Coober Pedy under the sea, Perth’s slug census, what makes us human?

Media releases, National Science Week

Sunday 19 August 2018

Highlights from the final day of National Science Week

110 events and exhibitions, 13 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.


  • Why does food taste different when you have a cold? And how do your neurons communicate? Meet your brain and find out
  • Revisit Coober Pedy when it was under sea: paeleontology meets musical theatre


  • Art explores what makes us human, now and in the future
  • What can Western science learn from 60,000+ years of Indigenous knowledge and culture?


  • The science of living more sustainably: expo on the Canning
  • Counting minibeasts: it’s census time for Perth’s bugs and slugs
  • Science and recipes for feeding yourself and your microbiome


  • Close-up photos of the beautiful killers of biomedical science

Gold Coast

  • Live Show Zone, Tech Zone, Science Walk, Butterfly Zone, Marine Zone and Drone Zone—all at a pop-up science centre

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

Also today:

  • Upper Allyn, NSW: amateur and professional ecologists join forces to count koalas
  • Melbourne: bizarre whales, tiny dinosaurs, fossil insects, and the giants of the Ice Age: how Melbourne Museum prepares fossils for show
  • Canberra: see Macrocosmia—an exhibition of glass sculpture inspired by microscopic organic structures

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.

National Science Week 2018 officially ends 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

Kids Navigate Neuroscience—Adelaide

Why doesn’t food taste as good when we have a cold? How do neurons communicate? What does the brain look like up close? Come and meet your brain to find out.

In this fun and interactive children’s event, kids (aged 6 to 11) will explore how the brain and nervous system work by participating in a series of interactive neuroscience exhibits, created by faculty and students at the Adelaide Medical School at the University of Adelaide.

Examine how information moves between neurons by playing a game of Synaptic Ping Pong, build layers (meninges) around an egg to see what types of protection are best for the brain, explore how optical illusions work, look at human brains up close, and more. At each station, children can collect a stamp in their ‘Passport to the Brain’, and work towards earning an official ‘Brain in Training’ certificate.

This year, in addition to the main event, there will be the ‘Neuroscience Nexus’, where people of all ages can come and discover fun and interactive neuroscience booths.

Sunday 19 August Event details

Media enquiries: Lyndsey Collins-Praino, or 08 8313 5488

Either Lyndsey Collins-Praino and Renée Turner are available for media interviews.

In the shadows of our prehistoric past—Naracoorte, Coober Pedy, Leigh Creek, Parachilna & Adelaide

Palaeontology meets music and theatre in a series of performances in locations in regional and metro Australia, exploring their history through the arts and sciences.

The people of Winton walk in the shadows of the dinosaurs that lived there millions of years ago. Those in Parachilna, the Flinders Ranges, step amongst the slime-prints of the first large animals found on Earth, the Ediacarans. And what we now know as Coober Pedy was once the prehistoric Eromanga Sea.

In the shadows of our prehistoric past is a storytelling experience that travels to different locations to reveal their prehistoric stories and the science behind them.

From Sunday 19 August, multiple date and locations Event details

Media enquiries: Michael Mills, or 0411 287 381

Human non Human—Powerhouse Museum, NSW

Art, science and speculation converge in Human non Human, an exhibition that asks the questions: What makes us human? How might humans adapt in the future?

Addressing four fundamental aspects of human experience: Food, Work, Sex and Belief, Human non Human responds to the impact of accelerating technology, connectivity and a rapidly changing environment.

Featuring artists Lindsay Kelley, Liam Young, Maria Fernanda Cardoso and Ken Thaiday with Jason Christopher, these works combine many perspectives, including architecture, design, biotechnology, botany, chemistry, film and performance. This series of immersive installations offer space in which to consider the past, present and possible futures of human and non-human relationships.

Image: Still from Renderlands, 2018, from video work by Liam Young

Tuesday 7 to Sunday 19 August Event details

Media enquiries: MAAS Publicist Eli Wallis, 02 9217 0564

Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern

What can Aboriginal astronomy tell us about the night sky? How is our native flora used in bush medicine? What can we learn about sustainable living from 60,000+ years of Indigenous culture?

The Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern is a celebration of Indigenous and Western science, and Indigenous youth and Elder achievements. Part of the Sydney Science Festival and National Science Week, the four-day event at the Redfern Community Centre will demonstrate the value of traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledge in science and technology, and the relevance of science to our everyday lives.

Family Science Fun Day: Sunday 19 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Joanne Jamie,, 02 98508283, or 0439 170 683

Scitech, solar science and sustainable homes: expo on the Canning—Wilson

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Celebration of Science Community Expo, held on the banks of Canning River.

This year’s event features Gardening Australia presenter Josh Byrne talking about ‘Josh’s House’—the eco-living and housing research lab he calls home. The program has more than 40 activities, including rock bands, solar science, Scitech shows, native animal encounters, Aboriginal presenters, waste as a resource, bug science, a recycled wood workshop, native plant give-aways, interactive displays, hands-on demonstrations, presentations and an open speakers forum.

Sunday 19 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Amy Krupa, or 0407 427 054

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 around the world. 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

Media enquiries: Simon Carroll, or 0409 943 185

Recipes for a healthy gut: talk and cooking demo—Wannaroo

Eating your vegetables and whole grains is good for your health… and that of the trillions of bacteria that live in your gut, part of your microbiome.

Having a healthy gut microbiome can reduce the chances of developing a variety of diseases, such as obesity, non-alcoholic liver disease and even certain types of cancer. But a healthy diet is important for both you and your gut flora.

Nutrition researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU) will present a series of sessions for National Science Week in Wanneroo’s libraries that are part science talk and part cooking class.

These events will present the science of why plant-based foods—rich in fibre and resistant starch—are essential to feed the gut microbiome, and share recipes from ECU’s Gut Feeling cookbook.

Thursday 23 to Thursday 30 August Event details

Media enquiries: David Gear, or 08 6304 2288

ECU nutrition researchers Amanda Devine and Jo Rees available for interviews.

Art of Science: the beauty of killers and cures up close—Federation Square, Melbourne

Humanity’s deadliest foe—the mosquito— was caught on camera by scientists Qike Wang and Julie Healer from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s annual Art of Science exhibition at Melbourne’s Federation Square showcases stunning images and videos captured by Australian medical researchers tackling some of the biggest challenges facing global health.

See how blood vessels sprout from a piece of bone grown in the laboratory, watch breast cancer cells as they attempt to run riot in other parts of the body, and be unsettled by a writhing parasite ‘playground’ captured under the microscope with an iPhone.

Friday 10 to Sunday 19 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Arunee Wilson, or 0478 714 757

Scientists turned photographers are available for interviews.

Gold Coast schools pop-up science centre—Gold Coast

Live Show Zone, Tech Zone, Science Walk, Butterfly Zone, Marine Zone and Drone Zone, education involving 60 pool noodles, and more than 250 square meters of hands-on exhibits from Questacon.

Want to know what a science centre would look like on the Gold Coast? Come along for a day filled with the Coast’s very best hands-on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) activities, demonstrations, science shows and special guests.

Sunday 19 August Event details

Media enquiries: Anita Hazell, or 07 5552 7205