Events and outreach—September 2017

September 11, 2017

Academy action in National Science Week

small satellite above Earth
Australian satellites was just one of the many topics we explored in National Science Week

The Academy was flat out keeping up with the activities in this year’s annual celebration of science in Australia, National Science Week, on 12–20 August.

On Monday we challenged the knowledge of more than 120 trivia buffs with a packed Super Science pub trivia night in Canberra. 

On Tuesday more than 140 people attended our public talk at the Shine Dome on Australian satellites and where to find them.

Wednesday saw the launch of UNCOVER—a roadmap for searching the deep earth and the role of geoscience in Australia. 

On Thursday the Academy hosted the National Research and innovation Alliance and their speaker, the Leader of the Federal Opposition, the Hon Bill Shorten MP. In addition to those attending, many more tuned in via live-tweeting of the event and a video livestream.

Also on Thursday, 140 people attended the first of our ‘Making Better Humans’ talk in Wollongong as part of the Academy’s Plastic Fantastic National Speaker Series.

Exploration of emerging issues in science and society

Red-bellied black snake in grass
Are Australian snakes the deadliest in the world?

This unique event in early July covered a range of topics, from deadly snakes to the science of nutrition. We teamed a scientist with a researcher from the humanities and social sciences to cover the basic science behind the issues, implications for policy and society, and the challenges of science communication and public misconceptions.

The four questions explored were:

  • Are Australia’s snakes the deadliest in the world?
  • Can we predict bushfires?
  • Does nutrition science (mis)inform our diets?
  • How does the microbiome change what it is to be human?

The event was held in partnership between the Academy, the newly formed Deakin University Science and Society Network (a network of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation), and the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S). It was opened by Academy President Professor Andrew Holmes and MC’d by science broadcaster Paul Willis.

Coming to Canberra: Journeying to the centres of the planets

Image of NASA's Juno spacecraft doing a flyby of Jupiter
Join us on a journey to the centre of the planets

In our next Canberra public talk, Dr Helen Maynard-Casely will take us on a journey to get to know the planets of our solar system more intimately through understanding their varied and downright dangerous insides. We’ve yet to actually dive under the clouds of the gas giants, crack through the ice of the dwarf planets or drill into the rocks of the terrestrial planets—so how do we know what lies beneath planetary surfaces? Every planetary interior a high-temperature and high-pressure environment and pressure can have amazing effects on even the simplest of materials.

To build up the pictures of planetary interiors requires the merging of keenly observed astronomy, complex theoretical calculations and the most elegant of experiments. Dr Maynard-Casely will explain how we’ve got to the pictures that we do have, how we can re-create these planetary conditions here in Australia, and where there’s work to be done.

Journeying to the centres of the planets

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