Sex, genes and rock ‘n’ roll; inside a dodgy drug lab; physics of recycling; and more

Media releases, National Science Week

Saturday 19 August 2017

Highlights for day eight of National Science Week’s nine-day ‘week’

177 events and exhibitions, 16 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.



Blue Mountains




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 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 2,000+ events registered 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.

Visit the National Science Week website for the details of events in your area:

For general Science Week media enquiries:

More about the event highlights

Are algorithms running your life; tall trees; and why is sex so complicated? Science over drinks at BeakerStreet@TMAG—Hobart, TAS

  • Exploring the world’s tallest flowering trees.
  • Sex, Genes and Rock ‘n’ Roll: Why is sex so complicated?
  • Laborastory: scientists telling the stories of their favourite scientsts.
  • Are algorithms trying to run your life?
  • Only 5% of ejaculate is sperm. What’s the other 95%?

BeakerStreet@TMAG is a pop-up science bar at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, featuring hands-on workshops, engaging talks, SCINEMA short films, live music, science storytelling, delicious booze and food, and plenty of prominent local and visiting scientists to chat with over a drink.

See full line-up for each night online

Saturday 19 August. Event details

Also Sunday 20 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Margo Adler, or 0468 789 933.

ChemCentre Open Day 2017—Bentley, WA

Yellow hazmat suits, a mock clandestine drug lab, blood and gore toxicology solving crimes, soil testing (bring a sample from your backyard), foam and fire science shows, demonstrations, experiments, forensic lab tours, and liquid nitrogen ice-cream—it’s all part of the ChemCentre Open Day.

Saturday 19 August. Event details

Several scientists available for interviews.

Media enquiries: Katie Eales,, 08 9422 9828, or 0408 945 084

Fossils, fungi and face-to-face with a dinosaur at Gondwana Garden—Mount Tomah, NSW

Take a trip back to Gondwanan times at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mount Tomah and celebrate science with the family.

Explore fossils and plants under the microscope, take a behind the scenes nursery tour, meet botanic scientists and find out about ancient plant life, join guided walks through the Gondwana Garden, enjoy fun children’s activities, and get a close up look at fascinating fungi, amazing algae and the ancient and the critically endangered Wollemi Pine, plus so much more.

See Australian dinosaurs and megafauna come to life with the new Augmented Reality app ‘Jurassic Garden’. Dinosaurs will also be roaming the Garden during the day.

Sat 19 August Event details

Media enquiries: Vanessa Barratt,, 0431 747 708 or 02 9231 8176

Scienceability: where disability is no barrier to sharing science—Parkes, ACT

Young adults with intellectual disabilities from around Canberra will run a science workshop open to the public as part of Scienceability—a program designed to challenge opinions on who ‘does’ science.

These young adults have spent the past six weeks participating in science workshops where they have built, tested and hypothesised their way through topics such as the science of flight, colour, and engineering, and now it’s time to present their own.

The workshop will include science experiments and demonstrations ranging from the science of air, to building and making, liquids and fluids, and more.

Through this program, we aim to open up the idea that science is something that everyone can do, not just a small subsection of society.

Saturday 19 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Sian Keys, or 0403 984 742.

Recycling is physics in action at the opening of Canberra’s Recycling Facility—Hume, ACT

See what happens after the recycling truck leaves your street and ask the experts what happens next.

Opening this Saturday, the new machinery at the upgraded Materials Recovery Facility in Hume uses simple physics and mechanics to sort recyclable materials:

  • a giant rotating seive sorts materials by size and weight
  • an industrial-sized magnet pulls out the magnetic steel food cans
  • aluminium is sorted by an eddy current separator
  • optic sorters shine light on plastic to ‘see’ what type they are and sort them accordingly.

See the technology in action, and hear from speakers, including:

  • Garth Lamb from Re.Group, the facility operator
  • The Hon Robert Hill AC, Chairman of Re.Group and former Federal Minister for the Environment
  • Emma Thomas, Director-General of Transport Canberra and City Services.

Saturday 19 August. Event details

Drone footage of facility available.

Media enquiries: Garth Lamb, Re.Group Business Development Manager, 0404487512

‘Strictly Ballroom’ meets science—Belconnen, ACT

Dancing with the (astro) stars? Dance and dementia? Pain or Pleasure?

At Strictly Science, Canberra’s most fabulous performers take to the stage with internationally renowned scientists.

Topics and speakers include astronomy with Dr Brad Tucker, gravitational waves with Professor Susan Scott, Antarctic research with Dr Merryn McKinnon, and blowing things up with Dr Graham Walker.

Performers include Rainbow, Rebelle Velveteen, Jazida, Liz Lea, Australian Dance Party, Alchemy Chorus, Vivacity Dance, 3G, Miss Chocolate Eclair, Jolene, Liberte la Femme, Griffin Ensemble, David Pereira, and Autumn Temptress.

Saturday 19 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Liz Lea,, or 0498 988 252

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

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.

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 interview.

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

Blood – is it art? Is it science?

Science Gallery Melbourne is giving us a taste of what to expect when it sets up permanently in 2020, combining art, science and controversy in its pop-up exhibition.

BLOOD: Attract & Repel features 22 works which address the themes of taboo, stigma, identity, giving, health and future.

As well as international artists, the exhibition also involves many of The University of Melbourne’s staff and students—from almost all disciplines; only the business and architecture streams are not involved – and a curatorial advisory panel like few other galleries, among them a cardiologist, a haematologist, an Indigenous bio-artist and a performance art lecturer.

Embedded at the University of Melbourne, Science Gallery Melbourne will involve, inspire and transform curious minds through arts and science.

Tuesday 25 July – Thursday 5 October Event details

Science Gallery Melbourne director Rose Hiscock and BLOOD creative director Ryan Jeffries are available for interview.

Media enquiries: Katrina Hall –