Eating insects, NASA scientists, slime moulds, and the man headed for Mars

Media releases, National Science Week

Launch 10am: Minister gets experimental at QVMAG, Launceston. Plus 150+ Science Week events around Tasmania

  • Why do wasps have sex with orchids, and can we climate-proof pinot? Ask a scientist over a drink at a pop-up science bar
  • A geologist who blasts rocks with lasers, a brainy researcher studying our super senses, and an Antarctic expeditioner with a passion for Pokémon—meet the Young Tassie Scientists
  • The surprising beauty of slime moulds
  • The secrets are hidden in Antarctica’s ice and snow
  • The pros and cons of eating insects
  • Are there habitable planets outside our solar system? Meet NASA scientists and planet hunters
  • What is the point of snot, pus, wee, saliva, ear wax, and all that other gross stuff? Ask science!
  • 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 interviews 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

Plus, Tasmania’s National Science Week launch—10am Friday 10 August

Tasmania’s Minister for Science and Technology, the Hon. Michael Ferguson, will join the Launceston STEMinists to launch National Science Week in Tasmania. Minister Ferguson will don a lab coat to assist the STEMinists in a science experiment.

Where: QVMAG, 2 Invermay Road, Invermay (Launceston), TAS, 7248. Event details

Media enquiries for Science Week in Tasmania: Jenni Klaus, or 03 6226 2373

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.

In 2018, National Science Week celebrates its 21st birthday, with events held throughout Australia—from 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

National Science Week in Tasmania: event highlights

Young Tassie Scientists—everywhere

A geologist who blasts rocks with lasers, a brainy researcher studying our super senses, Tasmania’s own BugGirl, and an Antarctic expeditioner with a passion for Pokémon.

These are just a few of our Young Tassie Scientists—early career researchers who become the state’s ambassadors for National Science Week.

New recruits go through science communication bootcamp, then go out to share their science stories through hands-on presentations at one hundred schools and events around Tasmania, from Swansea to Strahan, and Franklin to Flinders Island.

More about the Young Tassie Scientists.

Multiple dates and locations. Event details

Media enquiries: Adele Wilson,, 03 6226 2287 or 0449 013 689

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 two-night 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.

Friday night highlights:

  • Radio National’s Ockham’s Razor Live, with short talks including:
    • Cave diving for exploration and science—Andreas Klocker
    • The neuroscience of stress—Lila Landowski
    • The wines, they are a-changin’—Fiona Kerslake
    • Understanding change in marine ecosystems—Jess Melbourne-Thomas
  • Danielle Clode—why wasps have sex with orchids
  • Russell Bonduriansky—heredity beyond genes

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

Friday 10 to Saturday 11 August Event details Website

Media enquiries: Adelaide Reisz, or 0408 023 926

Science Open Season—Launceston

Spiders, science shows, Nights at the Museum, a live feed from NASA, and Mars One astronaut candidate Josh Richards are among the highlights of the seven days of Science Open Season at Launceston’s Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery.

The program includes a Saturday expo-style Big Day of Science, showcasing everyday science taking place in the region; Sunday Science with a focus on spiders and activities for nature lovers; a Night at the Museum for adults, and another for young families; a schools’ program; public lectures; ‘PODS’ (Professionals Out Demonstrating Science); and the Crazy Scientist science shows.

Saturday 11 to Friday 17 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Claire Campbell,

Meet the NASA scientists and planet hunters… at the pub—North Hobart

NASA scientists are headed to Australia, bringing Saturn to Sydney, new planets to Perth, and more.

Science in the Pub Tasmania has three NASA scientists coming to Republic Bar & Café:

  • Andrew Rushby, an astrobiologist, exoplaneteer and Exocast podcaster at NASA Ames Research Center
  • Jonathan Faine, a staff research scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope
  • Jake Clark, a PhD candidate and science communicator at the University of Southern Queensland.

What have we learnt from the hundreds of planets discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope? Are we alone in the Universe? And what does the future hold for exploration of the Universe? Ask the people at the astro-nerve centre.

Tuesday 14 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Brad Tucker,, 02 6125 6711 or 0433 905 777

Tasty science, snotty science, Antarctic secrets and the man headed to Mars, all at the Festival of Bright Ideas—Hobart

  • Grossology: the science of snot, pus, wee, saliva, ear wax, blood, vomit, burps, farts and boogas—with ABC’s Lish Fejer
  • Mars One candidate Josh Richards on getting ready to live on the red planet
  • A lot of hot (and cold) air, and occasional humour, with Jeremy Just
  • How Tasmania’s flora, fauna and landscape have changed over the last 100,000 years
  • How science can help find solutions for Hobart’s traffic congestion
  • Questacon’s tasty science
  • What happens after you flush?
  • Gardens through the (multiple) eyes of an insect
  • A virtual reality tour of Hobart Town in the 1820s
  • Is there more to cats than eating and sleeping?
  • What secrets are hidden in Antarctica’s ice and snow?
  • Meet scientists from Tasmania’s top research institutes
  • Plus litter, LEGO, retro engineering, bush adventures, 3D printing, eels, eagles, and more.

These are just some of the speakers, activities and displays at the Festival of Bright Ideas, all under one roof at Princes Wharf 1 on Hobart’s waterfront.

Friday 17 August (schools day) Event details

Saturday 18 August Event details

Media enquiries: Sarah Bayne, or 03 6226 2716

Slime moulds: nature’s miniature jewels—Westbury

Ask Sarah Lloyd why plasmodia or ‘slime moulds’ love wet weather. Hear how these conditions make plasmodia become active and eventually form exquisite fruiting bodies.

Sarah will answer questions and bring a range of different species for close inspection. Participants can also view the exhibition ‘Slime Moulds – Nature’s miniature jewels’.

Acellular or plasmodial slime moulds have been placed in the kingdoms plant, fungi, animal and protista, based on their very different life stages comprising single-celled amebae, moving feeding plasmodia and spore-bearing ‘fruits’. They are now considered to be amoebozoans.

Saturday 18 August Event details

Media enquiries: Sarah Lloyd, or 03 6396 1380

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.

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