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A Smorgasbord of Science

Science Week Team

Science Week DesertSmart EcoFair presentation in Alice SpringsAs National Science Week 2019 draws to a close, we’ve found time to look back over the past week of activities (in between attending events of course) and reflect on the diversity and variety that is this truly wonderful festival of science.

Every year, Science Week has a wide range of activities for all ages. There have been events for families, early childhood, primary and high school students, university students and adults – including some adult-only events, such as science cocktail nights like the Tequila night at Questacon in Canberra, Science Behind Bars at Fremantle Prison, and Dark Science, a celebration of the intersection between the dark arts and the sciences.

There have also been activities for, and with, senior adults such as when students from St Brigid’s Catholic School in New Norfolk, Tasmania, visiting a local nursing home to hear from residents about their involvement in scientific endeavours along with their memories of the first moon landing.

As always, there has been a huge range of topics to satisfy any interests. Unsurprisingly, there have been many events about space this year – the moon, Apollo 11, Aboriginal astronomy and more. But there’s also been a myriad of other topics like Antarctic science, dinosaurs, archaeology, Harry Potter trivia night, the Periodic Table, tackling waste, the human brain, gut biome, our oceans, the science of wine, science in the garden, plastic munching critters…. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Or should we say Fatberg – because we had one of those too!

Then there’s the types of events – another wide array of choice! There’s been trivia nights, escape rooms (including a world-first cancer-themed room), festivals and fairs, book displays, art installations, formal lectures, discussion panels, industry site tours, interactive activities, cruises, starwatching, scientists on soapboxes, lego workshops, coding activities, virtual reality, health checks, awards ceremonies. You can even turn recycled materials into an electric guitar.

Location, location, location! They say it’s all about location, and if that’s the case, National Science Week has it covered! There have been events in all states and territories, from inner city to the suburbs, the towns, the regions, the rural, the remote, and beyond. From Queenstown, Murray Bridge, Kalgoorlie, Burnie, Aranda, Alice Springs, Mukinbudin, Canowindra, Roxby, Millingimbi, Woorabinda, Herberton, Renmark, Wollongong, Geelong, Kurrajong, Mullumbimby, Mittagong…. We really have been everywhere! We’ve even been offshore with events at Saibai Island and Kangaroo Island to name a few.

Then there’s the range of venues that events have been held at – museums, libraries, bars, breweries, cafes, schools, schools of the air, universities, art galleries, town halls, streets, parks, community gardens, botanic gardens, and an F/A-18 hangar. There have been venues that you perhaps wouldn’t expect to see hosting science events, such as the Cobb and Co Museum, Parliament House Darwin, Government House in Canberra and in Tasmania, the Giants Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park, Fremantle Prison, Wayville Showgrounds in Adelaide and the Comedy Store in Hobart. And… your own couch. Yes, there were online events like the citizen science Aha! Challenge, or the #STEMgotmehere social media campaign, allowing you to participate in National Science Week without having to leave the comfort of your couch.

And all of that is but a small taster of what has been served up as part of National Science Week 2019. It’s a large menu, with so much variety. In fact, with over 2000 events across this country, you could even say it’s a gigantic smorgasbord of science!