Footy science, food flavour, and why you should soil your undies

Exclude from Home Page, National Science Week

Great National Science Week stories and talent up for grabs around South Australia, including:

  • Science facts and fiction, the future of food, and scuba in the pub—Big Science Adelaide is back!
  • Can science make you better at footy?
  • How does a dinosaur grow to 20 tonnes on a vegetarian diet? Find out from the singing palaeontologist.
  • Ask a rocket scientist about space travel.
  • What buried cotton underpants can tell us about soil.
  • Palaeontology, space, maths, or neurogenetics: which science is the best?
  • Donut shooting robots compete at the Showgrounds.
  • Taste the science of flavour.
  • Smaller, faster, lighter X-rays.
  • Help map Australia’s 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.

Plus, SA’s National Science Week launch—12 noon, Friday 13 August at South Australian Museum


  • Minister for Innovation and Skills, the Hon. David Pisoni MP
  • SA’s Chief Scientist Professor Caroline McMillen
  • Singing palaeontologist Professor Flint (aka Michael Mills) shares ‘Dinner with the Dinosaurs’.

Where: South Australian Museum, North Terrace, Adelaide

Media enquiries: Rona Sakko, or 0419 827 723.

National Science Week in SA: event highlights

Fact and fiction, space science, future food, and scuba in the pub

Big Science Adelaide returns with a host of events showcasing big issues, brilliant minds, and top science, right in the heart of Adelaide.

Events include:

  • Would I lie to you? Scientists set out to fool or inform.
  • Demystifying and decoding robots
  • Post dining: what will we be eating in 2050?
  • Into the slimelight: how slime moulds solve mazes and tell time without a single brain cell
  • Sawfish, sea debris and scuba in the pub, and more.

Multiple dates and locations. Event information:

Media enquiries: Rona Sakko, or 0419 827 723.

Soil Your Undies! – Murraylands & Riverland

Better compost. Flourishing gardens. And healthier crops.

An experiment asking people to bury their undies is being staged to help determine what’s in different soils.

The observations will help determine what’s active in soils across locations such as farms, gardens, compost, crops and so on.

The Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board is asking people in those regions to take part.

Saturday 14 August to Monday 4 October. Event details:

Media enquiries: Jayne Miller, or 0467 762 107

Soil biologist Eliza Riger and citizen science coordinator Sylvia Clarke are available for media interviews. 

How vegetarian dinosaurs thrived, told in song – online & Adelaide

How does a dinosaur grow to 20 tonnes on a vegetarian diet? The singing palaeontologist, Professor Flint, explores the ways plants can adapt to a changing world by examining them and their prehistoric landscape through the eyes and tastebuds of the creatures that devoured them.

‘Dinner with the Dinosaurs’ compares significant moments of ecological change in the past, how the food of herbivorous dinosaurs adapted, or didn’t, and how dinosaurs themselves then responded. The performance will take place at the Adelaide Botanic Garden with Professor Flint supported by performers from the Australian Classical Youth Ballet and will be broadcast live on social media.

Sunday 29 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Michael Mills, or 0411 287 381

Professor Flint (aka Michael Mills) is available for media interviews.

What does science have to do with football? – North Adelaide

AFL players are teaming up with researchers to improve their game.

Find out how scientists and sports stars are working together.

As part of National Science Week, a Science in Football workshop will be held after the Adelaide Crows Football Club game at Adelaide Oval on August 22. Kids get to make their own pedometers, providing a starting point for young people to make the connection between STEM and football, and to start considering STEM careers as part of their future.

Sunday 22 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Katie Gloede, or 0419 828 369.

How fast can a rocket go? – Adelaide

Rocket scientist Dr Patrick Neumann’s fascination with space travel led him to develop a super-efficient rocket engine.

He’s available to discuss how quickly a trip to space could be and how safe is it?

He will join Associate Professor Alice Gorman (aka ‘Dr Space Junk’) and space medicine researcher Vienna Tran at a space travel science fact and fiction Q & A event.

Thursday 19 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Hugh Scobie, Ancient World,, 0497 346 952

My Science Rulz, Your Science Droolz! – Hindmarsh

Palaeontology, space, maths, or neurogenetics: which field of science is the best?

A cheeky debate where four teams representing different STEM fields make their case as to why their science is the best while making digs at the other teams’ science.

Who will come away the champion? Who will be able to confidently say they their science RULZ?! The audience will decide.

Featuring team leaders:

  • Team Space: Alice Gorman (aka Dr Space Junk)
  • Team Neuroscience: Associate Professor Lyndsey Collins-Praino
  • Team Mathematics: Dr John Maclean
  • Team Palaeontology: Professor Flint, star of “Dinner with the Dinosaurs”.

Hosted by award-winning comedian Boo Dwyer.

Tuesday 24 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Tahlia Perry, or 0439 806 358.

Team leaders are available for media interviews.

Donut shooting robots compete at the Showgrounds – Wayville

Who can design, build, and operate the ultimate goal-shooting robot?

The SA Student Robotics Club will run a Robot Scrimmage in National Science Week – a program of robotics education, workshops, fun and learning. More than 15 Scrimmage Teams will take on the challenge to design, manufacture, assemble and program robots. The robots will compete to launch ‘donuts’ and score goals, both static and moving targets.

Saturday 14 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Peter Ryan, or 0488 975 288

What makes food taste yum or yuk? – Adelaide

Professor Susan Bastian has honed her palate, researching wine, coffee, chocolate and other food flavours.

The expert in food chemistry is available to discuss what influences people’s enjoyment, or otherwise, of certain flavours.

Professor Bastion will present her views, joined by a beverage expert and a chef, at ‘The Science of Flavour’.

Friday 20 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Hugh Scobie, Ancient World,, 0497 346 952

Smaller, lighter, faster X-rays – Tonsley

How does X-ray imaging work? How is it different to photography? And how will it change in the future? Find out about X-rays and see the high-tech equipment involved, without breaking an arm or leg.

This series of events will give people the opportunity to see inside Adelaide’s Micro-X factory, which makes ‘go-anywhere’ lightweight X-ray machines incorporating innovative design and carbon nanotube technology.

Friday 20 August to Saturday 21 August. Event details:

Media enquiries: Tennille Reed, or 0428 271 243.

Engineer and CEO Peter Rowland is available for interviews.

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: