TAS: Wine science, wilderness, and beauty from the ashes

National Science Week

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

  • Meet the sneezing scientist, a cheesy microbiologist, Batwoman, and more Young Tassie Scientists
  • Famous Tasmanians talk science in the wilderness
  • Are bushfires good for plankton?
  • What can four different brews teach you about the science of beer?
  • Beauty from the ashes: recovery after bushfires—Tasmania
  • Where does your pinot get its flavour and aroma from? Ask a wine scientist (yes, that is a real thing!)
  • Become a Carbon Counter and join the challenge cut our contribution to climate change.

More on these highlights below, and others at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/science-week, and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia.

Scientists, artists, performers and event organisers are available for interview throughout Science Week. Read on for contact details for each event, or call:

Tanya Ha: tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863
Niall Byrne: niall@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0417 131 977

Individual event details and media contacts

Young Tassie Scientists — virtual visits to schools around Tasmania

This year, the Young Tassie Scientists are doing virtual visits to schools, talking about their research, career stories and answering student questions, via videolink. Taking part are:

  • Allanna Russell, a neuroscientist searching for a stroke of genius;
  • Dipon Sarkar, a cheesy microbiologist studying food-making microbes;
  • Alyce Hennessy, Tasmania’s own Batwoman;
  • Lachlan Tegart, the sneezing scientist studying hay fever;
  • and many more.

More about the Young Tassie Scientists.

Multiple dates and locations.

Saving energy at home with Matt Ruffin—Huonville, TAS

Energy expert Matt Ruffin will share his tips on how you can save energy at home: different kinds of insulation, draught sealing, double glazed windows, insulating curtains and blinds and the comparative efficiency of different types of heating and lighting.

High energy bills? Want to be more energy efficient at home? Energy expert Matt Ruffin will share with you his tips on how you can save energy at home. He will show different kinds of insulation, draught sealing, double and triple glazed windows, insulating curtains and blinds and the comparative efficiency of different types of heating and lighting. Be a super sleuth and check the energy used by different appliances. Save energy and earn pocket money.

Based at the Huon Energy Hub participants will see the renewable energy features of the building including the solar panels and battery, sustainable heating including the pellet heater and the vermin proof composting system.

Meet the Facilitator

Matt Ruffin is an energy and sustainability educator. In a decade of work in sustainability, Matt has completed over 1000 home and 50 small business energy audits, trained over 300 builders in the basics of sustainable design and construction, and written articles on energy efficiency and green building for a variety of publications.

He is a passionate advocate for the critical importance of sustainability to our collective future with a focus on individual and community-level action, and lives a relatively low impact lifestyle by practicing mindfulness and conscious consumption.

Saturday 15 August. Event details

Event type: in person

Thylacine Hair: New observations—West Launceston, TAS

A recent conservation treatment of a newly discovered Thylacine skin has provided an important opportunity to document the appearance and structure of Thylacine hair.

This session will describe the history of the skin (now in the collection of the National Museum of Australia) and using newly recorded SEM and microscopy images, and live microscopy, will engage in a discussion about current research into the shape and properties of Thylacine hair, a topic that is remarkably poorly covered in the literature.

Monday 17 August Event details

Event type: Online

Media enquiries: Recently Published in the 40 Degrees South Magazine

High resolution images available, including new scientific information about Tasmanian Tiger hair

Skin now in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Australia

Sci Art Walks: audio-escapes in Tasmania’s wilderness

Sci Art Walks is a series of musical works, featuring unscripted talks by some of the state’s prominent scientists and cultural icons.

Join mathematical gambler and MONA founder David Walsh, marine ecologist Professor Gretta Pecl, musician Brian Ritchie, Guardian Australia cartoonist First Dog on the Moon, mathematician Professor Barbara Holland, and more.

Each episode will be paired with a suggested walking trail, located in parks and reserves, such as Cradle Mountain, Freycinet National Park and the Tasman Peninsula.

From Saturday 15 August. Event details

From Sky to Sea: Bushfires, the atmosphere and the marine environment—Hobart, TAS

What does plankton have to do with bushfires? How does weather influence fire, and what can Tasmania expect in the future? Hear from two experts at this online event.

Paul Fox-Hughes is a researcher working in the Bureau of Meteorology, mostly on the interactions of fire and weather, after spending two decades as a severe weather forecaster.

Pete Strutton is a biological oceanographer at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania. He uses satellites, ship-based data and autonomous ocean observing platforms to investigate how climate affects ocean life.

Paul and Pete share their science for the annual public lecture of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society and the Australian Marine Science Association.

Tuesday 18 August. Event details

Science Made Beerable

Four breweries and four brews: each demonstrating a different aspect of the science of beer.

Science Made Beerable – a partnership between thirsty scientists Kelsey Picard and Matt Fielding – is taking this hop-portunity to make you weiser to ale the science that gose into a brew with a live-streamed beer tasting event.

Four breweries—Hobart Brewing Company, Shambles Brewery, OCHO Beer and Van Dieman brewing—have put forward a beer they think highlights some of the science that goes into a brew. Brewers from these ale-makers will explain more.

You can order your four-pack to drink along at home, as Picard, Fielding and their brewer friends delve into how each beer is made, what sets them apart, and how science is integral to every step of the process.

Visit the Facebook page to find out more and learn about the science behind the brews.

Wednesday 19 August. Event details

Beauty from the ashes

Tasmania is a flammable island. The impact of bushfires can range from disturbance to disaster.

This online event explores how we respond to fire. It will begin with a short film about landscape recovery in areas of high conservation value that were affected by recent fires – including the Tasmanian Land Conservancy’s Five Rivers Site. The film also explores Tasmanian artists’ responses to the fires.

It will be followed by a discussion, led by Dr Penelope Jones and Dr Amy Jackett, featuring scientists, conservation leaders, artists and members of the Aboriginal community.  

Thursday 20 August. Event details

Organisers and panellists available for media interviews.

Chemical and sensory comparison of Australian pinot noir wines

August 18 is International Pinot Noir Day – which might prompt the question: does it matter where your wine comes from?

Wine scientist Dr Rocco Longo from the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture conducted a pinot noir tasting study. He found there are differences in the chemistry, flavour and aroma of wines depending on the region from which they originate.

Rocco’s webinar, ‘Chemical and Sensory Comparison of Australian Pinot Noir Wines: A Preliminary Study’, in which he shares his findings will be launched online, fittingly enough, on August 18, and will be available until August 23. 

Tuesday 18 – Sunday 23 August. Event details

Carbon Counter: cut your contribution to climate change—national

How much carbon will you pledge to save this National Science Week? Put on a jumper when you’re cold, cut your shower time, eat roo or fish instead of beef, cycle instead of driving. These are some of the small changes that you, your household or your school can adopt to reduce your carbon footprint.

Join in at Carbon Counter, a countrywide challenge produced by the ABC. See what savings your lifestyle hacks will make and pledge to make a difference.

The Carbon Counter project invites individuals, households and schools to make small changes to day-to-day energy, food and transport use with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas production.

A running tally of the tonnes of carbon saved shows the collective impact of you and your fellow challengers.

Visit: www.abc.net.au/carboncounter.

Researchers and science communicators available for interviews.

Media enquiries: Andrew Masterson, andrew@scienceinpublic.com.au, 03 9398 1416 or 0488 777 179

About National Science Week

National Science Week is one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year 1.5 million people participated in more than 2050 events around the country, in metropolitan, regional and remote locations.

In 2020, the festival is almost entirely virtual, online, DIY and well-spaced. This means most events, large and small, is open to anyone, no matter where they live.

National Science Week 2020 will run from 15 to 23 August. Media kit at www.scienceinpublic.com.au, public event listings at www.scienceweek.net.au.