Exposing quacks, eating crickets, gaming climate change, and growing food in space

Exclude from Home Page, National Science Week

Plus dozens of Science Week stories around ACT:

  • Can we science our way out of multiple crises?
  • Growing food in space and on Mars
  • Crickets – the new superfood?
  • Exposing the fake medicine, wellness crazes, cons and quacks
  • Inclusive dance company explores the birth of the Universe
  • Can gamers help save the planet?
  • A LEGO guide to the evolution of the cosmos
  • Scouts reveal the science of Outdoors
  • Make a lightsaber: science for people with disabilities
  • Help scientists map Australia’s owls by listening to their calls.

More on these highlights below, and others at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/science-week, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Scientists, experts and event organisers are available for interview throughout National Science Week. Read on for contact details for each event, or call:

National Science Week in ACT: event highlights

▪ Tanya Ha: tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863
▪ Niall Byrne: niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0417 131 977 or 03 9398 1416.

Science and technology to the rescue? – online

Australia is navigating its way through the challenges of bushfires, the ongoing pandemic, a changing climate and extreme weather events. What’s the role of science, what is the state of science globally, and who does the public trust?

Find out from an expert panel, speaking at the official launch of National Science Week:

  • Dr Virginia Marshall – Inaugural Indigenous Postdoctoral Fellow, RegNet & Fenner Schools, Australian National University
  • Professor Sharon Lewin – Director, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
  • Dr Ruth Vine – Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health
  • Dr Harry Al-Wassiti – Research Fellow, Drug Delivery Disposition and Dynamics, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Sally-Ann Williams – Executive Chief Officer of Cicada Innovations
  • Chris LeBlanc – 3M Australia Managing Director

Moderated by Misha Schubert – CEO of Science & Technology Australia.

Thursday 12 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/launch-of-national-science-week-2021-the-science-of-recovery-resilience-renewal/

Media enquiries: Martyn Pearce, martyn.pearce@sta.org.au or 0432 606 828.

Misha Schubert and Chris LeBlanc are available for media interviews.

What’s for dinner on the way to Mars? – online

Growing foods in space aims to provide nutritious meals to astronauts and future space travellers.

Part of the plan is to use a tested and engineered protein called Aquaporin – that turns bodily waste into drinking water. It also helps grow plants in space.

How will this be accomplished?

Ask the experts:

  • Dr Caitlin Byrt, an ANU Institute for Space Mission Specialist based in the Research School of Biology
  • Dr Jacob Humpal, an agricultural engineer developing automated plant monitoring systems for growing plants in space
  • NASA space crop production project manager Ralph Fritsche
  • Mt Stromlo Astro-guru Brad Tucker.

Excerpt speakers are available for interviews (Ralph Fritsche has limited availability).

Saturday 14 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/growing-food-in-space/

Media enquiries: Brad Tucker, brad.tucker@anu.edu.au; or Brittany Carter, actscienceweek@gmail.com, or 0401 332 137.

Putting crunchy crickets on the menu – online

Insects are a great source of protein.

Grasshoppers, cicadas and mealworms are also  nutritious.

Should we be sourcing more sustainable, locally grown foods?

Ask the experts about alternative food sources:

  • Food and nutrition scientist Associate Professor Nenad Naumovski, University of Canberra
  • Professor Michelle Colgrave, Future Protein Lead, CSIRO.

Tuesday 10 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/food-for-thought-alternative-food-sources/

Media enquiries: Australian Academy of Science media, media@science.org.au or 0488 766 010

Exposing the quacks – online

Science communicator and GP, Dr Brad Mckay is warning us not to trust Dr Google.

His new book “Fake Medicine: Exposing the wellness crazes, cons and quacks” investigates the myths, scams and fads of modern health and wellbeing.

He’s available to discuss how to spot the charlatans, dodgy practitioners and avoid fad diets.

Canberra Skeptics hosts Dr McKay for an online ‘Fake Medicine’ talk and Q&A.

Monday 16 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/fake-medicine-exposing-the-wellness-crazes-cons-and-quacks-costing-us-our-health/

Media enquiries: Jemma Ferreira Rowe, jemma.ferreira-rowe@hachette.com.au or 02 8248 0800

Food served with a side of science – Canberra

‘Served With a Side of Science: A Canberra Food Festival’ is a weekend-long, city-wide event exploring the nexus of science and food.

Features a tour of an urban farm, workshops on Indigenous plant use or seed growing, talks about beekeeping, demonstrations on how to reduce food waste, and more.

Highlights include:

Multiple events and dates. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/served-with-a-side-of-science-a-canberra-food-festival/ 

Media enquiries: Brittany Carter, actscienceweek@gmail.com, or 0401 332 137.

The birth of the Universe in dance – Phillip

A new inclusive dance company will present the formation of the Universe through interpretive dance.

The Stellar Company in collaboration with ASTRO 3D has launched Company Chamaeleon – a collective of artists living with disability.

Artistic director Liz Lea can speak about the company, the objective of the arts/science collaboration, and her work with astrophysicists.

Photo: dancers Katie Senior and Liz Lea, by Lorna Sim

Image description: two Caucasian women wearing black dresses with a pink inset in the middle of the chests with hands on their laps as they sit, looking straight ahead.

Friday 20 August to Sunday 22 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/stars-in-3d/phillip/

Media enquiries: Liz Lea, thestellarcompanyact@gmail.com or 0498 988 252

Liz Lea is available for media interviews.

Gamers take on climate change – Watson

Game developers Jessy Robinson and Gabriella Wilson have created Bleached Az, an interactive game about ocean conservation.

They are available to explain how they developed a game that they believe can help save the world.

They are appearing at an online festival with other experts discussing how to test satellite systems, virtual reality and physics in games.

Saturday 21 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/game-plus-fest/watson/

Media enquiries: Jarrod Farquhar-Nicol, contact@gameplus.com.au, 0423 402 873

Jarrod Farquhar-Nicol available for media interviews. Mention Game Plus Fest Online in the email subject.

Understanding the Universe, LEGO brick by brick – online & Canberra

How did matter evolve over billions of years?

An explanation comes in the form of building the Universe’s evolutionary timeline with LEGO.

For a better understanding of the Big Bang, Manik Mahajan from The Young Stars Program is available for interview

Saturday 21 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/building-the-universe-brick-by-brick/

Media enquiries: Manik Mahajan, The Young Stars Program, manik.mahajan@anu.edu.au

Scouts reveal the maths and science of Outdoors – online

Scouting has always been strong on STEM skills even if they weren’t called that back in the day. Maths to calculate catering quantities and navigate, the science of water purification, the physics of abseiling, and the engineering and construction of pioneering structure – they all had their place.

A new award scheme and program for our youth members, STEM and Innovation forms one of 6 explicit Special Interest Areas that enable Scouts to set goals and pursue ideas that could be beyond some of our imaginations.

Scout troops across the country will screen the films in local halls and other venues, with kids following instructions to build the projects. The fun will culminate in a national finale webinar hosted in collaboration with Fizzics Education in late August.

Sunday 18 July to Saturday 28 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/sciscouts-science-of-outdoors/

Media enquiries: Kate Lehane, SciScoutsACT@gmail.com, 0413 482 123

Calling all Jedis: make your own lightsaber – online

Grab a pool noodle, a handheld torch, some rubber bands, tape, cellophane and glue – to make your own lightsaber.

Science Alliance, a team of people with disabilities, is presenting science for people with disabilities. They’re working with ACT Down Syndrome.

Those with low hand-eye co-ordination, difficulty with fine motor skills or mild to moderate disabilities are guided through-out the demonstration.

All other Jedis are welcome. No Siths.

Thursday 19 August. Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/force-able-j-e-d-i-s-with-disabilities/

Media enquiries: Vanessa de Kauwe, vanessa.dekauwe@anu.edu.au, 0416 040 511

Students with disabilities available for media interviews, according to their abilities.

Can you find the owls in the night? Researchers recruiting Hoot Detectives – online

Hark, is that an owl hooting?

Researchers are after volunteers to help map five native Australian owl species, by listening to short recordings made in the bush. 

The idea is to hunt for Powerful, Barking, Boobook, Barn, and Masked owls.

The results will provide important information about the range and numbers of these beloved birds of prey. They will also help researchers develop artificial intelligence (AI) systems to use in a new field of science, known as “eco-acoustics”.

This nationwide project is called Hoot Detective, and is produced by the ABC Science in collaboration with the Australian Acoustic Observatory for National Science Week.

Tuesday 10 August – Tuesday 31 August. Visit: www.hootdetective.net.au.

About National Science Week

National Science Week is one of Australia’s largest festivals, first held in 1997.

Last year about 1.1 million people participated in more than 1200 events, despite a global pandemic.

It is proudly supported by the Australian Government; and partners CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association and the ABC. More information: www.scienceweek.net.au.

National Science Week 2021 runs from 14 to 22 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au. Or visit the National Science Week website for more events and activities: www.scienceweek.net.au.