An eco-apocalyptic circus; insect Olympics; green energy in the red centre; and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Dozens of stories and interesting people at 80+ Science Week events in the Top End

  • Artists and Circus Oz performers explore climate change.
  • Bush foods, food waste as fuel, and science in the garden with Costa Georgiardis at the desertSMART EcoFair—Alice Springs
  • Can Alice Springs be 100% renewable energy powered by 2030?
  • What do midges have to do with chocolate? Find out at the Darwin Insect Festival.
  • Politicians get a grip (test): HealthLAB visits Parliament House.
  • Meet the science writer who turned 13 sea voyages in three years into a book and a play. And hear from her on science, journalism and telling the stories of climate change.
  • From suspended schoolboy to educational pioneer: 17-year-old innovator Taj Jabari.
  • Meet Fergus the tawny frogmouth, Mr Slithers the snake, and other Top End wildlife.
  • Are you addicted to your smartphone? Researchers want to know.

More on these highlights below, and others at, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Scientists and event organisers are available for interview throughout Science Week. Read on for contact details for each event, or call:

Plus, NT National Science Week launches with an eco-apocalyptic circus—7pm, 11 August 2017, Brown’s Mart Theatre

The Northern Territory launches its National Science Week program with ‘Perhaps Hope’—an eco-apocalyptic circus show exploring the stark reality of climate change through performance.

With award-winning artist Rockie Stone (Circa, Circus Oz), acrobat Vincent van Berkel (Casus, Circus Oz) and kinetic sculptural artist Callan Morgan explore the stark reality of climate change in ‘Perhaps Hope’.

7pm, Friday 11 August, Brown’s Mart Theatre 12 Smith Street, Darwin. Event details

Media enquiries: Paul Lyons, 08 8946 7423 or 0447 728 186

About National Science Week

National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw a staggering 1.3 million people participate in more than 1,800 events and activities.

In 2017, National Science Week celebrates its 20th birthday, with events held throughout Australia— from insect Olympics in Darwin to ‘Blood’ at Melbourne’s new Science Gallery, to Antarctic science in the Apple Isle—with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

National Science Week 2017 will run from 12 – 20 August. Find an event at


More about the event highlights

How strong is a politician’s handshake? Grip strength and other health checks at Parliament House, and around the Territory

Strong handshakes, but high blood pressure? How would our policy makers fare on a health check?

HealthLAB is a mobile Science Week event that brings health checks and information about science and medical careers to multiple locations across the Territory, starting with Parliament House.

HealthLAB participants will undertake personal health measures and learn about healthy lifestyle choices. Through a series of hands-on activities, participants will learn how today’s lifestyle choices impact on immediate and long-term personal health.

The stations include:

  • Blood Pressure—an opportunity to discuss healthy lifestyle choices related to exercise and diet.
  • Haemoglobin levels—an opportunity to discuss healthy diet and its importance to health.
  • Grip Strength—an activity which measures upper body strength.
  • Bio Impedance machine—which measures fat/muscle/bone ratios and explores healthy weight ranges. This station is run by HealthLAB’s dietician and participants can ask questions and explore ways to make positive choices for a healthier diet.
  • Sugar display—which shows the amount of sugar in common drinks.
  • Smokerlyser—which measures smoke exposure to individuals including smokers.
  • Ultra sound machine—an opportunity for participants to see the inner workings of their bodies looking at organs and blood flow.

Tuesday 15 August at Parliament House. Event details         All dates and locations

Event enquiries: Nicole Boyd, or 08 8946 8539

Darwin Insect Festival—Casuarina

What do midges have to do with chocolate? As pollinators, midges are essential for fertilising South America’s cacao crops, which produce much of the world’s chocolate.

The Darwin Insect Festival will be a fun day of activities where you can learn all about midges, insects and other little critters and their quirky lives. Find out how some beetles avoid detection from their ant prey, how an insect sees, which celebrities are insect namesakes and much more.

Sarah Bonney, organiser of the first Darwin Insect Festival and a PhD student studying ants and the way they interact with the environment, is available for media interviews.

Saturday 12 August Event details

Media and event enquiries: Sarah Bonney, or 0401 188 099

desertSMART EcoFair—Alice Springs, NT

desertSMART EcoFair is Central Australia’s premier science and sustainability event. The EcoFair is organised by the Arid Lands Environment Centre and aims to educate, inspire and activate the community around science and sustainability issues.

Friday is the EcoScience Schools Day at Olive Pink Botanic Gardens

Activities include:

  • ABC Outdoor Broadcast – an outdoor broadcast from the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens featuring EcoFair special guests and the Great Science Quiz;
  • Bicycle Film Festival – local and international films about cycling and bicycle culture.

Friday 11 August. Event details

Saturday’s Garden to Plate at Alice Springs Community Garden focuses on gardening, food, food energy and nutrition with:

  • Green Thumbs with Costa Georgiadis (Gardening Australia) – workshop about the science of gardening;
  • Bush Wok Cook Off – incorporating bush foods with Raelene brown (Kungka’s Can Cook) and Alice Springs nutritionist Roy Price;
  • Food Waste to Energy – key presentation on biogas innovation by Professor Bernadette McCabe (National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture)

Saturday 12 August. Event details

Sunday’s Sustainable Living Festival is at Snow Kenna Park. Key presentations include:

  • Sustainable Living Panel – Hosted by Costa Georgiadis. A practical discussion on sustainable living with the themes of sustainable fashion, local food production, water/energy efficiency and low-waste living.
  • Sustainable Energy – Hosted by Repower Alice Springs. With feature presentation by energy commentator Giles Parkinson (Renew Economy). Examining how Alice Springs could meet the target of 100% renewable energy by 2030.
  • Sustainable Tourism – As part of the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism, this panel will discuss local examples of excellence in sustainable tourism and launch the draft Green Events guidelines for public consultation.

Sunday 13 August. Event details

Media and event enquiries: Nicole Pietsch, or 08 8952 2497

Create a useless thing with 17-year-old entrepreneur and innovator Taj Pabari —Coconut Grove

Under the guidance of Taj Pabari – inventor, social entrepreneur and Australia’s Young Inventor of the Year (2014) – use everyday items to build, test and reinvent your own useless machine.

Using everyday items in a new way create a machine that will do a simple task.

Saturday 19 August. Event details

Event enquiries: Paul Lyons, or 08 8946 7423.

Sea Sick: how a science writer turned an ocean adventure into a book, then a play—Darwin

How did the changing chemistry of the ocean become a science writer’s grand adventure at sea with 13 journeys in three years, a best-selling book and eventually a play?

Canadian science journalist Alanna Mitchell, author of Sea Sick, provides her insights into the art of turning complex science into compelling stories.

Renowned for her investigative reporting on science and social trends, Alanna Mitchell uses a combination of humour, facts and entertaining storytelling to highlight the crises facing our world’s oceans, discovering along the way that that we won’t find the solutions we need for the high-carbon world we’ve created until we rewrite the story about how it all ends. Ultimately the answer lies in culture – in emotion and psychology and all the other things that make us uniquely human. It is art that has the potential to take us on journeys we could never take any other way.

Friday 18 August. Event details

Saturday 19 August. Event details

In conversation with Robyn Williams from Radio National’s Science Show on the topic of science, journalism and telling the stories of climate change.

Sunday 20 August. Event details

Alanna Mitchell is available for interviews from 16 August.

Media enquiries: Matt Fraser,, 02 8065 7363, 0401 326 007

Wildlife Workshops with Bush Tales—The Gardens, Nightcliff and Yarrawonga

Meet Fergus the tawny frogmouth, Sherbet the sugar glider, Mr Slithers the rough-scaled python, and Sodium the saltwater croc.

See the wildlife of the Top End at Bush Tales’ ‘Wildlife Workshops’ and learn about the science behind the survival of these creatures.

There will be opportunities to touch and have photos with some of the animals and Q&A time with the presenter at the end.

Multiple dates and locations

Media information: There will be opportunities for visually interesting photographs when the animals are out and interacting with the audience.

Event enquiries: Erin Costelloe, or 0421 669 058, 0421 425 267

Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey—national

Are you a slave to your smartphone? Or have you mastered your mobile? Researchers want your help to build a deeper understanding of our relationship with our smartphones.

Take part in Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey—the online project for National Science Week.

How has having a smartphone changed your life? Has it made your life easier? Or harder? How much time do you spend on it? Does it help you connect (or disconnect) with people? And could you live without it?

The survey will run on the ABC website for two weeks from Friday 11 August. Join in by heading to the Smartphone Survey website at

Several researchers and science communicators are available for interviews.

Media enquiries: Suzannah Lyons, 03 9398 1416 or 0409 689 543