Science & Medical |
National Science Week

Super Hornet simulators; sporty science; Robotronica; Aboriginal astronomy; Pokémon GO with real animals; and more

Sunday 20 August 2017

Highlights for the final day of National Science Week

142 events and exhibitions, 16 online activities, and dozens of great stories and talent.

National and international talent, researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country. Plenty of photo opportunities.


·       Kick the physics out of a footy and more sporty science at the Innovation Games, Sydney Olympic Park.

·       What Western science can learn from 50,000+ years of Indigenous knowledge, from Aboriginal astronomy to bush medicine.

Gold Coast

·       Super Hornet flight simulator, virtual reality, and the best of SeaWorld and Questacon: sports centre becomes a pop-up science centre.


·       The birds and the bees, and judging a moth by its genitals.


·       Meet the science writer who turned 13 sea voyages in three years into a book and a play. And hear from her on science, journalism and telling the stories of climate change.

·       Meet Fergus the tawny frogmouth, Mr Slithers the snake, and other Top End wildlife.

Around the country

·       Australians everywhere find where the wild things are with their smartphones.

Read on for more on these, including event contact details.

Also today:

·       Brisbane: Robot surgeons, electric puppets, agribots, artbots, partybots, hive minds, and the 2017 Australian Robowars Championships—all at Robotronica.

·       Melbourne: Sublime Science Cabaret: the poetry of metaphysics, ecological standup comedy, and science in song.

·       Ballarat: Seeing stars: the best of astronomical photography at Ballarat Observatory.

·       Sydney: More than words: This is a Voice immersive exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum.

·       Adelaide: Young scientists in Rundle Mall with pop-up shows on the science of colour.

·       Perth: Future Earth: the science of sustainability, future cities, and new technology at Scitech.

National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw a staggering 1.3 million people participate in more than 1,800 events and activities.

In 2017, National Science Week celebrates its 20th birthday, with 2,000+ events registered throughout Australia—from insect Olympics in Darwin to ‘Blood’ at Melbourne’s new Science Gallery, to Antarctic science in the Apple Isle—with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert panel discussions, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

Visit the National Science Week website for the details of events in your area:

For general Science Week media enquiries:

·       Tanya Ha – or 0404 083 863

·       Niall Byrne – or 0417 131 977


More about the event highlights

Sporty science at The Innovation Games—Sydney Olympic Park, NSW

Can you kick physics out of a footy? How fast can you run in the NRL sprint test? How far can you throw a spear? Or a boomerang?

The Innovation Games is a free family fun day full of hands-on sporting, science and technology action at the town centre of Sydney Olympic Park.

Activities include a visit from Dr Karl, a solar car display, and a decathlon of fast-paced challenges including: cutting edge cook-offs, Lego building, farming face-offs (cow milking anyone?), solar sprints, boomerang battles and unique tests of sporting performance.

Sun 20 August Event details

Media enquiries: Susan Darwiche, or 0414 706 704; Tori McPherson, or 02 8004 3462

Aboriginal astronomy, bush medicine and more at the Indigenous Science Experience—Redfern, NSW

What can Aboriginal astronomy tell us about the night sky? How is our native flora used in bush medicine? What can we learn about sustainable living from 40,000+ years of Indigenous culture?

The Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern is a celebration of Indigenous and Western science, and Indigenous youth and Elder achievements.

Redfern Family Science Fun Day: Sunday 20 August Event details  

A pop-up science centre on the Gold Coast—Coomera, QLD

Want to know what a science centre would look like on the Gold Coast?

Come along for a day filled with hands-on science activities, demonstrations, science shows, special guests Questacon, SeaWorld, DreamWorld, Griffith University, Virtual Reality experiences, and interactive demonstrations by local schools.

There will also be a F/A-18 Super Hornet Simulator with two cockpits and two Air Combat Officer workstations.

Sun 20 August Event details Facebook page

Media enquiries: Sally McPhee, or 07 5552 7205

Moth’s privates; Tassie devils; Costa talks the birds and the bees; and scientist vs journalist: science over drinks at BeakerStreet@TMAG—Hobart, TAS

·       Where was Tasmania 1.5 billion years ago?

·       The birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees, with Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis.

·       Judging a moth by its genitals.

·       Speak of the devil: saving Tasmanian wildlife.

·       Climate change communication: the scientist versus the journalist.

BeakerStreet@TMAG is a pop-up science bar at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, featuring hands-on workshops, engaging talks, SCINEMA short films, live music, science storytelling, delicious booze and food, and plenty of prominent local and visiting scientists to chat with over a drink.

See full line-up online

Sunday 20 August. Event details

Media enquiries: Margo Adler, or 0468 789 933.

How a science writer turned an ocean adventure into a book, then a play—Darwin, NT

How did the changing chemistry of the ocean become a science writer’s grand adventure at sea with 13 journeys in three years, a best-selling book and eventually a play?

Canadian science journalist Alanna Mitchell, author of Sea Sick, provides her insights into the art of turning complex science into compelling stories.

Renowned for her investigative reporting on science and social trends, Alanna Mitchell uses a combination of humour, facts and entertaining storytelling to highlight the crises facing our world’s oceans, discovering along the way that that we won’t find the solutions we need for the high-carbon world we’ve created until we rewrite the story about how it all ends.

Sunday 20 August: in conversation with Robyn Williams from ABC’s Science Show. Event details

Media enquiries: Matt Fraser,, 02 8065 7363 or 0401 326 007

Wildlife Workshops with Bush Tales—The Gardens and Yarrawonga, NT

Meet Fergus the tawny frogmouth, Sherbet the sugar glider, Mr Slithers the rough-scaled python, and Sodium the saltwater croc.

See the wildlife of the Top End at Bush Tales' 'Wildlife Workshops' and learn about the science behind the survival of these creatures.

There will be opportunities to touch and have photos with some of the animals and Q&A time with the presenter at the end.

Sunday 20 August. George Brown Botanic Gardens event details

Sunday 20 August. Yarrawonga event details

Media enquiries: Erin Costelloe,, 0421 669 058 or 0421 425 267

Spotting possums and parrots instead of Pokémon with smartphones—national

This National Science Week thousands of Australians will be opening their mobile phones, getting outdoors and competing to find enchanting creatures. But they won’t be searching for Pokémon. They’ll be searching for, and photographing, real life forms—marsupials, birds, reptiles, insects—as a part of the Great Australian Biodiversity Challenge.

Players can download the QuestaGame app, join the ‘clan’ of the botanic gardens of their choice and compete. Collectively, the geo-located photographs will provide a snapshot of where the wild things are in Australia’s cities and countryside. The data will be shared with CSIRO’s biodiversity research database, the Atlas of Living Australia.

See the latest sightings here.

Final day: Sunday 20 August. Event details

Media enquiries: David Haynes, or 0428 374 595