Dr Karl, beer science, animal private parts, and Indigenous astronomy at a dark sky party

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Dozens of Science Week stories around Tasmania

  • Dr Karl: what’s the science in future careers?
  • Science, music, Indigenous astronomy at NOCTURNA Dark Sky Retreat.
  • Cats, chemicals, brains, stress, and space junk: young scientists tour Tasmania.
  • Multi-chambered vaginas, elongated clitorises, pseudo-penises and more: improv and 3D-printed animal vaginas reveal the world of female reproduction.
  • Experimental beers with three independent breweries and two thirsty scientists.
  • Citizen scientists wanted to investigate microplastics.
  • Racing robots, seed bombs, an augmented reality sandpit, and more at the Festival of Bright Ideas.
  • How the Southern Ocean is keeping the planet from overheating.
  • Kooo-koo-kaa-kaa, croak, screeee… What is Australia’s favourite animal sound?

More on these highlights below.

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

Read on for direct contact details for each event, or contact Tanya Ha – tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au, 0404 083 863.

Visit ScienceWeek.net.au/events to find stories in your area using the event listing.

Media centre here. Images for media here.

Future science careers with Dr Karl + 350 students: TAS launch event at 9.15am at The Tramsheds in Launceston

Science legend Dr Karl Kruszelnicki kicks off National Science Week in Tassie in a show that tells students the science of their future careers, covering:

  • computer and information technology, and how computers will be as smart as we are
  • genetic engineering and how today’s students will ‘live forever’
  • engineering – how we will try to invent things never invented before
  • basic physics – if we get rid of mass, we can travel to the stars at the speed of light
  • the environment and what we can do to fix it.

Where: The Tramsheds, 4 Invermay Rd, Launceston

Media enquiries: Tiana Pirtle, Tiana.Pirtle@utas.edu.au or 0456 826 322 

National Science Week in Tasmania: highlights

Science, music, Indigenous astronomy at NOCTURNA Dark Sky Retreat – Triabunna

lutruwita (Tasmania’s East Coast) is one of the darkest inhabited spots on Earth.

NOCTURNA is a weekend of stargazing, Indigenous astronomy, live music, Tassie food and drink, fascinating scientific talks and more, held under still-pristine dark skies – a precious natural resource that is under threat from light pollution.

Situated at Spring Bay Mill, visitors will hear from astronomers, neuroscientists, members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and Dark Sky Tasmania about preserving the darkness and our connection to nature.

Key events:

  • Friday 11 August: the Dark Sky Dinner prepared by celebrated Tasmanian chef Lilly Trewartha, featuring music by harpist Emily Sanzaro and talks by Dark Sky Tasmania’s Landon Bannister and Professor Barbara Holland.
  • Saturday 12 August: storytelling around the fire, and astronomy talks under the stars. With current custodians, Graeme Wood and Anna Cerneaz.
  • Sunday 13 August: breath workshop with Dave Murphy and a cold water swim, followed by a day exploring the East Coast.

Friday 11 – Sunday 13 August: Event details: https://www.scienceweek.net.au/event/nocturna-dark-sky-retreat/triabunna

Part of the Beaker Street Festival. See full program: www.beakerstreet.com.au.

Media enquiries: Laura Dyba, laura@paxmondo.agency or 0432 256 582.

Cats, chemicals, brains, stress, and space junk: young scientists tour Tasmania

40 Young Tassie Scientists will talk at schools and public events across the the island, to regional, rural and island communities; as well as in Hobart at the Festival of Bright Ideas.


  • Mars the computer scientist tracking space junk,
  • James the neuroscientist mythbusting stress, 
  • Alex the ecologist turned tabby cat tracker,
  • Ash the brain researcher seeking a stroke of genuis,
  • Nina the chemist brewing superior chemicals, and
  • Nico the zoologist turned public health researcher working to ensure no child has to study on an empty stomach.

Multiple dates and locations. And at Festival of Bright Ideas: Friday 18 – Saturday 19 August.

Media enquiries: Ash Russell (they/them), ash.russell@utas.edu.au or 0447 378 689

All of the Young Tassie Scientists are available for media interviews.

Improv and 3D-printed animal vaginas reveal the world of female reproduction – Hobart

Think the vagina is a simple tube? Think again.

Science communicator Tiana Pirtle explains the unexpected female reproductive strategies with a series of interactive improv skits and an exhibit of 3D-printed animal vaginas.

Learn about multi-chambered vaginas and temporary passages, elongated clitorises, pseudo-penises, vaginas that can sort sperm, and armoured vaginal openings.

From Aristotle through Darwin and still today, the stereotypes of the male as the active player in sex and the female as the passive recipient of sperm have guided biological and evolutionary research. It’s time to look at the science and re-write these stories.

Wednesday 16 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/the-fabulous-freaky-and-fierce-world-of-female-reproduction-2/hobart

Media enquiries: Tiana Pirtle, Tiana.Pirtle@utas.edu.au

Experimenting with beer– Hobart & online

Three Australian breweries will craft both a control and an experimental beer. These beers will be exactly the same except for one experimental difference, which will highlight the incredible sensory shifts that science can have on beer.

Hear about the science and taste the difference with beer-loving scientists Kelsey Picard and Matthew Fielding.

Audience members can join the live event in Hobart or join watch parties across Australia as they delve into the science of brewing. Science and beer nerds from across Australia can also pre-order the beers to enjoy at home while watching the event live-stream.

Thursday 17 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/exbeerimental-science-2023/hobart

Media enquiries: Matthew Fielding, beerablescience@gmail.com or 0417 167 618.

Kelsey Picard and Matthew Fielding are available for media interviews.

Citizen scientists wanted to investigate microplastics – Launceston

Is it sand or microplastics?

Discover what plastics can be found in beach sand, alongside other typical beach materials such as shells, and organic matter.

This activity will have participants learning about the source of microplastics and their impact on our marine ecosystems.

Thursday 17 – Saturday 19 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/citizen-science-investigating-microplastics/launceston

Media enquiries: Maddie Brough, maddie.brough@launceston.tas.gov.au

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, and why should you care?
  • 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, crank up a tornado in a bottle, try at escaping from handcuffs, catch sounds, 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.

Friday 18 August: Schools Day: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/festival-of-bright-ideas-schools-day/hobart

Saturday 19 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/festival-of-bright-ideas-2/hobart/  

Media enquiries: Belinda, Inspiring.Tasmania@utas.edu.au

Unsung heroes: Southern Ocean vs. climate change – Sandy Bay, TAS

Ask the experts how the Southern Ocean is keeping the planet from overheating and how scientists find out this hidden crucial information from the plants and animals living in the extraordinary world of the Southern Ocean.

Secrets of the natural world often lurk in places we could never dream of going ourselves. These secrets are crucial in the unfolding battle against climate change.

Find out more about the Island of Ideas public talks: www.utas.edu.au/about/events/island-of-ideas

Tuesday 22 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/unsung-heroes-southern-ocean-vs-climate-change/sandy-bay

Media enquiries: Belinda Brock, UTAS.Events@utas.edu.au or 03 6226 2521.

What is Australia’s favourite animal sound?

Do you love the summer night sounds of cicadas? Or the outback howl of dingoes? Are you intrigued by the lyrebird’s mimicry or the mating croaks of frisky frogs?

The search is on to find our most-loved Aussie animal sound. This National Science Week, ABC Science wants people to go online to eavesdrop on the animal kingdom, explore the wonder and science of bioacoustics, and vote for their favourite call of the wild.

Twenty-five different animal sounds have been selected by ABC’s resident nature-lovers in consultation with scientists so that people can get to know our local tweets, howls, bellows, barks, chirps, croaks and calls, and vote for their favourites.

Monday 31 July – Friday 18 August: www.abc.net.au/sounds.

Media enquiries: Laura Boland, laura@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0408 166 426.

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 www.scienceweek.net.au.