Alan Duffy,

Science in the Park: Wildlife Counts—Coolart Wetlands and Homestead, Somers

Care for a spot of frog calling, water bug identification, bird watching, or koala spotting? The Science in the Park: Wildlife Counts event at the Coolart Wetlands and Homestead Reserve in Somers, will be the focus of free science activities on the Mornington Peninsula catering for all ages. PrimeSCI!, along with universities, state and local organisations and volunteer groups, will host a day of science presentations, science displays and hands-on activities, wildlife monitoring, and education on sustainable practices in the unique wetland environments of the Coolart Reserve.

Ian Temby, author of Wild Neighbours, will be a key speaker, along with Dr Andrea Hinwood, Victoria’s first-ever Chief Environmental Scientist.

Sunday 12 August Event details

Media contacts: Chris Palframan

Good Robot, Bad Robot: Living with Intelligent Machines—Sydney

Robots are becoming an increasingly important part of our lives. If robots can be everything from carers to warriors, what will this mean for human lives?

Join former Catalyst presenter Paul Willis at the Sydney Opera House for a panel event with Toby Walsh (UNSW Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence), Ellen Broad (independent consultant and expert in data sharing, open data and AI ethics) and Hae Won Park (research scientist in the Personal Robots Group at MIT Media Lab.)

Sunday 12 August Event details

Media contact: Matt Fraser,, 02 8065 7363 or 0401 326 007

UK actor brings dead scientists (Einstein and Curie) to life on stage—Brisbane

“If at first you don’t succeed, pretend,” says acclaimed science theatre writer/performer John Hinton, who has made a career out of his interest in science, story-telling and singing.

Two of his three Tangram Theatre Company ‘Scientrilogy’ shows are returning to Australia for National Science Week, after successful UK shows, and an award-winning season at the Adelaide Fringe festival.

Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking tells the story of the eccentric theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, accompanied by his two wives and mum on the piano, and by guest rapper MC Squared. The show quantum leaps through two world wars, two theories of relativity, and the deployment of two very big bombs.

Sunday 12 to Monday 13 August Event details

Media contacts: Michelle Cooper, or 0420 507 374

Meet the NASA scientists and planet hunters—Adelaide

Pantheon of Planets Similar to Earth Artist Concept (Credit: NASA_Ames_JPL-Caltech)

NASA scientists are headed to Australia, bringing Saturn to Sydney, new planets to Perth, and more.

Meet NASA scientist Andrew Rushby, an astrobiologist, exoplaneteer and Exocast podcaster at The University of Adelaide today or The Gov tomorrow.

What have we learnt from the hundreds of planets discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope? How will the information beamed back to Earth continue to advance science once Kepler runs out of fuel this year? Will we find more worlds outside our solar system? Are we alone in the Universe?

The planets found by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, around stars other than our sun, aren’t anything like the planets in our solar system. With a closer look at the variety of planets from the Kepler mission, we are beginning to put the solar system into context to be able to zoom in on the best opportunities for the future exploration of life in the Universe.

NASA’s recently launched Terrestrial Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will discover planets around the nearest and brightest stars, providing new opportunities for discovery.

Sunday 12 August Event details and Monday 13 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Brad Tucker,, 02 6125 6711 or 0433 905 777

Teaching STEM… through dance! —Mandurah

Can dance help disadvantaged girls to engage in STEM and become the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technologists? US dancer and algebra teacher Yamilée Toussaint says it can. She’s the Founder and CEO of STEM From Dance.

Yamilée has personally experienced the benefits of a STEM education and dance. After studying mechanical engineering at MIT and being an avid dancer for 21 years, she switched gears to teach high school algebra in an under-served community in East New York, Brooklyn through Teach For America.

Yamilée is the keynote speaker at the WA launch of National Science Week. While in Australia, she will also speak at the Curtain University’s ‘Moving to Learn’ event and present a two-hour science-meets-dance workshop for people aged 15-25 who live in the Peel region.

Workshop: Sunday 12 August. Event details

Moving to Learn: Monday 13 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Emmaline Yearsley,, 08 9215 0739 or 0407 809 508

Minibeasts in MyCity: Perth’s insect census—Western Australian Museum

Is that a friendly bee in your garden, pollinating your fruit tree? Can you tell if that’s a cicada singing or is it something else?

Minibeasts in MyCity is a new Perth science project that will deputise local citizens to join the effort to map biodiversity, help protect our food and environment, and contribute to better designed cities the world over. People can spot and report invertebrates using the MyPestGuide™ Reporter app in a campaign that is focused on biodiversity and urban ecology. People can report minibeasts in their suburbs or at special sites and activities in the City of Perth, where that information will help the city develop its biodiversity framework.

The initiative also allows people to hear from local expert entomologists and Aboriginal people, and includes public talks and displays on biodiversity, taxonomy, urban design, community gardening, and ‘junior curator’ workshops.

Saturday 4 to Sunday 19 August. Event details

Sunday 12 August Minibeasts Field Day Event details

Media enquiries: Simon Carroll, or 0409 943 185

Bega Valley Science Festival—Bega

Virtual reality and robotics, Questacon’s ‘Fascinating Science’ activities, game development, music technology, 3D printing, citizen science, science films, and threatened species are just some of the activities and attractions among seven days of science at the Bega Valley Science Festival.

Sunday 12 to Saturday 18 August Event details

Event enquiries: Scott Baker, or 02 6499 2172