Black holes; bull shark bandits; satirical science music; and is AI the next Shakespeare?

Sunday 20 August: highlights from the final day of National Science Week

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

NSW: Dr Karl, furry friends, and First Nations bush food walks at the Sydney Science Trail.

VIC: Shedding light on Black Holes with Melbourne Planetarium astronomer Dr Tanya Hill.

VIC: Is AI the next Shakespeare? See a play written by ChatGPT.

QLD: Meet human and marine stars of National Geographic’s SHARKFEST and Bull Shark Bandits.

QLD: Satirical science music ‘Road to Reason’: album launch at Planetarium.

NSW: Become a poo, race a solar car, explore the moon at the Hunter Science Festival.

NSW: Who makes the ‘laws’ in space? When do you need a space lawyer? Who can mine the moon? – Newcastle.

NT: Paint with a UV torch at ‘Sea of Light’, a light installation at MAGNT.

VIC: Solving great spider crab mysteries, without getting wet, sandy or bitten.

ACT: Keeping brains young with creative computing for seniors.

ACT: Space, robotics, and engineering with LEGO: science while you shop in Canberra’s malls.

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

Also today:

National Science Week 2023 runs from 12 to 22 August.

Visit to find more stories in your area.

Media centre here. Images for media here.

General Science Week media enquiries: Tanya Ha: or 0404 083 863

More about the event highlights

Dr Karl, furry friends, and First Nations bush food walks at the Sydney Science Trail – Mt Annan, NSW

Hear the weirdest science questions answered by Dr Karl, try plant science experiments with the Garden’s botanists, and learn about First Nations science knowledge.

Tour the PlantBank, talk with scientists from the Australian Institute of Botanical Science, see demonstartions and shows on stage, meet Aussie animals close up, and visit more than 20 science stalls when Sydney Science Trail returns to Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.

Sunday 20 August.

Media enquiries: or 02 9231 8122.

Black Holes: Journey into the unknown with Dr Tanya Hill – Carlton, VIC

Black Holes are the opposite of existence, a fact which garners intense curiosity and intrigue. This film narrated by Geoffrey Rush and screened in the darkness of the Neversphere brings the galactic phenomenon to life in vivid detail.

Witness all that is extreme and fascinating about black holes and, after the show, hear from Melbourne Planetarium astronomer Dr Tanya Hill (an establishing member of the Astronomical Society of Australia’s Women in Astronomy Chapter) about the science and discovery of a cosmic truth and triumph of modern science.

Sunday 20 August:

Media enquiries: Museums Victoria media team, or 0466 622 621.

A play written by ChatGPT – West Melbourne, VIC

Is AI the next Shakespeare: can it write a play? How does ChatGPT actually work?

In this show, ChatGPT will generate a three-act play with creative contributions from you, the audience. These words will then be performed by actors as they attempt to humanise the machine-generated scripts of plays that have never been seen before.

This event will also venture into how AI works, the Turing Test, and the role of AI in our future lives and artistic endeavours.

Sunday 20 August:

Media enquiries: Sean Elliott, or 0422 260 116

Meet human and marine stars of National Geographic’s SHARKFEST and Bull Shark Bandits – Currumbin, QLD

Sharks are solitary so how do scientists track their family trees? Why are jellyfish blue? And why do they sting?

What do marine animals find toxic? How and why do whale songs change? How do First Nations peple understand and protect the marine environment?

A dozen marine scientists are on hand to share their knowledge and answer questions, including shark ecologists Dr Johan Gustafson and Dr Mariel Familiar Lopez who feature in the National Geographic documentaries SHARKFEST and Bull Shark Bandits.

Live presentations by researchers. And the chance to see live jellies under the microscope, touch the skin and teeth of sharks, and hear whale songs sung along the Gold Coast.

Sunday 20 August:

Media enquiries: Mariel Familiar Lopez,

Dr Johan Gustafson and Dr Mariel Familiar Lopez are available for media interviews.

Satirical science music ‘Road to Reason’: album launch at Planetarium – Toowong, QLD

Songwriter and Science Communicator Nathan Eggins (aka Conspiracy of One) is bringing his signature sciency music to the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.

Nathan’s pop-rock-funk music explores scientific and psychological concepts while highlighting and satirising many forms of pseudoscience, misinformation and cognitive biases.

Nathan and his band will share songs from his new album ‘Road to Reason’, along with fan favourite science songs like ‘We’re All Aliens, Baby’ and ‘The Sound a Duck Makes’.

Hear eclectic and thought-provoking music while seeing the cosmos via the Skydome.

Sunday 20 August:

Media enquiries: Nathan Eggins, or 0402 593 431.

Become a poo, race a solar car, explore the moon – Newcastle, NSW

Race mini solar vehciles, get digested in the inflatable poo palace, explore giant maps of the Moon and Mars, climb aboard a garbage truck, and plant a pollinator to take home.

The Hunter Science Festival returns to showcase local innovation from the Hunter region.

STEM education expert, Dr Scott Sleap is available for interviews.

Sunday 20 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Laura Boland, Hunter Innovation and Science Hub, 0408 166 426.

Are we space-industry ready? – Newcastle, NSW

Who makes the ‘laws’ in space? When do you need to call a space lawyer? Who can mine the moon? How can school kids get space-industry ready?

And what space-themed drinks should we sip while pondering the universe?

Get the inside scoop on the big emerging questions about space at Newcastle Museum or via a livestream.

Dr Scott Sleap is available for interview. He is a specialist in space and STEM education. He’s collaborated with NASA, Lockheed Martin, and the White House, and advises the Australian Space Agency.

Sunday 20 August:

Media enquiries: Scott Sleap, Sleap Business Consultants Pty Ltd,, 0409 366 504

Painting in a Sea of Light – The Gardens, NT

Sea of Light invites people to explore how light is produced and perceived. Using a UV torch as a paintbrush, participants can paint and stencil their own voyage or create bioluminescent animals in the Discovery Centre at MAGNT.

Children and families can steer ships that leave glowing paths of light in their wake as they sail across the sea floor or create a floor of fireflies that fade as time steals their lanterns.

Sea of Light brings together magical light and a gentle soundscape to create a unique adventure as part of Darwin Festival and National Science Week.

Tuesday 15 August – Sunday 20 August:

Media enquiries: Nicole Ogilvie, or 08 8999 8264.

Dr Kirsti Abbott, Lucyna Kania and Dr Dan Edwards from the MAGNT science team are available for media interviews.

Solving great spider crab mysteries, without getting wet, sandy or bitten – online, via Melbourne, VIC

Every winter, thousands and thousands of great spider crabs gather in shallow waters off Australia’s southern coast. They form huge underwater piles, some as tall as a person, seeking safety in numbers. To grow, they need to shed their hard shells, expand their soft flesh and harden a new, bigger and shinier shell – while dodging hungry predators.

Very little is known about spider crab biology and ecology, so scientists at Deakin University have deployed timelapse cameras to sneak up on spider crabs and other marine life and study them.

Ecologist and science communicator Elodie Camprasse knows all about great spider crabs and wants the public’s help to learn more. She’s looking for people to scan through photographs and identify and count spider crabs and a range of other sea creatures to understand when and where spider crabs gathered this year, and what other creatures are around at that time of year.

Read more about Elodie’s research.

Saturday 12 August – Sunday 20 August:

Media enquiries: Elodie Camprasse, or 0497 940 793.

Elodie is available for media interviews. Images and footage available.

Creative computing workshops for seniors keep brains fit – Acton, ACT

Move over crosswords and sudoku – learning computing using a technology called Scratch can help keep your brain young.

People aged 55 and over are invited to attend creative computing workshops. Participants will learn how to get started with Scratch, a self-expression system that’s used by more than 90 million men and women worldwide and lets them produce amazing, colourful, musical, moving creations just by fitting multi-coloured blocks together with the mouse.

These creations may then be shared among a vast community of users, or just with family and friends, and can include interactive stories, games, animations, and more. It could also be the start of forming a local “Scratch community” and meeting new people.

Sunday 20 August:

Media enquiries: Thomas McCoy, Questacon Volunteer,, 0402 050 852.

Science in the Centres – Multiple locations, ACT

Science while you shop! Pop-up science activity centres will give shoppers the chance to meet scientists, engineers and daleks, and learn about space, mushroom growing, engineering with LEGO, parasites, chemistry, geology, space, robotics, and more.

Westfield Belconnen, Westfield Woden, Cooleman Court, and the Canberra Centre will host a variety of displays and hands-on science activities during the weekends of National Science Week (12 – 13 and 19 – 20 August).

Stallholders include Questacon, National Dinosaur Museum, Young Engineers Canberra, ANU Parasitology, Canberra Daleks & Robots, ASTRO 3D, Robogals, Royal Australian Chemical Institute, Dreamtime Connections, Geoscience Australia, Australian Geospatial Intelligence Organisation, Mt Stromlo Observatory, Capital Scraps Composting, Wing, and Canberra Snake Rescue & Relocation.

Multiple dates and locations.

Media enquiries:

Representatives from all stallholders are available for interview.