National Science Week ignites at Academy

Science on fire! The Academy celebrates National Science Week at the Shine Dome

The Academy celebrated National Science Week this year by raising the online profile of Australian women scientists, hosting a talk by climate scientist Professor Michael Raupach FAA FTSE, and staging an explosive launch event at the Shine Dome.

The Academy’s Women of Science Wikibomb, held on 14 August, was a huge success, creating more than 110 new and improved Wikipedia pages for Australian women in science.

Many prominent women scientists, engineers and mathematicians have had little or no online presence. The aim of the event was to create or improve their Wikipedia pages, and to increase awareness of their achievements in Australia and around the world.

More than 140 people signed up to the six-hour Wikibomb, including several groups around Australia. Some 30 participants were chosen to do their editing live at the Shine Dome.

These lucky few were treated to visits from the current and immediate past Presidents of the Academy, the Vice President and the Executive Director of the UK Royal Society, the inaugural Nancy Millis Award Winner and a number of Academy Council members.

Participants at the wikibomb; Michael Raupach at his talk

The Wikibomb attracted significant interest from the media. Nancy Millis Award Winner Professor Emma Johnston had several radio interviews including with the ABC. The event was also featured in the Sunday Age with comments from Professor Johnston and the Chair of the Australian Early- and Mid-Career Researchers Forum, Dr Krystal Evans. Other media included Canberra FM, WIN TV (Canberra), ABC Online and The Canberra Times.

The Wikibomb event was followed by the ACT launch of National Science Week by ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher. It was a fun night filled with science and musical performances, fire twirling and ice sculpture, and talks by Academy President Professor Andrew Holmes PresAA FRS and Astronaut Richard (Rick) Hieb.

On 19 August the Director of the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute, Michael Raupach, enlightened an attentive Shine Dome and online audience with his talk, ‘The past, present and future of Australian environmental science’. Professor Raupach spoke of the fundamentally trans-disciplinary nature of future environmental research, and highlighted the importance of narrative in exploring how new environmental understanding is shaping societal ethics as humans learn to live in vulnerable ecosystems.

© 2022 Australian Academy of Science