Radioactive comedy, illusions, beautiful killers, science in the garden, and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Saturday 11 August 2018

Highlights from day one of National Science Week

162 events and exhibitions, 12 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

National and international talent, researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country. Plenty of photo opportunities.


  • 100+ roving scientists, talks on eating insects or the dirty side of wellbeing, a forensic murder mystery and more at TMAG’s pop-up science bar and festival


  • A night of illusions: why your senses play mind games
  • ‘See like a bee’ with UV, dissect a flower, and ask experts about the secrets of seeds—inside the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney’s Living Laboratory


  • The Element in the Room: a radioactive musical comedy about the death and life of Marie Curie
  • Street Science with smoke cannons, liquid nitrogen, flame tests, explosions and cool chemistry

Alice Springs

  • Growing food and the science of green gardening, with Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiardis


  • Knitted neurons, science careers, Canberra’s critters, and more at Science in ACTion

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

Also today:

National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw 1.2 million people participate in more than 2,100 events and activities.

In 2018, National Science Week celebrates its 21st birthday, with events held throughout Australia—from Corals in the Outback in Queensland to astronomy in the Apple Isle, and from STEM meets dance in Perth to The Innovation Games at Sydney Olympic Park—with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

National Science Week 2018 will run from 11 to 19 August. Media kit at Or visit the National Science Week website for the details of events in your area:

For general Science Week media enquiries:

Tanya Ha: or 0404 083 863
Niall Byrne: or 0417 131 977


More about the event highlights

A Night of Illusions—Redfern

Ask scientists why some static images appear to move and twist before your eyes? Or why you can trick your senses into feeling your body change size and shape? What is the science of how we perceive reality and how can science help to reveal what is real and what is not? Ask the experts.

Leading cognitive- and neuro-scientists will host an interactive event where attendees can experience first-hand an exciting variety of perceptual illusions that reveal gaps in the way we perceive reality. Participants will try out a range of cognitive and body illusions and chat with experts about what their experience reveals about the ways that our brains make sense of the world.

Scientists include:

  • Deborah Apthorp: a cognitive neuroscientist specialising in the human visual system and its interactions with other sensory systems
  • Matthew Bulbert: a behavioural ecologist from Macquarie University who examines how animals exploit the perception of others to increase their survival – a.k.a deception
  • Erika Contini: vision scientist and neuropsychology researcher at Macquarie University who evaluates brain patterns associated with seeing and recognising objects
  • James O’Hanlon: University of New England researcher and host of the science podcast In Situ Science, who studies how animals survive using illusion, disguise and masquerade
  • Kim Ransley, vision scientist at the University of Sydney, who looks at how the human brain creates our visual experience of the world
  • Regine Zopf, a cognitive scientist at Macquarie University, who investigates how humans perceive the identity, location and size of bodies using multisensory illusions and virtual reality.

Saturday 11 August Event details

Media enquiries: Kim Ransley, or 0455 597 542

The Living Laboratory—Sydney

‘See like a bee’ with UV, dissect a flower, go on a wildlife walk, and ask experts about the secrets of seeds or the skills of scientific illustration. These are some of the highlights of Living Laboratory—a free, outdoor family and community event at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney celebrating science and providing a range of diverse and hands-on science activities for all ages.

Living Laboratory will showcase the environmental sciences and open up the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney’s facilities to the general public, with guest activities and presentations from university, community and science sector partners.

More Science Week events at Mt Annan and Sydney’s Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands, including ‘live’ dinosaurs, flower dissections, building insect hotels, and stargazing with a glass of wine.

Saturday 11 August Event details

Media contacts: Megan Harvey,, 02 9231 8004 or 0427 288 742

Brisbane’s Street Science Festival

Smoke cannons, liquid nitrogen, flame tests, explosions, and cool chemistry experiments are headed for Brisbane central.

Brisbane’s Street Science Festival will bring science to life using a range of interactive activities, guest presentations, and captivating science demonstrations to show how science is relevant in everyday life.

Engaging and interactive hands-on activities are designed to spark and encourage interest in the sciences. Through partnerships with universities, research organisations and science institutes, this festival will allow audiences of all ages to engage with science and scientists.

Saturday 11 August Event details

Media enquiries: Steven Liddell, or 0410 550 481

UK actor brings Marie Curie to life on stage—Brisbane

“If at first you don’t succeed, pretend,” says acclaimed science theatre writer/performer John Hinton, who has made a career out of his interest in science, story-telling and singing.

Two of his three Tangram Theatre Company ‘Scientrilogy’ shows are returning to Australia for National Science Week, after successful UK shows, and a sell-out award-winning season at the Adelaide Fringe festival.

The Element in the Room: A Radioactive Musical Comedy about the Death and Life of Marie Curie tells the story of the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and whose work continues to affect our lives today.

Friday 10 to Monday 13 August Event details

Media contacts: Michelle Cooper, or 0420 507 374

BeakerStreet@TMAG– Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart

A forensic science murder mystery, fun and informative talks, live music, food, an underground Antarctic Bar, and 100+ roving scientists to chat with over a drink. It’s all part of BeakerStreet@TMAG, a pop-up science bar and science festival for adults at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

People can pop in for presentations by world-leading researchers, intimate talks and hands-on scientific workshops, see taxidermied animals and scientific curios, and the science photography competition and exhibition.

Saturday night highlights:

  • ‘Improbable’—MONA’s David Walsh in conversation with ABC’s Natasha Mitchell
  • Shasta Henry—accepting insects into your diet
  • Justin Seymour—swimming in a sea of microbes
  • Emily Flies—the planetary health and the dirty side of wellbeing

Saturday 11 August Event details Website

Media enquiries: Adelaide Reisz, or 0408 023 926

Climate change and green science in The Alice at AridLands EcoFair—Alice Springs

Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis, women in science, science and sustainability on the big screen, and a host of other activities and guests will descend on Alice Springs for the desertSMART EcoFair, Central Australia’s premiere science and sustainability event.

Highlights for 2018 include Costa getting dirty with green science in the garden, a BushWok Cookoff with local produce and bushfoods, documentary screenings from the Transitions Film Festival, and the Eco-Science Schools Day for local students.

The program also includes keynote speaker Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie, a ‘Women Changing the World’ panel discussion, desert scientists, renewable energy professionals and health experts in a series of community events.

Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 August Event details

Media contacts: Nicole Pietsch,, 08 8952 2497 or 0429 333 960

Knitted neurons, science careers, Canberra’s critters, and more at Science in ACTion—Kingston

Science in ACTion brings science from the wildlife sanctuary of Mulligans Flat and the outer reaches of the Milky Way to the heart of Canberra. More than 50 organisations have science stalls and activities under one roof.

Join Nix & Nellie the Cheeky Neurons at Science in ACTion to create your own cheeky character while chatting about brains, neurons and neurological disorders like epilepsy.

Learn about the future of ecosystems, technology, medicine and the Earth. Discover how geologists and archaeologists uncover stories from the past.

What could you see through a telescope looking out into the Milky Way, or by peering down a microscope?

Meet scientists and conservationists who help to protect iconic plants and Canberra’s local loveable critters, and learn how renewable energies can protect the Earth’s climate.

Come and experience real life Science in ACTion at the Old Bus Depot in Kingston. The work of local, national, and international science and technology organisations is on show at this fun-filled interactive exhibition.

Community Day: Saturday 11 August Event details

Media contacts: Rebecca Kaye, 0432 611 144