Dozens of stories and interesting people at 260+ Science Week events in Queensland

Media releases, National Science Week

Scientists in the shopping mall; the science behind the energy crisis; forensic facial reconstruction; and more


  • Remarkable science careers: TV presenting, engineering sports tech, immunology with worms, and putting parasites in a book for kids
  • Are batteries the answer for keeping the lights on? What’s Australia’s energy crisis all about? Find out at the Big Picture Energy talks
  • Commonwealth Games sports science, medical science and making slime at Westfield
  • Meet the curators, and a science sleepover at Queensland Museum
  • The science of fireworks with the Brisbane Broncos
  • Meet the ‘farmer robot’ at Street Science at EKKA
  • Battle of the brains: who is the funniest physicist?
  • Find out how facial forensic reconstruction works from the scientist whose work helped identify a Belanglo victim—also in Toowoomba

Regional Queensland

  • Microbes cleaning up mine sites, how the land effects the Reef, and an ancient fanged kangaroo—talk with science’s female rising stars, touring Cairns, Cloncurry, Mt Isa, and more
  • New MacDonald has a drone: how science is shaping rural futures—Charters Towers
  • Art-science experiences in the tropics at Cairns

Everywhere: do you have a healthy relationship with your smartphone?

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, QLD National Science Week launch— 6pm 10 August 2017

Science Week in QLD kicks off with four scientists sharing the stories of their weird and wonderful careers:

  • Professor Kathy Andrews, biomedical researcher and author of My mum is a parasite scientist. That’s RAD!
  • Dr Paul Giacomin, who is researching how parasitic worms influence our immune system
  • Jonathan Shepherd, a sports engineer for the Queensland Academy of Sport
  • Lee Constable, host of Network Ten’s children’s science show Scope

With Acting QLD Chief Scientist Dr Christine Williams and Griffith University Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Martin Betts.

6pm, Thursday 10 August at Westfield Garden City main stage—Logan Road & Kessels Road, Mount Gravatt. Event details

Speakers available for interviews. Contact Stephanie Bedo: or 07 5678 0214

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

A night at the museum, keeping the lights on, and behind the scenes at Queensland Museum

Who decides which butterflies, meteroites or snakes go on display in a museum? Meet the curators on the Monday and Tuesday of Science Week.

Will we be able to afford to keep the lights on? What’s Australia’s energy crisis all about? Find out at the Big Picture Energy talks on Friday 11 August, with experts from the Australian Energy Market Operator. Joel Gilmore will talk about battery storage, and Jenny Riesz​ will talk about the practicalities of transforming Australia’s electricity.

Queensland Museum has a suite of National Science Week activities, including expert guided tours of collection stores, a biomedical illustration workshop, a Discovery Day for Little Learners, and the opportunity to bring a sleeping bag and spend a Night at the Museum, with torch-lit tours and pop-up shows.

Multiple events

Media enquiries: Heidi Jones,, 07 3842 9388 or 0416 273 279

From dark matter to fanged kangaroos; and reef health to kitchen protiens—Women in Science touring regional Queensland

Queensland’s brightest early-and-mid-career women scientists on a roadshow of events across the state to talk about their research. The Catch a Rising Star: Women in Queensland Science program is sending them to:

In Cairns and Atherton region

  • Viruses are the dark matter of Planet Earth—marine virologist Dr Karen Weynberg from the University of Queensland
  • The health of a reef is linked to land ecosystems via rivers—environmental scientist Dr Megan Saunders from the University of Queensland
  • The surprising biochemical properties of the proteins in your kitchen—biochemist Dr Camila Cotrim from Griffith University.

Media enquiries: Megan Saunders, or 0432 034 814

In Cloncurry, Mount Isa and Julia Creek

  • Looking at ways to use microbes to speed up remediation of iron ore mine sites—geomicrobiologist (think microorganisms plus rocks) Dr Emma Gagen (University of Queensland)
  • The regulation of new technologies, including the Internet, 3D printing, renewable energy and autonomous vehicles—Dr Angela Daly (Queensland University of Technology).

Media enquiries: Emma Gagen, or 0428 555 188

On Magnetic Island via the Internet

  • 20 10 million year-old kangaroos, including an extinct group of fanged kangaroos—PhD student and palaeontologist Kaylene Butler studies.

Media enquiries: Kaylene Butler, or 0400 445 175

Multiple dates and locations

Rural Futures: Science and Technology in Agriculture—Charters Towers

Future farms will have help from flying drones. SBS broadcaster Oliver Heuthe hosts a Q&A-style panel to explore what science and technology offers to the future of agriculture.


  • Dr Airlie Chapman is a multi award winning expert in her field with a PhD in Aeronautics & Astronautics from the University of Washington
  • Eric Schoof is a PhD candidate in Aeronautics & Astronautics, University of Washington, whose research covers human-swarm interactions and semi-autonomous networks
  • Alex Olsen is ‘building and training’ a weed terminator as part of his PhD in automating the detection and control of noxious weed species invading northern Australia. He is doing this through the combination of research methods in computer vision and machine learning
  • Shane Campbell is an invasive plant and animal science specialist for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Thursday 17 August Event details

Media enquiries: Caron Gabriel, 0467 244 524

Forensic facial reconstruction: facts, fictions and techniques—South Brisbane and Toowomba

Ever wanted to know how a face is recreated from nothing more than a skull or a skeleton?

Hear the facts and fiction of forensic facial reconstruction with Dr Susan Hayes, whose facial approximations helped identify a Belanglo State Forest murder victim.

Lecture at Queensland Museum: Thursday 17 August. Event details

Workshops: Dr Hayes is also sharing forensic facial reconstruction techniques in workshops.

  • Two-day 3D (clay) facial reconstruction workshop in Toowoomba Friday 18 – Saturday 19 August. Event details
  • 2D (drawing) facial reconstruction workshop at Queensland Museum – Sunday 20 August. Event details

For interviews with Dr Hayes, contact Tanya Ha – or 0404 083 863

Sports science, medical science and making slime at Westfield Garden City

Hands-on science activities in the Kid Zone, explosive shows from Science on the GO!, forensic activites, career health checks and the Griffith Racing Team offer a science break for shoppers.

Throughout the three days the main stage will host science shows, forensic activities and talks. Meet some of Australia’s top researchers and hear their research and career journeys, including big data and social media with Bela Stantic, biochemistry with Andrew Smith, botany and native plants with Catherine Pickering, and Alzheimer’s and robots with Wendy Moyle.

See all activities and times

Thursday 10 – Saturday 12 August. Event details

Event enquiries: Mindy Davies,, 07 5552 7265 or 0466 561 271

The science of fireworks with the Brisbane Broncos—Suncorp Stadium

National Science Week is coming to the NRL. Footy fans will get free diffraction glasses to take a different look at the science of fireworks at half-time of the Brisbane Broncos vs Cronulla Sharks game on 11 August 2017.

Friday 11 August Event details

Event enquiries: Shelley Dunlop, or 07 3842 9220.

Experience science and ‘why I became a scientist’—Cairns

The ‘Come and try!’ art-science collaboration space will encourage people to interact directly with scientists and their research via an interactive platform. The ‘Café Scientifique: Why I became a scientist in the Tropics’ event will provide an open forum to hear from local researchers and postgraduate students. And a PechaKucha Night will tell science stories with fast-paced slideshows.

Wednesday 16 – Thursday 17 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Tasmin Rymer, or 07 4232 1629.

Street Science at EKKA

Street Science a headed to the Agricultural Pavillion. Chat with working scientists and Women in Science ambassadors, meet the interactive ‘farmer robot’ Mechanoid, learn about science in game show style, and try other science-themed activities. This year’s program digs into soil science and future sustainability, including soil testing, crops, and creepy crawlies.

Friday 11 August to Sunday 20 August Event details

Media enquiries: Kim Liddell 0432 647 702

Battle of the Brains: who is the funniest physicist?—South Brisbane

Who is Brisbane’s best, brightest and funniest physicist? Science meets Spick ‘n’ Specks at this panel event, hosted by physicist, science communicator Dr Andrew Stephenson.

  • astrophysicist, Aussie muscle-car enthusiast and mad Marvel fan Dr Carolyn Brown
  • astrophysicist and captain of the Australian ultimate Frisbee team Prof Tamara Davis
  • astrophysicist, code monkey and pizza enthusiast, Samuel Hinton
  • molecular physicist and caffeine snob Dr Anthony Jacko
  • theoretical physicist and marathon runner Prof Ben Powell
  • linebacking quantum scientist and obstacle challenge survivor Dr Till Weinhold.

Sunday 13 August. Event details

Media and event enquiries: Andrew Stephenson, or 0421 400 688

Australia’s Biggest Smartphone Survey—online

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, including Griffith University’s Dr Kathryn Modecki, and science communicators are available for interviews.

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