Last chance to get involved in National Science Week 2023

  • by Caitlin Howlett
  • 18 August, 2023
Last chance to get involved in National Science Week 2023

This year’s theme is Innovation, and there have been so many innovative events happening all around Australia in the last week.

There was the winner of the Shirty Science competition’s ‘Most Excellent Science Shirt’ – Beyond the Stars, which is a visual representation showing the connection between the vast scales involved in the study of galaxy evolution, with a tribute to the Indigenous ancient knowledge of astronomy to unveil the secrets of the Universe.

In a virtual event today, Street Science played an AI-generated song ‘Happy National Science Week’ through a flaming Rubens Tube!

And let’s not forget which animal swooped-in today to be crowned as Australia’s favourite animal sound in the ABC Science poll – the melodious magpie. The Australian magpie Gymnorhina tibicen was the clear winner with 36% of the total vote after almost 150,000 votes from the public. Go #teammagpie!

But wait – there’s more: there’s still plenty to do over the last weekend of National Science Week. Check out our round-up of some final highlights.

Saturday 19 August

The First Scientists
Vic Park Community Centre, East Victoria Park, WA

Explore the deadly inventions and innovations from Australia’s First Peoples. First Nations people have used what we now call science for over 65,000 years to adopt lessons learnt from the land, sea and sky into their ways of living through stories, song and dance.

Join the session ‘Balance, Respect for Country and the Voice’ from 10:00 – 11:00 am, to explore the connection between Noongar people and the land. Delve into the Noongar relationships with nature and explore time-honoured practices where a delicate balance with nature is considered essential for both the land and its people. Gain insights into sustainable approaches and deep-rooted respect for country that has sustained harmonious coexistence for generations.

Ag STEM at the Ekka
Ekka Education stage, Bowen Hills, QLD

Join Street Science presenters to learn about the amazing science behind agriculture through exciting visual demonstrations. Discover the unexpected potential for produce like seaweed and corn in revolutionising our everyday lives. These are fun and interactive demonstrations will have any young scientist engaged before exploring how innovations in agriculture are shaping the future sustainability of our planet in truly incredible ways.

There are sessions on both Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 – 11:50 am, and 1:30 – 1:50 pm.

Stunning Saturn
Ballarat Municipal Observatory and Museum, Mt Pleasant, VIC

This month Saturn is at opposition on 27 August, this means it is at its closest point to Earth in its current travels around the Sun. Something interesting is happening with Saturn’s rings as well, come along and find out more about this gas giant. There’s a session this Saturday from 7:00 – 7:30 pm that’s suitable for all ages. And there’s a late-night session from 7:30 – 9:00 pm where the new Moon will allow great viewing conditions (provided the clouds hold off – check the forecast and have a look outside beforehand).

Bird Brain @ Wanneroo Library
Wanneroo Library, Wanneroo, WA

Join 3 scientists from the University of Western Australia and learn about their latest research findings, we focusing on the study of cognition and communication in birds, using 2 main study species; the Western Australian magpie, and the southern pied babbler. The cognition and communication of avian species is advance far beyond our comprehension. These birds that we study are capable of amazing feats that we are only just beginning to understand.

Sunny Science & Satellites
Desert Knowledge Precinct, Alice Springs, NT 

Desert Knowledge Australia is running an event for all community members from 11:00 am. This session will promote community engagement and foster an inclusive environment for anyone interested in learning about solar panel technologies and their impact on our world. This is an invaluable opportunity to explore the realm of solar panel technologies and satellite ground station technologies, while also inspiring the next generation of STEM enthusiasts.

Junior Whale Spotter Training
South Australian Whale Centre, Victor Harbor, SA

Can you tell if it’s a whale or a rock? Do you know if it’s a southern right whale or a humpback whale? Join marine biologists from Fleurieu Marine Education to learn all about the whales that visit our waters in Encounter Marine Park and how to identify them. Renee and Ali from Fleurieu Marine Education are tertiary trained in marine science and provide educational services from the South Australian Whale Centre. This free session starts at 1:30 pm and is aimed at anyone aged 8 years and up – plus you’re invited to check out the SA Whale Centre after the event.

Sydney Science Festival
Powerhouse Ultimo, Sydney NSW

At Parramatta Square from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm there’s a Family Science Day for aspiring junior scientists and their carers. Local scientists will share their knowledge through hands-on activities and interactive performances. There will also be musical performances, storytelling and live experiments for attendees to learn about temperature, solar power, sustainable food practices, clean water, coding, medicine, rockets, 3D printing and much more.

Sunday 20 August

Science on Show
Melbourne Museum, Carlton, VIC

See some of the rarest and most fascinating species displayed at Melbourne Museum from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Hear stories from Museums Victoria scientists as they discuss unique collections, covering everything from ancient fossils to live exhibits. Create your own Marvellous Megafauna World, Microbat, Triceratops Mask or Sea Bunny to take home while learning about endangered species and the places they call home. Learn more below about the captivating talks, tours, interactive activities and exhibitions taking place during this jam-packed science Sunday.

The Science of Coins
Royal Australian Mint, Deakin, Canberra, ACT

Have you ever wondered exactly how coins are made? From design through to pressing, the coin making process requires specialist scientific knowledge. For National Science Week only, from 2 pm, join one of the Mint’s amazing Visitor Experience Hosts as they highlight some of the metallurgy, chemistry, design and technology that goes into making coins. You will also get the chance to walk above the Mint factory floor and see where your coins are made.

GovHack Final Competition Day
Charles Darwin University Waterfront, Darwin, NT

GovHack is an annual open data competition held across Australia. In 46 hours teams create a project page, proof of concept and a video that tells the story of how government data can be reused. GovHack is a free event to attend for competitors, and food will be provided the whole day. Sunday is the third and final competition day, starting at 8:00 am and finishing by 5:00 pm.

Tech Talk: the science of jewellery making
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, TAS

Join artist Carl Noonan from midday as he discusses the use of 3D-printing and metals to make jewellery. Carl’s practice embraces new printing technologies and investigates the scientific properties of metal to innovate new ways of making jewellery. In this talk, Carl discusses the design thinking behind the making of a ring from start to finish and invites the audience to see natural systems in new ways. This event will be held within the exhibition Precious: excellence in contemporary jewellery at the Art Gallery at Royal Park.

Hamelin Science Fair
Hamelin station Reserve, Hamelin Pool, WA

Sunday BBQ breakfast is provided for those at Bush Heritage Australia’s Hamelin Station Reserve in Western Australia, where its annual Science Fair is being hosted this August. Learn about science while soaking up the sights and sounds of a conservation reserve with bird watching after staying the night at the Hamelin Outback Station Stay.

The Enigmatic World of Sharks, Whales and Jellyfish
Currumbin RSL, Currumbin, QLD

Our oceans are teeming with a diverse range of organisms, from tiny, microscopic creatures to the magnificent blue whale. Learn about awe-inspiring sharks and mesmerising jellyfish, as well as majestic whales and their unique characteristics, behaviour and habitats. See live jellies under the microscope, get hands-on with sharks, touch their skin and teeth and learn how they use our water ways. Immerse yourself in whale songs sung in the big blue as they rest along the Gold Coast and learn plenty more about the local marine life.

Ngarrindjeri Weaving Workshop
South Australian Museum, Adelaide SA

As part of Payirri-Apinthirlu Naalityangka the First Nations Science Festival, presented by SA National Science Week Coordinating Committee, join this hands-on Ngarrinddjeri weaving workshop led by Aunty Ellen Trevorrow with support from Dr Janina Haines. Everyone will go home with something they made. Running from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm, all weaving materials, reeds from the Coorong, and instructions are provided.

A Play Written By ChatGPT
Impro Melbourne Theatre, West Melbourne, VIC

In this show, you, the audience generate a three-act play with creative contributions from ChatGPT. The words will be performed by actors as they attempt to humanise the machine-generated scripts of plays that have never been seen before (and possibly never seen again). The results could possibly be funny. Maybe even dramatic? Almost certainly unintentionally hilarious! Along the way, you’ll venture into how AI works, the Turing Test, and the role of AI in our future lives and artistic endeavours. This is part theatrical extravaganza, part intellectual exploration.

If you’re still keen for more science, search for more events coming up in your local area. There’s still plenty on, including the National Science Quiz live- and virtual-event on Sunday 27 August from 3:30 – 5:00 pm. Register online to receive links to watch, join up and play along with the live-stream online. Watch as 2 teams battle it out to be this year’s National Science Quiz champions. The winning team will leave victorious, and the losing team will be slimed live-on-stage!

Share this article: