The forgotten physicist, bird song, sensory science books, Antarctic music, and more

Exclude from Home Page, National Science Week

Great National Science Week ARTS stories up for grabs now around Australia.

Acting out a forgotten female physicists’ life
▪ Creating art works with light, computers and physics
▪ A feminist cabaret at Darwin Festival
▪ Music meets Antarctic science
▪ Artists explore brain health
▪ The art and science of bird song
▪ Meet the legally blind artist creating ‘books’ to read with your eyes shut

If you’re after more ideas for stories, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

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

▪ Tanya Ha: or 0404 083 863
▪ Niall Byrne: or 0417 131 977 or 03 9398 1416.

Individual event details and media contacts

Forgotten genius defends her life – Subiaco, WA

Meet the 18th century woman deeply involved in laying down the laws of physics.

‘Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight’ by Lauren Gunderson is a fast-paced biographical play that delves into the heart and mind of forgotten scientific genius Emilie du Châtelet – gifted mathematician and physicist, and Voltaire’s lover.

Lead actor Kate O’Sullivan, director Michelle Ezzy, and producer Alan Gill – who also plays Voltaire – are available for interviews.

Friday 13 August to Saturday 14 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Lynne Burford,, 0417 921 038

Colourful white light – Online, NSW

Belgian artist Adrien Lucca uses chemistry, spectometry, electronics and computer science to analyse colour.

His research includes isolating white light components which then appear coloured.

The global artist is available to talk about creating new visual phenomena and how light changes the colour of materials.

Sunday 15 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Jean Pretorius, Colour Society of Australia, New South Wales Division,

A STEAMy Cabaret – Darwin, NT

Three female scientists, musicians and a group of burlesque performers are presenting a STEAMy cabaret – that’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics kind of STEAM.

The showcase celebrates women in many roles – from nurturer to rock star, dancer to researcher.

Varied topics are tackled including feminism, fisheries, genetics and medical anthropology.

It’s an inspiring celebration of mind and body.

Sunday 15 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Matt Fraser, or 0401 326 007; or Amber Forrest-Bisley, or 0405 363 817.

Music inspired by Antarctic sights, sounds and science – online, NSW

Can The Arts can help scientists communicate their research to a wide audience and spark action on climate change?

Acclaimed Australian Earth scientist and author Professor Chris Turney and composer and multi-instrumentalist are collaborating to produce a new Antarctic science-inspired sound and image work: ‘Sounds from the Ice’.

Chris will discuss his quest to understand how past climates inform what we know about future change and how, working in the Antarctic, he is developing new records of past climate that extend historical weather records over millennia.

Marine scientist and ‘Deep Blue on My Doorstep’ podcast host Tracy Ainsworth will facilitate this online event, presented by Sydney Recital Hall.

Wednesday 18 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Jackie Randles, or 0481 006 158.

A legally blind artist making sensory science ‘books’ you can read with your eyes closed – Clayton, VIC

Dr Erica Tandori creates tactile displays and multi-sensory, multimodal artworks. She has vision loss due to an inherited eye disease and is artist in residence at Monash University’s Rossjohn Laboratory. 

‘My Goodness’ is an exhibition of 10 interactive multisensory science ‘books’ designed for low-vision, blind, hearing-impaired, and deaf audiences, using large print text, braille, tactile artworks, haptic and 3D audio, visual tracking and tactile sensor interaction technologies.

The books explore the relationship between infection, immunity, food, and nutrition. They make science accessible to more people by using large print text, braille, tactile artworks, haptic and 3DAudio, visual tracking and tactile sensor interaction technologies.

Friday 20 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Wendy Smith, or 03 9905 2050.

Erica Tandori is available for media interviews.

How do our brains and biomes work? – online via Newcastle, NSW

Explore how brain health changes through life, the emerging problem of eco-anxiety, and how our wellbeing is inextricably linked to our environmental footprint through two Science Week exhibitions, ‘Brain’ and ‘Biomes’, and a series of talks.

These interactive exhibitions and experiential workshops showcase innovative collaborations with artists, technologists, industry and community, creating a genuine and continuing exchange of information with a broad audience.

‘Brain’ explores the impressive inner workings of our brains. ‘Biomes’ re-engages us with the wonders of the natural world. Together these exhibitions show how connected to our environment we really are. Talk topics include music and the brain and art and science – a happy marriage.

Saturday 14 August to Sunday 29 August. Exhibition details:

Media enquiries: Michelle Kelly, University of Newcastle, or 02 4921 6838

Fish with jaws like crocodiles – Wyangala, NSW

360 million years ago, huge fish swam in the mighty rivers of Central West New South Wales.

Bizarre ancient fish were aplenty – they were armoured, others had lungs or even jaws like crocodiles.

Thousands of their fossils have been found, providing a unique glimpse into life during the Devonian Period.

In a series of online workshops illustrator Angus Fisher and artist Todd Fuller will work with participants to create individual fish and habitats, culminating in a giant, interspecies billabong.

Saturday 14 to Sunday 22 August. Event details:   

Media enquiries: Phoebe Cowdery, The CORRIDOR Project,, 0413 910 697

Angus Fisher and Todd Fuller available for media interviews.

What are birds saying? – online, NSW

There’s a beauty and precision in bird calls.

We even sometimes describe bird sounds as singing.

But bird calls have syntax and structure, too. But what are birds trying to communicate?

The Birds and Language Conference brings together dozens of experts from the natural sciences, humanities and creative arts.

Many speakers are available for interviews. See full program: .

Thursday 19 August to Friday 20 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Madeleine Kelly,, 0430 339 995

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:

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