Meet a dinosaur; whale poo; dog happiness; scabby microbiology cartoons; and a Festival of Bright Ideas

Exclude from Home Page, Media releases, National Science Week

Great National Science Week stories up for grabs now around Australia

  • Whales, poo, Antarctica, and onboard a Southern Ocea research ship with Vanessa Pirotta.
  • Sky Country, bush food, and technology at Redfern’s Indigenous Science Experience.
  • Meet a dinosaur and native animals, and try your hand at science.
  • Street Science on the farm at the Ekka.
  • A science fair for sick kids in The Children’s Hospital.
  • Is your pet stressed, bored, or lonely? Dog happiness and mental health.
  • Racing robots, seed bombs, an augmented reality sandpit, and more at Festival of Bright Ideas.
  • Tree scientist encourages gardeners to grow the urban forest.
  • Paint with a UV torch at ‘Sea of Light’, a light installation at MAGNT.
  • Space, robotics, and engineering with LEGO: science while you shop in Canberra’s malls.
  • ‘Scab’: MicroToons animation brings microbiology to people with autism.

More on these below and visit to find more stories in your area.

Scientists, experts, performers and event organisers are available for interview throughout National Science Week.

Direct contact details for each event are below or contact Tanya Ha on or 0404 083 863.

Media centre here. Images for media here.

Individual event details and media contacts

Whales, poo, Antarctica, and onboard a Southern Ocea research ship with Vanessa Pirotta – online

  • Why do whales go to Antarctica?
  • Why are whales important for our ocean? (Clue: poo)
  • What is it like to do science on a ship in the middle of the ocean?
  • If we could talk to a whale, what would she tell us about Antarctica?
  • What is it like to grow up to be a whale scientist?

Ask wildlife biologist and author Dr Vanessa Pirotta as she shares her science, reads her new children’s book The Voyage of Whale and Calf, and takes people a virtual tour of a scientific research vessel – all broadcast online from the CSIRO’s blue-water research vessel, RV Investigator.

Wednesday 16 August: “Whales, poo and Antarctica all make the world go round!” with Dr Vanessa Pirotta

Thursday 17 August: The Voyage of Whale and Calf – Storytime from a CSIRO Science Ship

Thursday 17 August: Virtual tour of CSIRO’s RV Investigator

Media enquiries: Tanya Ha on or 0404 083 863.

The Indigenous night sky, bush food, and technology – Redfern, NSW

What can Aboriginal astronomy tell us about the night sky? How are native flora used in bush medicine and soap making? How do Indigenous Australians make axes from stone and other artefacts? What can deadly science tell us about seaweed, birdlife, engineering, textiles, and more? What can 60 000+ years of Indigenous culture tell us about sustainable living?

The Indigenous Science Experience at Redfern is a celebration of Indigenous and Western science, and the achivements of Indigenous youth and Elders. This annual event demonstrates the value of traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledge in science and technology. Indigenous students assist in demonstrating activities.

Saturday 19 August.

Media enquiries: Joanne Jamie,, 0439 170 683 or 02 9850 8283.            

Indigenous student leaders and event organiser Joanne Jamie (non-Indigenous) are available for media interviews. View video from 2022 event.

Meet a dinosaur and native animals, and try your hand at science – Centennial Park, NSW

Come face-to-face with a roaming dinosaur, learn bush survival skills, and meet real life scientists like geologists, zoologists, astronomers and marine biologists.

Our ever-popular Science in the Swamp event returns to Centennial Parklands with over 30 stalls and activity stations, and hands-on, family-friendly science experiments.

Great photo opportunities.

Sunday 20 August:

Media enquiries:

Street Science on the farm at the Ekka – Bowen Hills, QLD

Street Science presenters share the science behind agriculture through exciting visual demonstrations. Discover the unexpected potential for produce like seaweed and corn in revolutionising our everyday lives.

Fun and interactive demonstrations will have any young scientist engaged before exploring how innovations in agriculture are shaping the future sustainability of our planet.

Saturday 12 – Sunday 20 August:

Media enquiries: Dr Anita Milroy, or 07 3365 2846

Queensland Children’s Hospital STEM Fair: bringing science to sick kids – South Brisbane, QLD

The Queensland Children’s Hospital STEM Fair brings National Science Week to patients, students, their siblings and parents. Featuring:

Thursday 17 August:

Media enquiries: Dr Anita Milroy, or 07 3365 2846

Dog happiness and mental health – Online

Is your dog stressed, bored, or lonely?

Join University of Melbourne animal welfare scientist Dr Mia Cobb as she unveils the secrets behind canine happiness and decodes a brighter future for dogs and the practical applications to improve dog welfare.

Discover how interdisciplinary animal welfare research is helping dogs to live their happiest lives, alongside their humans.

Thursday 17 August:

Media enquiries: Vanessa Williams, or 0422 261 937.

Racing robots, seed bombs, an augmented reality sandpit, and more at Festival of Bright Ideas – Hobart

  • Ride the waves in an Antarctic storm and dive into the abyss to uncover the mysteries of the deep aboard the blue-water research vessel, Investigator, without getting your feet wet.
  • Go for gold: solve Australian Science Olympiad questions.
  • Make seed bombs to restore backyard biodiversity.
  • Delve into an augmented reality sandpit to see how information about our environment can help people tackle complex challenges.
  • Expert talks on what humans and plants have in common.
  • Pollen, particles and pathogens: what’s in the air?
  • Pick the brains of brain experts.
  • Racing robots with artifical intelligence.
  • Plus, Questacon’s Science on the Move exhibition, where visitors can turn themselves into a battery, make a tornado in a bottle, try escaping from handcuffs, and see the world through coloured filters.

These are just some of the speakers, activities and displays at the Festival of Bright Ideas, Tasmania’s largest public STEM event, at Princes Wharf 1 on Hobart’s waterfront.

Saturday 19 August:    

Media enquiries: Belinda,

Tree scientist encourages gardeners to grow the urban forest – Aberfoyle Park, Noarlunga, Smithfield Plains, Salisbury, & Enfield

Trees reduce pollution, create shade and encourage biodiversity, according to plant scientist Dr Kathryn Hill.

Kathryn studies how well trees are growing and how much carbon they’re storing by measuring their scientific values.  She even compares how plants grew 65 million years ago to how the same species grow today. 

Amateur plant scientists can help her grow and study more trees in Adelaide by attending her National Science Week workshops.

Multiple dates and locations.

Media enquiries: Kathryn Hill, or 0423 693 733.

Painting in a Sea of Light – The Gardens, NT

Sea of Light invites people to explore how light is produced and perceived. Using a UV torch as a paintbrush, participants can paint and stencil their own voyage or create bioluminescent animals in the Discovery Centre at MAGNT.

Children and families can steer ships that leave glowing paths of light in their wake as they sail across the sea floor or create a floor of fireflies that fade as time steals their lanterns.

Sea of Light brings together magical light and a gentle soundscape to create a unique adventure as part of Darwin Festival and National Science Week.

Tuesday 15 August – Sunday 20 August:

Media enquiries: Nicole Ogilvie, or 08 8999 8264.

Dr Kirsti Abbott, Lucyna Kania and Dr Dan Edwards from the MAGNT science team are available for media interviews.

Science in the Centres – Multiple locations, ACT

Science while you shop! Pop-up science activity centres will give shoppers the chance to meet scientists, engineers and daleks, and learn about space, mushroom growing, engineering with LEGO, parasites, chemistry, geology, space, robotics, and more.

Westfield Belconnen, Westfield Woden, Cooleman Court, and the Canberra Centre will host a variety of displays and hands-on science activities during the weekend of National Science Week 19 – 20 August.

Stallholders include Questacon, National Dinosaur Museum, Young Engineers Canberra, ANU Parasitology, Canberra Daleks & Robots, ASTRO 3D, Robogals, Royal Australian Chemical Institute, Dreamtime Connections, Geoscience Australia, Australian Geospatial Intelligence Organisation, Mt Stromlo Observatory, Capital Scraps Composting, Wing, and Canberra Snake Rescue & Relocation.

Multiple dates and locations.

Media enquiries:

Representatives from all stallholders are available for interview.

‘Scab’: MicroToons animation brings microbiology to people with autism – Medina

From the award-winning makers of Microtoons ‘Pimple’, comes the new animated cartoon ‘Scab’.

People with autism can struggle to engage with science, technology, and art, but when they manage to it can empower them. MicroToons is an animated science cartoon designed to do just that.

MicroToons ‘Scab’ is based on a short story of cells and nasty microbes, written by microbiologist and ‘My Mad Scientist Mummy’ children’s book author Rina Fu and brought to life by artists with autism under the mentorship of Dr Rina and Red Bird Creative producer Aaron Welch.

MicroToons is a joint effort between Dr Rina, disabilities service provider 4LifeSkills, and animation studio Red Bird Creative. MicroToons ‘Scab’, a new 3-minute animation, will premiere at a launch event with popcorn, behind-the-scenes insights, and interactive and inclusive science fun for all ages and abilities, including people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Friday 25 August.

Media enquiries: Dr Rina Fu, or 0403 139 745.

Scientists and author Rina Fu and producer Aaron Welch are available for media interviews.

About National Science Week

National Science Week is Australia’s annual opportunity to meet scientists, discuss hot topics, do science and celebrate its cultural and economic impact on society – from art to astrophysics, chemistry to climate change, and forensics to future food.

First held in 1997, National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year about 1.9 million people participated in more than 1,650 events and activities. 

The festival is proudly supported by the Australian Government, CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association, and the ABC.

In 2023 it runs from Saturday 12 to Sunday 20 August. Event details can be found at