Knitting neurons; bringing science to wellness; Blossom the possum and 300 more events across NSW

National Science Week

NSW launches National Science Week today – 13 August

Sydney Science Festival & NSW Science Week launch at 5pm, The Powerhouse Museum

Australian Museum Science Festival launch at 8.30am, The Australian Museum

From arts colliding with science in Lismore to astronomy and the ‘End of the Universe’ in Albury Wodonga; from breaking a world record in Broken Hill to celebrity scientists in Sydney; there are so many events registered across the state for National Science Week, it needed TWO launches!

“In New South Wales, over 300 events are being held in parks, museums, galleries, universities, community centres, libraries, workplaces and schools,” says Jackie Randles, Inspiring Australia manager.

“These are 300 opportunities to hear from leading thinkers and scientists, debate the hot topics, discuss the role of science in the economy and its careers, or just have fun doing interesting science.”

“Regional NSW is playing to its strengths with outback astronomy events in Broken Hill, frogwatching and more in the Sapphire Coast’s wetland ecosystems, and bush foods and medicinal plants in the New England region,” says Jackie.

Over 1,500 National Science Week events will be held across Australia—from a croc dissection in Darwin, down to an exhibition of breathtaking photographs of Aurora Australis in Tassie.

Now in its 18th year, National Science Week is one of Australia’s largest festivals, with last year’s program reaching an audience of over a million people.

The festival is proudly supported by the Australian Government; partners CSIRO, Australian Science Teachers Association, and the ABC; and sponsors NewScientist, Cosmos, Popular Science and PrimaryConnections.

National Science Week 2015 will run from 15-23 August. Visit the website at


Jackie Randles is available for media interviews broadly on National Science Week across the state.

Contact her directly via or 0481 006 158

Sydney Science Festival launch, with NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane interviews and photo opportunities 5pm, The Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo. Contact: Amy Owen on, (02) 8065 7363 or 0404 977 338

Australian Museum Science Festival launch, with Executive Director and CEO Kim McKay AO, NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane, and Dr Karl interviews and photos at 8.30am, Australian Museum, 6 College Street, Sydney. Contact: Catherine Beehag on or (02) 9320 6389

See below for a selection of events across Sydney and around the state’s regions

National Science Week: Samples from Sydney

Here are some highlights from Science Week in Sydney. See next page for a Regional Roundup.

Space, snake oil and ‘Science in the Swamp!’ at Sydney Science Festival

Space Jam with Australia’s astronomers asking what’s going on with the universe?; snake oil with Dr Karl; and the Sydney Mini Maker Faire full of local innovative makers and their inventions—these are just some of the highlights of the inaugural Sydney Science Festival, 13-23 August.

Over 10,000 visitors are expected to attend 70 events across 34 venues in Sydney, including the Powerhouse Museum, the Australian Museum and the Australian National Maritime Museum, university campuses and local libraries. Festival details

Science, sustainability and society: can we have too much of a good thing?

godObesity, waste, greed, McMansions and suburban sprawl—are we living the Australian dream or nightmare?

In this scientific look at EXCESS, ‘vaguely good doctors’ and hosts Rod Lamberts and Will Grant discuss the problems of having too much with guests waste recycler David Singh, longevity expert Dr Samantha Solon-Biet, architectural virtuoso Melonie Bayl-Smith, and pot-stirring priest Gosford Anglican Church’s Father Rod Bower. Event details

Crap or credible? Bringing Science to Wellness

Actress and anti-vaccination campaigner Jenny McCarthy says she got her degree from the University of Google. Belle Gibson infamously claimed she cured herself from brain cancer through diet and nutrition… and, off the back of this, made a best-selling app and a career as a wellness guru, despite never having had cancer.

Pseudoscience, unsubstantiated claims and media-friendly wellness warriors are often at the heart of untested and even unhealthy lifestyle and nutritional choices.

What would it take to encourage a more rational approach to wellness, and why don’t more evidence-based scientists participate in this growing industry?

ABC Radio’s Natasha Mitchell will host a discussion of these potentially life and death issues, with a panel of research and medical experts and communicators including consumer advocate Christopher Zinn, a Professor of Dietics Margaret allman-Farinelli, neuroscientist and health blogger Dr Sarah McKay and lifestyle journalist Liz Graham, acting editor at body+soul. Event details

Bush medicine, astronomy and native animals: the Indigenous Science Experience

bush40,000 plus years of continuous culture represents a wealth of accumulated knowledge that all Australians can learn from, such as bush medicine, biodiveristy and local knowledge of Australia’s night skies.

The Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern includes a Family Fun Day (event details), a schools program (event details) and lunchtime talk on Aboriginal astronomy (event details).

Brainwaves, Blossom the possum, and a ‘Shark in a Bus’ at the Australian Museum Science Festival

The Australian Museum is opening it’s doors to the nation’s budding student scientists for National Science Week, with DIY experiments, hands-on activities and workshops, roaming scientists, and live animals, including Blossom the possum.

Activities and exhibits include robotics, solving a crime with foresncic science, the ‘Shark in a Bus’ mobile museum, and the virtual reality ‘Brain Show’ that visualises people’s brain activity.

There’ll be days designated for primary school and high school students, under 7’s, and the whole community to get their hands into some science.

National Science Week: Regional Roundup

Pub science, frogwatching and a night at the aquarium – Sapphire Coast

Explore the night creatures of the coast with UV torches, learn about Aboriginal astronomy, find frogs to check wetland health, or sit back and enjoy some Science in the Pub. It’s all part of the Sapphire Coast Science Festival, organised by the Sapphire Coast Regional Science Hub.

This week-long festival brings dozens of science talks, demonstrations and fun activities to several locations across the Bega Valley Shire, from Eden to Tathra. The festival launches on Saturday 15 August with the Wonders of Wallagoot Lake, exploring the science of this nationally significant wetland ecosystem, with nine workshops on the science of estuaries. Other festival highlights include a night at the Merimbula Wharf Aquarium, frogwatching at Panboola and Open Day at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre. Event details

Neural Knitworks and night skies – Albury Wodonga

neuralKnit a neuron to help keep your real ones healthy. Wodonga Library will host Neural Knitworks, a national brain health awareness program. Participants learn about neuroscience while they knit, craft, wrap or knot a neuron out of wool and textiles. Event details

Ahead of Albury Wodonga’s participation in the World Record Stargazing attempt, astrophysicist and cosmologist Dr Brad Tucker will do some hands-on science with local schools and a special public presentation titled ‘Exploding Stars, Dark Energy & the End of the Universe’ on Wednesday 19 August at 7pm. Event details

Arts vs Science Festival – Lismore

A solar-powered sound stage, a ‘Backyard Big Scrub Makeover’ with Gardening Australia’s Costa and a National Science Week schools art competition are just some of the features of the 2015 Arts vs Science Festival in Lismore, this year in collaboration with Big Scrub Rainforest Day.

The Arts vs Science Festival brings together science, creativity, and sustainability. It will be held on Saturday 22 August at Lismore City Hall with interactive science and arts workshops, judging of the schools art and video competition, films, guest speakers and live music. Event details

From the garden: Indigenous food, medicine and stories – Armidale

treesLocal Elders, Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics and visiting scholars, students, artists and botanical illustrators have come together to promote Indigenous science and to foster cultural pride.

The shared knowledge has created a new bush food and medicinal plant trail at the community garden in East Armidale.

During Science Week, there will be a series of Indigenous science workshops (event details), Elder Frances Bodkin will speak at UNE on Thursday evening 20 August (event details) and the Bush Food and Medicine Plant Trail will officially opened on Saturday 22 August from 1pm (event details).

Smashing the world records for stargazing

This National Science Week looks set to see tens of thousands of Aussies attempt to smash two Guinness World Records: Most People Stargazing at a Single Site (Canberra) and Most People Stargazing Across Multiple Sites in a Country.

Mt. Stromlo Observatory will be leading both attempts. Canberrans can be involved in both record attempts.  Or people can join the multiple site record attempt at one of the registered stargazing sites at schools, observatories and other venues dotted across the Eastern states, including Sydney, Broken Hill, Balanglo, Oyster Bay, Green Point, Penrith and Albury. Find sites on this map. Friday 21 August, 7pm Event details