Beer science, chronic disease, alcohol goggles, searching for owls, shark dissection, and a feminist cabaret

Exclude from Home Page, National Science Week

Great National Science Week stories and talent up for grabs around Northern Territory, including:

▪ Is malt beer tastier than a regular brew?
▪ Do male sharks really have two penises?
▪ The long-term impact of heart disease and diabetes
▪ Can a lie detector be beaten?
▪ Science meets sequins in a feminist cabaret at Darwin Festival
▪ Help map Aussie owls by listening to their calls.

More on these highlights below, and others at, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Scientists, 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:

The science of beer – what’s the malternative? – Darwin

Is malt beer better than a regular brew?

Beer specialists are taking on the challenge of making a ‘Darwin malt’.

Local brewers are canvasing the history of malt and how to make a brilliant bevvy.

At a tasting with the brewers, CDU postgraduate students have been tasked with picking a beer to represent their research.

Saturday 21 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Rebecca Rogers,

Shark dissection: do male sharks really have two penises? – Darwin

Actually, they’re called ‘claspers’, and channel semen into females during mating.

Charles Darwin University PhD candidate Amy Kirke and colleagues will dissect one-metre sharks – bycatch from commercial fishing – in front of a live audience to show their anatomy, inside and out.

Her research into shark ecology, biology and reproduction is providing information important for improving fisheries and making seafood harvesting more sustainable.

Saturday 21 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Amy Kirke,, 0466 875 275

Amy Kirke is available for media interviews.

Closing the gap with an AI ‘Time Machine’ and a health lab on wheels – Tiwi Islands, Ramingining, Darwin & Rapid Creek

Chronic diseases – such as diabetes and heart disease – cause suffering for thousands of Australians, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

In the Northern Territory, the Menzies School of Health Research is letting people experience the effects of long-term diseases before they get sick.

HealthLAB – a clinic on wheels – lets people see heart and kidney ultrasounds, hear their heart beating, and try on ‘alcohol goggles’ that mimic raised blood alcohol levels.

An award-winning interactive Time Machine app completes the picture – literally – by showing how those choices affect appearance.

HealthLAB will travel to locations around Darwin, the island community of Wurrumiyanga on the Timor Sea, and Ramingining in the Arafura Swamp to work in country with trainee Indigenous health practitioners.

Thursday 12 – Saturday 21 August. Multiple dates and locations

Media enquiries: Minka Dickson, or 08 8946 8539.

Heidi Smith-Vaughan is available for media interviews.

Can you beat a lie detector test? – Darwin City

The team from Counterpilot is testing the science behind lie detectors and how reliable they are.

They are available to discuss whether a polygraph machine can help stamp out fake news and alternative facts.

The group is presenting Truthmachine – a social experiment/immersive experience as part of National Science Week, challenging people to take a lie detector test in a room full of strangers.

Saturday 14 August. Event details:

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

A STEAMy Cabaret – Darwin

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.

Can you find the owls in the night? Researchers recruiting Hoot Detectives – online

Hark, is that an owl hooting?

Researchers are after volunteers to help map five native Australian owl species, by listening to short recordings made in the bush. 

The idea is to hunt for Powerful, Barking, Boobook, Barn, and Masked owls.

The results will provide important information about the range and numbers of these beloved birds of prey. They will also help researchers develop artificial intelligence (AI) systems to use in a new field of science, known as “eco-acoustics”.

This nationwide project is called Hoot Detective, and is produced by the ABC Science in collaboration with the Australian Acoustic Observatory for National Science Week.

Monday 9 – Tuesday 31 August. Visit:

Media enquiries: Ben Keirnan, or 0408 184 858.

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: