Healthy ageing, loneliness, space cancer, the need for bees and more

Exclude from Home Page, National Science Week

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Highlights from day four of National Science Week

381 events and exhibitions, and 200 online activities to go, and dozens of great stories and talent.

Researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country.

  • QLD/NSW: What makes us feel lonely?
  • NSW: Shielding astronauts from cancer
  • VIC: What’s the deal with nuclear power?
  • NSW: The perils of too much exercise
  • WA: Meet Magnus, the supercomputer that mapped the quokka genome
  • VIC: Why bees matter

Read on for more on these, including event contact details.

Also today:

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:

For general Science Week media enquiries:

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

More about the event highlights

Ending loneliness – online (NSW event, QLD & VIC talent)

Researchers warn that social disconnection poses a greater health threat than smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise.

What makes us feel lonely?

How can we form meaningful relationships?

Psychology researchers Dr Michelle Lim and Professor Catherine Haslam will discuss loneliness, its effects on physical and mental health, and what we can do about it.

Tuesday 17 August. Event details:

Contacts: Michelle Lim,; Catherine Haslam,

Protecting Mars astronauts from cancer – online (NSW)

How do you stop Mars astronauts from developing cancer?

Space experts Sarah Brough and Iver Cairns and Susanna Guatelli can discuss what’s being done to shield astronauts from space weather, which exposes them to acute long-term radiation.

This event is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and the Australian Institute of Physics.

Tuesday 17 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Laura Boland, or 0408 166 426

Sarah Brough is available for media interviews.

Is nuclear power here to stay?  Hawthorn,VIC

Should the next generation of submarines be nuclear powered?

Can nuclear energy slow climate change?

Are nuclear weapons needed for defence?

And why are we storing radioactive waste in our region?

Author and environmentalist Professor Ian Lowe is available for interview, tackles a range of contentious topics in his new book, Long Half-life: The Nuclear Industry in Australia.

Tuesday 17 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Sarah Cannon,, 03 9905 0526

Ian Lowe available for media interviews.

Is too much exercise harmful? – online (NSW)

Associate Professor Anne Tiedemann says physical activity for older people is important, but too much exercise can be harmful.

How does exercise prevent chronic disease and what happens if you don’t move at all.

Ask Associate Professor Tiedemann about the role of exercise in healthy ageing.

Tuesday 17 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Anne Tiedemann,

Why bees matter– online (VIC)

One out of every three bites you put in your mouth was pollinated by honeybees.

Carmel Gerdsen from CMG Honeybee understands the need for bees.

She is available to talk on a range of topics ranging from the critical importance of bees – to the many uses of bees wax  – to making your own honey.

She’s also an expert in which pollinating plants to have in your garden.

Carmel is presenting a series of events (via zoom) via the Iramoo Community Centre:

Tuesday 17 August: Bee friendly plants and garden identification. Event details:

Media enquiries: Carmel Gerdsen, or 0413 066 213

Carmel Gerdsen is available for media interviews.

Make way for a new supercomputer – online (WA)

Setonix, a supercomputer thirty times more powerful than its predecessors, is about to arrive.

It will accelerate research projects and solve massive problems even quicker.

It will replace the Magnus Supercomputer, which is being farewelled at the Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre. Meet Magnus via a virtual tour – the supercomputer that found gold, searched the stars, and made the first map of the quokka genome.

Pawsey Centre executive director Mark Stickells is available for interviews

Tuesday 17 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Aditi Subramanya,, 0415 077 266.

More about National Science Week

National Science Week 2021 runs from 14 to 22 August. First held in 1997, National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year about 1.1 million people participated in more than 1200 events, despite a global pandemic. In 2021 there will be online events, virtual tours and experiences, DIY science and home-based activities held all around Australia. And there are some in-person events planned in line with local pandemic restrictions.  Media kit at; public event listings at