Frogs, fermentation, phones from space, where’s wallaby, and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Saturday 15 August 2020

Highlights from day one of National Science Week

145 events and exhibitions, 559 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

Researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country.

  • National: Discover new species, map wildlife, track the effects of climate change
  • Queensland: What’s the connection between NASA and phytoplankton?
  • Adelaide: Forget the Telstra shop. Your smartphone came from the stars. Find out how.
  • Sydney: Identify a frog and see the emu in the sky on the Sydney Science Trail
  • Tasmania: Famous Tasmanians talk science in the wilderness.
  • Darwin: Can you brew a decent beer using a wild yeast caught from a backyard in Darwin?
  • Tasmania: What is a sourdough library? Fermentation in focus

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

Also today:

National Science Week 2020 runs from 15 to 23 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au. Or visit the National Science Week website for more events and activities: www.scienceweek.net.au.

For general Science Week media enquiries:

Tanya Ha: tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863
Niall Byrne: niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0417 131 977

More about the event highlights

The Great Aussie BioQuest: help scientists map where the wild things are

Grab your chance to discover a new species by joining in the Great Aussie BioQuest – a gigantic, nationwide citizen science project to discover how climate change is affecting Australia’s wildlife.

Gamers have found animals never seen before, such as the spider Ornodolmedes benrevelli, named after Ben Revell, the gamer who photographed it. Other species of moths, spiders and insects are in the process of being formally described and confirmed.

BioQuest participants log sightings of plants, animals or fungi using the QuestaGame smartphone app—everything from wattles to wallabies. All sightings are expert-verified and given a “remarkability score”.

Information is uploaded to the open-access Atlas of Living Australia to help researchers make decisions about protecting the environment.

Saturday 15 August until Sunday 23 August Event details

QuestaGame image library (please credit photos with the full text of each file name)

Actually, it’s Phytoplankton! Ocean Ecology & NASA’s PACE Mission Podcast

Whale poop? Oil slick? Actually, it’s phytoplankton. Visible from space, these marine microorganisms are integral to all life.

Go2Qurious presents a new science and oceanography podcast designed especially for middle schoolers. Join host Dr Jamie Coull, and oceanographer co-hosts Dr Lachlan McKinna and Dr Ivona Cetinć  to explore ocean ecology and NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud and ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission.

There are fantastic science prizes to be won, and the podcast can be enjoyed by students, teachers and families alike.

More information: www.go2qurious.com.

Saturday 15 August – Saturday 26 September.  Event details.

Jamie Coull, Lachlan McKinna and Ivona Cetinć are available for interview.

Paradoxical objects at MOD

The clothes you wear, the cutlery you eat with, the device you’re reading this on – they all come from the stars.

Join artist and futurist Ana Tiquia during her online residency at the University of Adelaide’s MOD museum to explore our material world, following everyday objects through time from the start of the Universe, through Earth’s geological periods, to extraction, manufacturing and transportation.  

Suggest an object to Ana in her space-time travel agency. If she likes it, she will trace its cosmic origins and offer personalised planetary travel guidance to its owner.

Tuesday 21 July – Friday 4 September. Event details

Ana Tiquia available for media interviews.

Sydney Science Trail

Explore ocean depths previously unseen. Discover the resilience of the Australian bush when hit by fire. Identify a frog and spy a Wollemi pine. Gain an understanding of First Nations’ approaches to science and the world around us.

Sydney Science Trail is an online adventure exploring the theme of ‘Adaptation’, bringing together scientists, community groups, and institutions to celebrate Australian research.

It inspires users to enjoy virtual activities, digital exhibitions, live-streamed talks and demonstrations, covering vital areas of science, from plants and animals to earth, technology and space.

Sydney Science Trail is an initiative of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and the Australian Museum. It offers curriculum-related content produced in partnership with the NSW Department of Education, Macquarie University, UTS and ANSTO.

Saturday 15 August – 15 September. Event details

Sci Art Walks: audio-escapes in Tasmania’s wilderness

Sci Art Walks is a series of musical works, featuring unscripted talks by some of the state’s prominent scientists and cultural icons.

Join mathematical gambler and MONA founder David Walsh, marine ecologist Professor Gretta Pecl, musician Brian Ritchie, Guardian Australia cartoonist First Dog on the Moon, mathematician Professor Barbara Holland, and more.

Each episode will be paired with a suggested walking trail, located in parks and reserves, such as Cradle Mountain, Freycinet National Park and the Tasman Peninsula.

From Saturday 15 August. Event details

At yeast there’ll be beer—Darwin, NT

Without yeast, beer would just be bitter, sugary water. This talk is all about what different yeasts do, where they come from and the perils of trying to make beer with a wild yeast we captured in a Darwin backyard.

Afterwards, there will be tastings of the same beer made with different yeasts, including a truly local Darwin brew.

Saturday 15 August. Event details

Ferment-Home-Station—TAS

Get hands-on with the ancient techniques of fermenting foods such as sourdough, sauerkraut and kimchi in your own kitchen! Ask questions of world experts, take a virtual tour the Belgium’s unique Sourdough Library, and join in the quest to find Tasmania’s oldest sourdough.

Look down a microscope and see what’s happening to your  your sourdough starter. 

Saturday 15 August – Sunday 23 August Event details

More about National Science Week

National Science Week is one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year 1.5 million people participated in more than 2050 events around the country, in metropolitan, regional and remote locations.

In 2020, the festival is almost entirely virtual, online, DIY and well-spaced. This means most events, large and small, is open to anyone, no matter where they live.

National Science Week 2020 will run from 15 to 23 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au, public event listings at www.scienceweek.net.au.