Coral in the outback, laser power, reef diving at the footy, and dead scientists live on stage

Media releases, National Science Week

280+ Science Week events around Queensland

  • From up-start to start-up: Taj Pabara and Fiftysix Creations tour regional Queensland
  • The world’s most powerful laser. Meet Ceri Brenner: the UK physicist pressing FIRE, in Toowoomba
  • Our prehistoric past in theatre and song: palaeontology meets ‘rock’ music
  • What is the past, present and future of Queensland’s coral reefs? The ocean comes to the outback
  • Ask a flying scientist, a coral watcher and a fossil finder what it’s like to work in science, in Longreach
  • Meet the UK actor bringing Albert Einstein and Marie Curie to life on stage
  • Tech, butterflies, drones and science shows at the Gold Coast’s pop-up science centre
  • Building, electrifying and making water drinkable: engineers for humanity show how it’s done
  • Help build a better picture of the Great Barrier Reef’s health, without getting your feet wet.

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:

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

About National Science Week

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.

Corals in the Outback in western Queensland to TAStroFest 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, public event listings at

More on the highlights…

Coral reefs: past, present and future—bringing the ocean to the outback

Coral reef science, a Netflix documentary, and virtual reality experiences are bringing Queensland’s coast inland.

Reefs are in trouble worldwide, and the Great Barrier Reef has lost half of its coral cover since 1985. People living away from the coast are often unaware of both the magnitude of the problem and what they can do to help save reefs from afar.

CoralWatch, a global citizen science program based at The University of Queensland, will engage with communities between Mt Isa and Longreach to present the latest reef science. The program aims to create reef awareness, and demonstrate how the community can help through presentations, displays and screenings of the Netflix documentary Chasing Coral, from the makers of the Emmy Award-winning Chasing Ice. Virtual reality will provide a realistic reef experience, connecting participants with the reef.

Multiple dates and locations Event details

Event enquiries: Monique Grol, or 07 3365 3127

UK actor brings dead scientists (Einstein and 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 an award-winning season at the Adelaide Fringe festival.

Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking tells the story of the eccentric theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, accompanied by his two wives and mum on the piano, and by guest rapper MC Squared. The show quantum leaps through two world wars, two theories of relativity, and the deployment of two very big bombs.

Sunday 12 to Monday 13 August Event details

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, whose work continues to affect our lives today.

Friday 10 to Monday 13 August. Event details

Media contacts: Michelle Cooper, or 0420 507 374

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

Coding and robotics, VR reefs, and science careers from dinosaurs to drone—Longreach

  • a palaeontologist who works with dinosaurs, crocodiles and fish fossils
  • a flying scientist who travels to regional and remote areas to engage communities in science
  • a marine scientist who brings local communities together to gather data for marine research projects
  • an aviator who is training to be a jet fighter pilot.

These are some of the scientists converging at the Qantas Founders Museum for a science and careers panel discussion. Ask them what it’s like to be a scientist that flies aircraft, saves the reef, or digs up our prehistoric past.

On the day, the Qantas Founders Museum will also host a coding and robotics workshop for kids, the opportunity to use virtual reality to explore coral reefs, and a performance of Professor Flint’s Shadows of our prehistoric past. Also on Monday and continuing on Tuesday there will be a STEM pop-up that includes coding and robotics, entrepreneurship and drone training for school kids at locations across Longreach.
Monday 13 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Helen Thompson, or 0419 270 265

In the shadows of our prehistoric past—touring Queensland

Palaeontology meets music and theatre in a series of performances in key locations in regional and metro Australia, exploring their history through the arts and sciences.

The people of Winton walk in the shadows of the dinosaurs that lived there millions of years ago. Those in Parachilna, the Flinders Ranges, step amongst the slime-prints of the first large animals found on Earth, the Ediacarans. And what we now know as Coober Pedy was once the prehistoric Eromanga Sea.

In the shadows of our prehistoric past is a storytelling experience that travels to different locations to reveal their prehistoric stories and the science behind them.

Multiple date and locations Event details

Media enquiries: Michael Mills, or 0411 287 381

Ceri Brenner: laser power in science, medicine and aerospace—Toowoomba

UK plasma physicist Ceri Brenner is pressing ‘fire’ on the most powerful laser, delivering a packet of light a thousand billion billion times more intense than sunlight on a hot summer’s day. And she’s putting it to good use.

Ceri’s work aims to improve the speed and performance of important imaging technology in healthcare, aerospace, nuclear and engineering—from figuring out how we can ignite a star on Earth for clean electricity generation, to using lasers to scan nuclear waste containers and map any hazardous materials inside.

She’s also exploring how to use laser-driven beams of anti-matter to detect defects below the surface of materials used on airplanes. She has also worked on laser-driven particle beams for cancer therapy.

Wednesday 15 August Event details

Media contacts: Rachael Vorwerk or 0408 829 327

Engineering for humanity—touring Queensland

Careers in engineering and science can give people the skills to make a difference in the world. The ‘EWB Humanitarian Engineering Outreach Workshops’ show you how through a series of interactive workshops.

Students and professional engineers from Engineers Without Borders Australia will run workshops exploring the science and engineering involved in energy, water and sanitation hygiene, and housing construction. Workshops will be held in major metro and regional locations.

Multiple dates and locations. Event details

Media enquiries: Sofie Thielemans 0413 513 783 or Chloe Lahiff 0424 684 440

From up-start to start-up: Taj Pabara and Fiftysix Creations tour regional Queensland

Tweens and teens will get to team up with 18-year-old innovator and 2014 Australian Young Innovator of the Year Taj Pabari, who went from suspended schoolboy to educational entrepreneur.

Seven to 17-year-old children will have the opportunity to take part in science, technology and innovation workshops, exploring the world of entrepreneurship through modern day technologies including drone technology and tablet computers.

The workshop tour will visit Mount Isa, Bedourie, Boulia, Cloncurry, Birdsville and Longreach, and is run by Fiftysix Creations, a social enterprise founded by Taj Pabari, who is also its CEO.

Multiple dates and locations Event details

Media contacts: Tia Niarhos, or 0424 122 772

Gold Coast Schools Pop Up Science Center—Helensvale

Live Show Zone, Tech Zone, Science Walk, Butterfly Zone, Marine Zone and Drone Zone, as well as over 250 square meters of hands-on exhibits from Questacon.

Want to know what a science centre would look like on the Gold Coast? Come along for a day filled with the Coast’s very best hands-on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) activities, demonstrations, science shows and special guests.

Sunday 19 August Event details

Media enquiries: Anita Hazell, or 07 5552 7205

Virtual Reef Diver: dive into your computer screen to help scientists—national

Dive online to help the Great Barrier Reef this Science Week—and you could win a GoPro camera!

The ABC’s citizen science project Virtual Reef Diver is celebrating the International Year of the Reef, inviting people to dive through their computer screens into the Great Barrier Reef.

They will review and classify underwater images of the Reef to help scientists identify areas of sand, coral and algae to help build a better picture of coral cover. This work will allow scientists and reef managers to make critical decisions to ensure that the Reef has a future.

Keep an eye out for half-time virtual reef diving at the footy with the Broncos—Thursday 16 August at Suncorp Stadium.

The project has been developed by the Queensland University of Technology, in collaboration with a host of scientific and community organisations.

Monday 6 to Friday 31 August.

Several researchers, divers and science communicators are available for interviews.

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