Space junk, Sky Country, bloody science at school, and saving species with data and rewilding

Monday 14 August: highlights from day three of National Science Week

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

NSW: Space junk and Sky Country: meet a space archaeologist and an Indigenous astrophysicist.

NSW: Bandicoots, platypuses, and more: can we save our endangered species through rewilding?

VIC: Astrophysicists vs science fiction, and a sci-fi costume competition.

National (QLD talent): TV presenter Dr Rob Bell shares bloody science with kids in 200 schools nationwide.

ACT: Join a model ichthyosaur at The Rocks That Shape Australia Exhibition launch.

ACT: Pew-pew! Fact or fiction in Hollywood ballistics.

SA: Can data save the dolphins? It may with your help.

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

Also today:
Coming up tomorrow:

An Aussie astronaut, Noongar knowledge, and do environmental policies add up? – see a preview of Tuesday’s highlights.

National Science Week 2023 runs from 12 to 22 August.

Visit to find more stories in your area.

Media centre here. Images for media here.

General Science Week media enquiries: Tanya Ha: or 0404 083 863

More about the event highlights

Cultural cosmos: a space archaeologist and an Indigenous astrophysicist – Ultimo, NSW

Australian space archaeologist Dr Alice Gorman and Gamilaraay astrophysicist Karlie Noon discuss new frontiers of science. From space junk and preservation to the connection between astronomy and cultural heritage and the future of Australians in space. Together they unravel the festival theme trace through the galactic lens.

Karlie Noon is a Gamilaraay astrophysicist and mathematician with over a decade of experience in science communication and Indigenous heritage. She is also co-author of the award-winning book First Knowledges – Sky Country.

Dr Alice Gorman is a leader in the field of space archaeology and author of the award-winning book Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future. She is an Associate Professor at Flinders University in Adelaide and a heritage consultant with over 25 years’ experience.

Monday 14 August.

Media enquiries: Siân Davies,, 0402 728 462; or Sasha Haughan,, 0405 006 035.

Bandicoots, platypuses, and more: can we save our endangered species through rewilding? – Kensington, NSW

From the golden bandicoots in the Strzelecki Desert to the platypuses in the Royal National Park, can we save our endangered species through rewilding?

Join ecologists and rewilding experts in their quest to reverse the devastating impact of climate change on our natural environment and stop Australia from being ‘extinction central’:

  • UNSW Sydney’s Director of the Centre for Ecosystem Science, Professor Richard Kingsford
  • Principal Ecologist for the Wild Deserts project Dr Rebecca West
  • Associate Professor Katherine Moseby
  • Lead Researcher for the Platypus Conservation Initiative Dr Gilad Bino.

This panel discussion chaired by journalist Dr Ann Jones explores the limitations of traditional conservation approaches to landcare and highlights the power of rewilding our fragile ecosystems – all before it’s too late.

Monday 14 August.

Media enquiries: UNSW Centre for Ideas,, 02 9065 0485.

Astrophysicists vs science fiction, and a sci-fi costume competition – Hawthorn, VIC

What will be the next big thing in physics and astronomy? And is real science better than fiction?

Ask a panel of experts, including:

  • Professor Virginia Kilborn, Swinburne’s Chief Scientist
  • Dr Rebecca Allen, Co-Director, Space Technology and Industry Institute
  • Dr Sara Webb, Astrophysicist and Space Challenge Mission Director
  • Simon Goode, Astrophysicist and Machine Learning Enthusiast
  • Lisa Horsley, Science Communicator

Audience members are invited to dress as their favourite sci-fi character or pay homage to a real-life scientist, with prizes for the best costumes.

Monday 14 August:

Media enquiries: Swinburne media,, 0455 502 999 or 0410 569 311.

TV presenter Dr Rob Bell promises Aussie kids a ‘bloody good time’ – 200 schools Australia-wide

Why do some animals have blue blood? Why does a skinned knee get scabby? How many colours can a bruise really turn?

To answer these questions (and more) Dr Rob Bell, former presenter of science show Scope, has teamed up with the Red Cross to have a bloody good time this Science Week. More than 200 primary schools have signed up to the Big Bloody Experiment, which is part science experiment and part special-effects workshop. The blood will be fake, but the facts are real!

Saturday 12 – Friday 18 August:

Media enquiries: Dr Rob Bell, or 0438 387 019.

Dr Rob Bell is available for media interviews.

Join a model ichthyosaur at The Rocks That Shape Australia Exhibition launch – Symonston, ACT

The Rocks that Shape Australia exhibition features eight rock specimens from around Australia, each telling a story about that rock’s economic, historical, cultural or environmental significance to Australia along with objects that help illustrate its history.

This launch event opens the exhibition. Geoscience Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Steve Hill will announce the name of their 3-metre-long ichthyosaur model, as suggested by visitors on the Geoscience Australia Facebook page. Ichthyosaurs – derived from the Greek for “fish lizard” – are large extinct marine reptiles.

Monday 14 August:

Media enquiries: GA Media Hotline 1800 882 035 or

Pew-pew! Fact or fiction in Hollywood ballistics – Kingston, ACT & online

How realistic are gun fights on the big screen? Ask the experts from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the ACT Branch of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS).

AFP forensic ballistics experts will bust the myths about those famous Hollywood gun fights. Members, guests, students and interested members of the public are invited to join us and learn more about this fascinating field of forensic science.

Science Stations will also be set up to learn more about various forensic science disciplines and using specialised equipment such as microscopes. Or grab some popcorn and watch the action on the screen.

Monday 14 August:

Media enquiries: Annalise Wrzeczycki, ANZFSS ACT Branch, or 0415 308 958.

Using data to map dolphin migration – Kangaroo Island

Can data save the dolphins?

Dolphin movements, patterns, behaviours and preferred habitat are fundamental elements in conservation and protection of dolphins, about which very little is known.

Community volunteers are also invited to participate in dolphin monitoring surveys (space permitting) and data analysis workshops on Kangaroo Island and in Victor Harbor, South Australia.

Images and videos are collected, identifying individual dolphins by distinctive dorsal fins and body markings. Data collected is used to inform management practices in collaboration with scientific entities and government agencies. The aim am is to strengthen, protect and conserve dolphins numbers in regional waters. It is also made available to scientists globally, to increase understanding of these iconic marine mammals.

Tuesday 8 August – Friday 18 August:

Media enquiries: Tony Bartram, or 0429 870 006.