Our international science journalists’ dinner

On Sunday 14 February for journalists at the 2016 AAAS, Washington DC

Forty of the world’s leading science journalists will join me for a good dinner, Australian shiraz, and a briefing on some of the best of Australian science on Sunday 14 February 2016 during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington DC.

Science in Public’s Australian Dinner has become a minor tradition during the AAAS. It enables Australia to build on the links with international science reporters which were created when Melbourne hosted the World Conference of Science Journalists back in 2007.

Our guests in 2015 included:

  • The science editors of the Economist, BBC TV News, Financial Times, Asahi Shimbun, The Sun, and reporters from the BBC, Daily Mail, the London Times and others.
  • The executive producer of PBS Nova, the ABC’s Robyn Williams and David Fisher.
  • Freelancers filing for dozens of publications and websites including Science, Nature, Discovery, National Geographic.
  • The heads of Research America and Research Sweden, the director of the World Federation of Science Journalists, representatives of the UK and Australian Science Media Centres, of the EuroScience Open Forum, RIKEN, and the IgNobels.
  • Australian scientists speaking at AAAS including representatives of CSIRO and ANU.

Our partners in past dinners have included the Australian Government’s industry department, Australia’s SKA team, Inspiring Australia, COSMOS and the Australian Science Media Centre. We welcome partners who share our interest in sharing the best Australian science achievements with the world.

Why the AAAS?

The AAAS Meeting is the world’s largest general science gathering. More importantly for us it’s become a meeting place for science journalists, science communicators, and science bureaucrats.

Last year’s participants included the UK Science Minister, EU science leaders including the head of the European Science Foundation, as well as large delegations from Japan, Canada and many European countries. It’s a great place to network. But it’s also a busy environment with large official events every night – except Sunday.

The dinner grew from our work on the 5th World Conference of Science Journalists. The conference attracts hundreds of journalists from across the US and the world. For five days they attend breakfasts, lunches, press conferences and receptions across the conference. On the last night after they’ve filed we offer them a dinner at a restaurant near the conference.

Past dinners

Our first dinner, in DC in 2011, was fully sponsored by the Australian Government as part of their promotion of Australian science in the USA.

Our second dinner, in Vancouver in 2012, was substantially supported by the SKA program. Lisa Harvey-Smith spoke, capturing the attention of the journos and leading to much follow-up interest.

Our third dinner, in Chicago in 2014, was supported by the industry department via Australia’s Minister-Counsellor (Education, Science and Technology) in the USA, and Inspiring Australia.

Our fourth dinner, in San Jose in 2015, was supported by COSMOS and the Australian Science Media Centre.

What we talked about in San Jose in 2015

  • The first printed jet engine – made in Melbourne. A team at Monash University have printed not one, but two jet engines.
  • Why do we get fat – what’s really going on at a metabolic level with peptin, insulin and the others, and can we mess with that?
  • Don’t filter your tap water, analyse the genomics – thinking differently about public health and food safety
  • And the genomics of your passengers – do you catch drug resistant bugs in hospital or do you take them to hospital with you?
  • Hibernation technology for battlefield injuries (and car crashes)
  • Children and trauma – an 80 nation survey
  • Come to Behaviour 2015 in Cairns – the organisers promise dozens of ‘life on earth’ stories
  • Inhalable oxytocin
  • A new vaccine delivery platform based on a silkworm virus
  • For fans of the Octonauts – look out for some papers on the life of crustaceans deep in the Pacific’s Marianas Trench.
  • Some big papers on gold and other trace elements in the ocean.
  • And insects in Kenya. Eating them, controlling the harmful ones and harnessing the useful ones. The International Centre for Insect Research researches malaria control, pest management, commercial insects (silk and honey), and lots more.