Sleek Geeks go regional

10 August 2012

(L-R) Sleek Geeks Adam Spencer and Dr Karl talked science to school students all over NSW.
(L-R) Sleek Geeks Adam Spencer and Dr Karl talked science to school students all over NSW.

Answering questions such as 'how do people get blue eyes?' and 'will we ever colonise Mars?' the Sleek Geeks - Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Adam Spencer - talked science with school students all over NSW at a special video conference this week to celebrate National Science Week in NSW.

The video conference allowed over 600 students from 18 NSW schools to speak directly with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney, and Adam Spencer, ABC radio and TV personality.

Schools involved covered the whole state from Coonabarabran to Lord Howe Island, from Lightning Ridge to Stanwell Park, and from Wilcannia to Lucas Heights.

The special event started with Dr Karl and Adam Spencer introducing Andrew Stoner, Deputy Premier of NSW, and Professor Mary O'Kane, NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, to the students and asking them about National Science Week and why science is fascinating.

"National Science Week is Australia's annual celebration of science and technology. Running in August each year, it features around 1000 events across Australia, delivered by universities, schools, museums and science centres - with more than one million attendees nationwide," said Mr Stoner.

This year there are more than 150 events across NSW as part of the week.

"Science Week is important because it's so great to see kids and adults engaging on such a wide array of science-related topics. It also demonstrates the excitement and fun of a career in the sciences, and in engineering and maths, said Professor O'Kane.

"Science Week allows a whole lot of fascinating, informative and educational stuff to be absorbed and spread about - it sparks curiosity in kids about science and that's an important thing. And from curiosity we can often get passion and intrepid investigation and these qualities can produce the next generation of innovative scientific researchers and thinkers - committed to tackling some of our big problems."

Students from each school were invited to ask science-related questions of Dr Karl and Adam, which they answered with intriguing facts and entertaining explanations.

The Sleek Geeks answered questions on the Higgs Boson, why cats land on their feet, why most planetary orbits are elliptical and not circular, how to measure intelligence in people and a hypothetical question about travelling at the speed of light.

"The school students asked a really great range of questions - it was wonderful to see them thinking about science issues across so many disciplines and scales," said Dr Karl.

"We enjoyed connecting with so many students across the state in the one event - it was a truly interactive science event."

The Sleek Geeks video conference was proudly supported by the University of Sydney and NSW Trade and Investment, and broadcast by NSW DART Connections. The event is part of the University of Sydney's commitment to providing science outreach and supporting schools regardless of geographic location.

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