Storms on Jupiter, swim with sea dragons, and Australia’s first scientists

Media releases, National Science Week

Friday 21 August 2020

Highlights from day seven of National Science Week

171 events, 325 competitions and online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

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

  • National: Take a virtual reality trip around the solar system
  • VIC: Taste tomorrow: want to try some fake meat, sautéed spider and lobster lollies?
  • VIC: What will beer taste like in the future?
  • ACT: Who are the Indigenous STEM leaders, from maths to medicine?
  • NSW: Stones, bones, irrigation, and eel farming: hear about Australia’s first engineers
  • SA: What can you learn about gravitational wave detection via Minecraft?
  • NT: STEMfit: Can sport kick off a love for science and technology?
  • WA: Shrink your plastic footprint with a sea shepherdess

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

Also today:

Coming up:

Dancing with stick insects, healing nature, and what’s in your sourdough? – see a preview of Saturday’s highlights

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

More about the event highlights

SciVR: a virtual reality trip around the solar system—National

Discover storms on Jupiter, exploding stars and mysterious signals from space. From global events using dozens of telescopes to watching the sky in Australia, SciVR takes audiences on a virtual reality tour of the Universe using a smartphone app and a foldable VR headset.

SciVR comprises two online events, presented by astrophysicists Rebecca Allen and Alan Duffy, live-streamed to homes and venues (where COVID-19 restrictions allow) around the country. They will include Auslan interpreting. The second is especially for children.

Friday 21 – Saturday 22 August. Event details

Rebecca Allen and Alan Duffy available for media interviews.

Taste tomorrow: fake meat, sauteed spider and lobster lollies— VIC

Taste the future by ordering a mystery box of sustainable and nutritious goodies including fake meat, insect flour, seaweed snacks, farm-to-plate disease-free animals or bioengineered crops.

Join scientists, nutritionists and chefs for these online events, open your box and  explore the taste, sustainability and nutritional benefits of its contents. While you’re at it, hear from the scientists researching what you’ll be eating in 2050.

Friday 21 August. Event details

Dr Kim Johnson from La Trobe University Institute for Agriculture and Food is available for interviews.

Brewing futures—VIC

How will climate change impact beer production? In years to come, will drinkers still like their ales and lagers?

Join Jon Seltin, head brewer from the Brick Lane Brewing Company, for a spot of beer tasting and to hear his thoughts on the future of brewing.

Pre-booking for this event is essential, because part of the fun is exploring the Brewing Futures tasting kit, which will be mailed out so participants can raise a glass with Jon in real time.

The session also includes a virtual, behind-the-scenes brewery tour, exploring emerging brewing technologies and trends, and examining the important raw ingredients.

Friday 21 August. Event details

Jon Seltin is available for interviews.

STEM Canberra Forum: Future Indigenous leaders of tomorrow being inspired by Indigenous elders of today—Canberra, ACT

This deadly online forum devoted to broadening understanding of studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics is a must for Indigenous students aged between 16 ad 24.

Hear from:

  • Julie Tongs OAM, CEO Winnunga Nimmityjah (Strong Health) Aboriginal Health and Community Services, National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare;
  • Professor Michael Platow, Associate Director (Science Education), ANU Research School of Psychology;
  • Dr Stewart Sutherland, Chair Indigenous Health Framework, ANU Medical School, ANU Indigenous Health Stream;
  • Professor Lovett, Mayi Kuwayu: The National Study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing;
  • Misha Schubert CEO of Science &Technology Australia
  • Professor Chris Matthews, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mathematics Alliance Chair.
  • Professor Hugh R Taylor AC,  Melbourne Laureate Professor Harold Mitchell of Indigenous Eye Health, University of Melbourne;
  • Dr Tanja Hirvonen, Clinical Psychologist/Australian Indigenous Psychology Association steering committee;
  • Karl Briscoe, Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association;
  • Winnifred Knight, medical student ANU and
  • Corey Tutt, Deadly Science founder.

The event is organised in collaboration with peak ACT and national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

Friday 21 August. Event details

Event type: Online

Indigenous Science Experience—NSW

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

Find out the answers to these and other questions during the Indigenous Science Experience.

Since 2012, the Indigenous Science Experience at the Redfern Community Centre has been highlighting the value of traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledge in STEM and the relevance of science to everyday lives. The new online format continues this tradition.

Today’s highlight:

Saturday 15 – Sunday 23 August. Event details

Dive with marine scientists without getting wet!—Sydney, NSW

Scientific diver Carl Fallon and marine biologist Nathalie Simmonds take students on an underwater experience to discover the illusive weedy sea dragon and collect valuable data about the effects of micro-plastics.

This online event is presented by Plastic Oceans Australasia and The Abyss Project (Sydney).

Friday 21 August. Event details

Exploring gravitational wave observatories in Minecraft—Adelaide, SA

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detector in USA is one of the most sensitive scientific instruments ever built. Now scientists from the University of Adelaide have made another one – in Minecraft!

LIGO made the first observations of gravitational waves—ripples in space-time caused by colliding black holes and neutron stars—in 2015, a century after Einstein predicted them.

Explore its Minecraft doppelganger through live online tours given by researchers who work on gravitational wave detectors.

Minecraft users can log in for the tours. Other audiences can watch via a YouTube stream.

Friday 21 – Saturday 22 August. Event details

STEMfit: the maths of motion— Ngukurr School night market, NT

Kids love sport and play. Can sport kick off a love for science and technology?

Sport is ingrained in the Australian psyche and highly valued, yet STEM skills, widely recognised as essential for the jobs of tomorrow don’t get the same glory and attention as sport.

At the market, participants (including students of the Ngukurr school) will try traditional dance and will have their movements monitored using technologies such as wearable sensors, video analysis and radar guns.

By linking a traditional art to STEM, students will act as their own elite athletes and sports scientists to understand how their body moves, how they can improve and challenge their friends.

This project seeks to extend the highly successful STEMfit program developed in remote NT schools to engage Indigenous children in STEM activities. STEMfit uses the tools of sports science and wearable technology, where students investigate their movement patterns using STEM principles.

Friday 21 August. Event details

Zero Waste Workshop—Hopetoun

Join Joelie Russell, Sea Shepherd’s volunteer marine debris coordinator, for a workshop on reducing our plastic footprint. And then meet up in the morning to clean up the local beach.

She will share her experiences working to reduce plastic pollution in the Cocos Islands, Western Australia and Arnhem Land.

Friday 21 August. Event details

Event type: in person

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, public event listings at