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National Science Week: 10 things not to miss

Emily Allen

National Science Week runs from 15-23 August and will encompass activities for kids and adults alike.

National Science Week is a whole lot of fun! It’s Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology, and thousands of individuals – from students, to scientists to chefs and musicians – get involved, taking part in more than 1000 science events across the nation.

But it’s not just for kids or students – it’s for everyone!  There are oodles of events and activities and talks and shows for every age group – make sure you pop these activities in your diary and get along to support and celebrate local science!

1. SCIENCE IN ACTION – COMMUNITY DAY

Come and explore Science in ACTion at the Former Transport Depot (Old Bus Depot) in Kingston. Fun for the whole family as science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) come alive! There is something for everyone in this free day of fun.

See seriously cool science shows, bounce your way through a giant inflatable plant cell and see if you have what it takes to find a killer. Over 40 organisations from around the ACT will have displays of their latest research for you to explore. From robots to model aeroplanes, defence technology to environmental science and everything in between there is so much to see and do for all ages.

Don’t miss out on your chance to see Science in ACTion – you might just be surprised…

Science in ACTion | 10am to 4pm Saturday, 15 August 15 2015 | Former Transport Depot (Old Bus Depot), 21 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston | Free |www.scienceweek.net.au/science-in-action-community-day

2. ABORIGINAL SCIENCE FOR LITTLE ONES

Larry Brandy Aboriginal storyteller will perform with children who will become emus, kangaroos and hunters as they learn how Aboriginal people use their knowledge of plants and animals to hunt and find food.

Larry Brandy Aboriginal storyteller will perform with children from the YMCA early learning centre.

Children will become emus, kangaroos and hunters as they learn how Aboriginal people use their knowledge of plants and animals to hunt and find food.

Larry will provide a copy of a new activity booklet developed with support from the National Science Week ACT Committee.

Aboriginal Science for Little Ones | 2pm to 3pm Friday 7 August 2015 | YMCA Early Learning Centre, Dixon Drive, Holder | Free | www.scienceweek.net.au/aboriginal-science-for-little-ones

3. CAN SCIENCE SAVE HUMANITY?

Human population growth collides with global warming and resource depletion. It sounds like the plot for a B-grade movie, but this is the situation we now face. We are sailing full speed through dangerous waters. The question is, what can we do about it?

These are the themes to be explored during the National Science Week event Can Science Save Humanity. You can hear what some prominent Australians have to say, and ask them your questions.

Guest speakers will be: Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery; Clive Hamilton, author Earthmasters: Playing God with the Climate; Professor Will Steffen, Executive Director, ANU Climate Change Institute; and Professor Hilary Bambrick, Chair of Population Health, UWS.

Can Science Save Humanity | 3pm to 5pm, Sunday, 23 August | Australian Academy of Science, 15 Gordon Street, Acton | $5 tickets at the door or book online at www.eventbrite.com.au | www.scienceweek.net.au

4. SCINEMA: SCIENCE VS THE MAN

SCINEMA and the NFSA present a season of free screenings from the Film Australia Collection curated to celebrate National Science Week. There are two documentary shorts from the Film Australia Collection. Rated G. No booking necessary.

Silent Storm (2004, 55 mins)

From 1957 to 1978, scientists secretly removed bone samples from over 21,000 dead Australians as they searched for evidence of the deadly poison, Strontium 90 – a by-product of nuclear testing. Silent Storm reveals the story behind this astonishing case of officially sanctioned “body-snatching”.

Set against a backdrop of the Cold War, the saga follows celebrated scientist, Hedley Marston, as he attempts to blow the whistle on radioactive contamination and challenge official claims that British atomic tests posed no threat to the Australian people. Marston’s findings are not only disputed, he is targeted as “a scientist of counter-espionage interest”. Now, questions are being raised about the health repercussions for generations of Australians.

Winners Guide to the Nobel Prize (2006, 55 mins)

What does it take to win a Nobel Prize? Guts? Brilliance? Eccentricity? This film travels behind the scenes of the world’s most prestigious prize and into the minds of two of the people who have reached this pinnacle of excellence.

Scinema: Science vs the Man | 3pm to 5pm Friday August 14 2015 | National Film and Sound Achive, McCoy Circuit, Acton | Free | www.scienceweek.net.au/scinema-science-vs-the-man

5. QUESTACON SCINIGHT: GOOD VIBRATIONS

Light! Sound! Action! Stay up late at Questacon as it celebrates sound and light. 

Questacon’s adults-only SciNight is back with a spectacular smorgasbord of sound and light activities to kick off National Science Week celebrations – for 18+ peeps only!

Come and explore Questacon after dark, eye-ball the insides of a real eye ball, experiment with some unconventional musical instruments and get hands on with over 200 interactive exhibits – all without kids! Mega Bites Café and Bar and a mobile Q Shop will be open until late.

Questacon Scinight: Good Vibrations | 6pm to 10pm Friday August 14 2015 | Questacon, King Edward Terrace, Canberra | Tickets are $10 at the door, Q Club members free | www.scienceweek.net.au/questacon-scinight-good-vibrations

Questacon: it's not just for kids!

6. DATADANCE

Dance artist, Alison Plevey, explores the interaction between anatomy, creativity, environment/place, science and technology in her short film DataDance. The film traces Alison’s site dance responses over a 24hr period, overlayed with quantitative recorded data of the physiological experience.

The short film aligns scientific processes of experimentation with that of creative or artistic process. It draws our attention to the diverse anatomical experience of our bodies hour-to-hour, changeable to environmental, psychological and physical conditions.

Datadance | From Saturday 15 August 2015 | Free to view online, $20 tickets for DANscienCE Festival, Solo Science www.danscience.com.au | www.scienceweek.net.au/datadance

7. GEOSCIENCE AUSTRALIA OPEN DAY

Geoscience Australia’s annual Open Day offers a diverse program of free hands-on activities, science displays and talks for all ages. Come along and learn about the exciting range of work carried out by Australia’s national geoscience agency.

See the robot which helps make your GPS more accurate, find out how earthquakes are detected, pan for gold, or become a seafloor detective. Talk to a real geoscientist, learn about geoscience careers and find out what goes on in this mysterious building.

Geoscience Australian Open Day | 10am to 3pm Sunday August 23 2015 | Geoscience Australia, Cnr Hindmarsh Dr and Jerrabomberra Ave, Symonston | Free | www.ga.gov.au/open-day

8. GEOSCIENCE AUSTRALIA BEHIND THE SCENES TOURS

And if you’ve ever wondered what goes on in the mysterious Geoscience Australia building, this is your chance to join a unique behind-the-scenes tour to discover its laboratories, the rock-dating SHRIMP, Earthquake Alert Centre or the Gem, Mineral and Fossil collection. Numbers are strictly limited and bookings are essential via Eventbrite.  Choose from:

SHRIMP: Discover Geoscience Australia’s Sensitive High-Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP) laboratory – the latest technology used to discover the age of rocks. Numbers are limited to 15 per session. Tours will take roughly 40 minutes.

Earthquake Alert Centre: Learn how geoscientists monitor, analyse and alert for significant earthquakes in Australia and help provide warnings as part of the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre. Numbers are limited to 20 per session. Tours will take roughly 30-40 minutes.

Laboratories: Ever wanted to study microfossils used by scientists to explore for petroleum and interpret ancient environments? Tour through some of Geoscience Australia’s Laboratories. Numbers are limited to 20 per session. Tours will take roughly 45 minutes.

Gem, Mineral and Fossil Collection: Explore the world class collection of amazing specimens stored in Geoscience Australia’s archive. Numbers are limited to 8 per session. Tours will take roughly 45 minutes. Not suitable for under 10 year olds.

Geoscience Australian Behind The Scenes Tours | Various, Monday August 17 to Thursday 20 August | Geoscience Australia, Cnr Hindmarsh Dr and Jerrabomberra Ave, Symonston | Free | www.eventbrite.com.au

9. AN EVENING WITH NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON

The Australian National University is delighted to announce we have partnered with Think Inc to bring renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to ANU as part of National Science Week in the ACT.

You might know him as the host of Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey or the new TV series StarTalk. Maybe as the head of the world-renowned Hayden Planetarium in New York City or the author of ten books including Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier and Death By Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries. He is also the namesake of asteroid “13123 Tyson” and known as the “Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive,” but mostly he is world renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Neil is an astrophysicist, cosmologist, author and science communicator – find out more about him in our article.

An evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson | 6pm to 9pm Sunday August 23 2015 | Llwellyn Hall, ANU School of Music, William Herbert Place, Acton | Tickets available via Ticketek | www.scienceweek.net.au/an-evening-with-neil-degrasse-tyson

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10. THE LEAGUE OF REMARKABLE WOMEN IN AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE

Did you know that all around Australia, there are Remarkable Women in Science investigating dark matter, studying volcanoes, discovering new species of spiders, building better solar panels or making plants more efficient at feeding the world? Come and meet them at the CSIRO Discovery this August!

‘The League of Remarkable Women in Australian Science’ shares the amazing stories of 40 highly successful female scientists who have followed their passions, despite the hurdles they faced along the way.

The League of Remarkable Women in Australia | 9am to 5pm now until Monday 31 August 2015 | CSIRO Discovery, Gallery Room, North-Science Road, Acton | Free | www.scienceweek.net.au/the-league-of-remarkable-women-in-australian-science

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Emily Allen

Emily has a BA in Journalism and Creative Writing and a subsequent Diploma of Music Industry (Business) after playing in a local orchestra for a number of years. Emily works at the ANU's School of Music and is currently the Communications Coordinator and Secretary for MusicACT and the Marketing and Publicity Coordinator for the Canberra Multicultural Fringe. These role sees her combine her passion for social media, writing, music and arts administration. More about the Author

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