News

Science in the community

2015

Find out about some of the inspiring, community-based science initiatives underway in NSW

25 November
Building a case for science outreach

As part of the 2015 NSW Regional Science Hubs Leadership Forum held at Bundanon Trust in November, marketing consultant Kate Dezarnaulds ran a half-day workshop on fundraising and partnerships. Working in groups, Science Hub members considered the best available avenues for securing financial and other forms of support for their local outreach and engagement initiatives.

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25 November
NSW Parliament hosts innovation boot camp

Computer coding skills, an interactive Internet of Things project and imagining a technology future were on the curriculum at an innovation boot camp held at NSW Parliament on Wednesday 18 November.

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25 November
Getting your head around coding

You have probably heard the buzz around coding, a language that has been described by both Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Business Council of Australia’s chief Catherine Livingston as a fundamental skill today’s students needs to learn.

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25 November
The microscopic life of our coasts

Earlier this month, Professor Patrick De Deckker from Australian National University (ANU) visited the Far South Coast of NSW where he introduced a group of twenty naturalists and school students to the amazing diversity of plankton.

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25 November
School of Ants skitters around Australia

The School of Ants citizen science project ventured out of its nest in Armidale and the North West Regional Science Hub earlier this year when coordinator Dr Kirsti Abbott skittered, with her family in tow, around a big part of Australia. Discover where Kirsti’s epic ant trail has taken her, including visits to remote schools and swarming into regional festivals in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

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25 November
Kylie goes off grid

Like many Australians Kylie Ahern wanted to do more to reduce her impact on the planet and save resources, but didn’t have a clue about how or where to begin.

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25 November
Science Hub members gather at Bundanon

Around 30 science engagement practitioners who work with Inspiring Australia NSW’s Regional Science Hubs network gathered together at Bundanon for a Leadership Forum in November.

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19 October
Dubbo celebrates science and sustainability

Record crowds turned out for the 2015 Dubbo Sustainability Expo & Science Festival on Saturday 10 October that this year dovetailed with the Australian Museum Science Festival for school students at the Western Plains Cultural Centre. This year’s community event was the biggest on record since the Expo first started as an information night in 2006.

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19 October
Can Integrative Medicine help people living with Dementia?

Integrative medicine is a philosophy of healthcare with a focus on individual patient care. It combines the best of conventional western medicine with evidence-based complementary medicine and therapies within current mainstream medical practice.

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19 October
The Australian Museum Science Festival

The largest festival of its kind in Australia, the Australian Museum Science Festival is a collaborative program encompassing all fields of science. Held each year as part of National Science Week, and touring to regional NSW, the Festival provides a unique platform to promote scientific literacy within the Australian community and inspire participants to engage with science on all levels.

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19 October
Discover marine science in a new light

Who hasn’t peaked over the balustrade at a coastal lookout or over the side of a ship to get a glimpse of what’s below the surface of the ocean? We have a fascination for the sea, but for most of us the underwater world remains largely off-limits.

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19 October
Minecraft in the classroom

Why are mathematicians encouraging children to play computer games? What do games like Candycrush and Minecraft have to do with mathematician George Boole? the first Professor of Mathematics at University College Cork (UCC). To find out, teachers around the world are encouraged to participate in a global Boolean Maths lesson to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of ‘the forefather of the Information Age’.

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19 October
Fact or fiction

ANSTO’s brand new educational science show is set to bust common myths about the Internet as the World Wide Web collides with cutting edge science. Touring Australia in 2016 and 2017, community members in the Sutherland Shire will be among the first to preview Fact or Fiction 2.0 – Web of Intrigue on Thursday 29 October.

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19 October
Funding support for regional events

Inspiring Australia (NSW) provides grants funds each year to the network of NSW Regional Science Hubs to deliver community engagement programs in their communities. A new fund has been established to support events that target audiences the 18-35 age group and events that seek to engage civic leaders with scientific concepts and ideas. Expressions of interest are now open and Science Hubs are encouraged to apply!

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18 September
Sydney celebrates National Science Week

The first Sydney Science Festival surpassed expectations, with over 39, 000 people attending 132 events across 45 venues in Sydney. Dozens of partners produced imaginative, well-attended programs involving some 250 scientists and engineers.

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18 September
Prehistoric aquarium opens its doors

Erth is a company based in Sydney that is best known for its show Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo. The acclaimed show presents Australian dinosaurs as a live animal presentation and has been seen worldwide by over 1 million people.

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18 September
Maths Inside: improving maths engagement

The Maths Inside project will help teachers bring maths to life for high school students and address the dwindling numbers of students taking advanced maths and science in school and university.

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18 September
Backyard bird count

Last year over 28,000 people helped sight 800,000 birds during National Bird Week. Join the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, the biggest citizen science project to hit Aussie shores and help identify the birds in your neighbourhood between 19-25 October.

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Congratulations and thank you to all those who celebrated National Science Week 2015 across Australia. With more than 1700 events logged on the national calendar and dozens more hands on events in schools, the annual celebration of science continues to thrive.

9 September
Congratulations and thank you to all those who celebrated National Science Week 2015 across Australia. With more than 1700 events logged on the national calendar and dozens more hands on events in schools, the annual celebration of science continues to thrive.

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As part of National Science Week, the North West Regional Science Hub in partnership with University of New England and East Armidale Community Garden will be launching From the Garden: Food, Medicine and Stories to promote the sophisticated scientific intelligence embedded in Aboriginal cultures and lore.

7 August
From the garden: food, medicine and stories

As part of National Science Week, the North West Regional Science Hub in partnership with University of New England and East Armidale Community Garden will be launching From the Garden: Food, Medicine and Stories to promote the sophisticated scientific intelligence embedded in Aboriginal cultures and lore.

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This year’s much anticipated Arts Vs Science Festival will be bringing even more magic to National Science Week and the Northern Rivers region

7 August
The 2015 Arts Vs Science Festival

This year’s much anticipated Arts Vs Science Festival will be bringing even more magic to National Science Week and the Northern Rivers region’s annual Arts in August by celebrating science, creativity, & sustainability, and for the first time, in collaboration with the Big Scrub Rainforest Day.

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Communities across Australia will have all kinds of opportunities to meet with scientists and discover something new in National Science Week from 15-24 August 2015

7 August
Celebrating science in regional NSW

Communities across NSW are set to deliver an exciting range of experiences to mark National Science Week 2015.

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Try your hand at botanical drawing at the Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre in Burrumbuttock where you will also discover Indignous bush medicines and  3D printing.

7 August
Science fun on the border

Community members in the Albury Wodonga region are invited to enjoy three major programs presented by Murray Science Hub members to mark National Science Week 2015.

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From Light to Flight

7 August
From Light to Flight: celebrating the life of Lawrence Hargrave

Wollongong’s Eton Gorge Theatre Company is presenting a series of live performance events to celebrate the life of local inventor Lawrence Hargrave.

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Sydney Science Festival logo

7 August
Sydney Science Festival

The 2015 Sydney Science Festival runs from 13 - 23 August during National Science Week is full of events, tours, workshops, exhibitions, and fun science activities for kids and science fans of all ages.

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Children aged 3 to 6 will be encouraged to get back to nature at The Nature School whose first program launches in Port Macquarie in 14 July.

9 July
The Nature School

Young children in Port Macquarie will soon have an opportunity to connect with the outdoors in a new way at the Nature School. Sharing a common passion for the preservation of the natural environment and a mutual desire to get their own children outdoors and in touch with the natural world, the Nature School’s founders have established this unique program to encourage more outdoor play for young children in their community.

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Rous Water's Hands on H2O Water Lab presents fun science experiments, investigations and games at Water Lab Wednesdays.

7 July
Promoting sustainable water supply

Rous Water is the utility provider responsible for maintaining water quality at Rocky Creek Damn and delivering water to communities across the NSW Northern Rivers region. A member of the Northern Rivers Science Hub, Rous Water delivers a range of educational programs for schools and community members to help foster an appreciation of how we can all help protect water quality.

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The Sapphire Coast Science Festival will present a new and different event every day, including Aboriginal Astronomy at Oaklands.

7 July
Celebrating science on the Sapphire Coast

This year’s Sapphire Coast Science Festival will present a science extravaganza to celebrate National Science Week and everyone is invited! The region’s Science Hub has pulled together all kinds of great events that will be on offer every day of the week between Saturday 15 August and Sunday 23 August across the Sapphire Coast.

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Smart Skills teacher workshops introduce hands-on design thinking activities that teachers can implement with their students back in the classroom.

7 July
Calling teachers and students to generate bright ideas

Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre, is taking its newest program to the Illawarra region to give students, teachers and the general community a chance to explore design thinking, technology, creativity and innovation.

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Image of a galaxy

7 July
Galaxy Explorer

Calling citizen scientists of Earth! In National Science Week this August, we need you to help classify galaxies far, far away! Take a trip to some of the furthest reaches of our universe and help Australian scientists understand how galaxies grow and evolve.

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Age of Fishes Museum logo

7 July
Bringing the Devonian era to life

Imagine what life was like around 360 million years ago; a time well before dinosaurs, where ancient and bizarre looking fish ruled the world. This was the Devonian period, also known as the ‘Age of Fishes’.

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The new NSW Office of Environment & Heritage and the Ecological Society of Australia Prize for Outstanding Outreach encourages ecologists to communicate their research to the public.

7 July
New prize encourages ecologists to venture beyond the ivory tower

The NSW Office of Environment & Heritage and the Ecological Society of Australia have joined forces to establish a new prize for early career researchers who are doing an exceptional job of communicating ecological research to the public.

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Bundanon Field Days give participants an opportunity to work with specialist facilitators and contribute to scientific surveys.

7 July
Bundanon Field Days

Following the success of its 2014 Bio Blitz and Siteworks for Schools programs, Bundanon Trust, set on pristine bushland on the Shoalhaven River on the South Coast of NSW, is excited to announce the Field Days events happening during National Science Week in August and later in the year in October.

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REMIX Sydney brought together 85 creative visionaries from leading cultural organisations, technology innovators and entrepreneurs to tackle the big ideas shaping the future of the creative industries.

4 June
Future trends and the creative industries

REMIX Sydney brought together 85 creative visionaries from leading cultural organisations, technology innovators and entrepreneurs to tackle the big ideas shaping the future of the creative industries.

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The PlantBank App allows visitors to see scientists at work in labs and view the disaster-proof seed vault which protects Australia’s seed and rare plant tissue collection from extinction.

4 June
Interpreting the gardens

The Australian PlantBank has won two prestigious national awards for offering creative and innovative interpretation via its Innovative Interpretation and Mobile App.

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Make scientifically informed textile neurons by following the free Neural Knitworks pattern book.

4 June
Neural Knitworks: craft a healthy brain

In 2015 Neural Knitworks continues and all are encouraged to get involved! This year we’re encouraging people everywhere to create a brain installation in their own community. We need as much help as we can get to spread the word and inspire people to have a go. Scientifically informed patterns and installation ideas are available on the National Science Week website so that everyone can enjoy the experience of yarn craft in a group.

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The Banksia Buddies and Banksia Babies nature play programs nurture the curiosity and wonder possessed by children in the early years.

4 June
Nature play for children and babies

Young children and babies are natural scientists and are constantly trying to understand the world around them by actively exploring, discovering and asking questions. This innate curiosity is fostered in two new programs designed for pre-schoolers and babies that are created and delivered by experts in early childhood science education.

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Wind turbines

4 June
Powering the future

What are the scientific challenges of creating sustainable management plans for our country? To answer this question, the Geological Society of Australia will present, an important public forum in August as part of the Sydney Science Festival that will ask if Sydney is ready to tackle alternative energy.

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Waterscape #2, No. 2 Reservoir, Centennial Park 2013

4 June
Field of Orbs Photo Event

As part of the upcoming Sydney Science Festival to mark National Science Week, Centennial Parklands will again present Science in the Swamp. This year artist Peter Solness has been commissioned to produce a light sculpture that will be on display during the evening of Saturday 15 August 2015. Here Peter reflects on his fascination with the night and the ideas behind his exciting Field of Orbs Photo Event.

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Professor Lesley Hughes

4 June
Celebrating World Environment Day on the Far South Coast

For many years the Bournda Environmental Education Centre located near Merimbula on the Sapphire Coast of NSW has been hosting a dinner to recognise World Environment Day and invite an engaging and informative speaker to address an environmental issue facing our world. To mark 38 years of the Centre’s annual World Environment Day dinner, this year’s organisers are thrilled to welcome Professor Lesley Hughes as their distinguished guest.

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Zina Kaye’s striking light sculpture Space Folding translates live Qantas and Qantas code-share flight data into patterns of multi-coloured light and sound.

4 June
Space Folding at VIVID

Over the past week Sydneysiders have been exposed to a world of fascinating science and technology as VIVID has lit up the streets with wonderful light sculptures and projections. One work inspired by Middle Eastern architecture and the Sydney city skyline is a truly extraordinary light sculpture designed by artist Zina Kaye for VIVID. Space Folding is a 3 metre architectural tower wrapped with over 1600 LEDs that uses custom built software to translate live Qantas and Qantas code-share flight data into patterns of multi-coloured light and sound.

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Generation Z

4 June
Understanding Generation Z

Do your efforts to excite Gen Z with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) hit the mark? Gen Who? Gen Z is every school child in Australia at the moment. They are defined as those born between born between 1995 and 2009, and they make up 1 in 5 in our population, and 1 in 10 in the workforce. In ten years’ time, over a quarter of Australians will be Gen Z so it’s vital that you understand what keeps this cohort interested if you are trying to engage them with STEM.

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Dr Ben McNeil from Thinkable.org

6 May
Crowdsourcing research

Last year climate scientist Dr Ben McNeil created an innovative way for members of the public to engage with and financially support scientists to carry out cutting-edge research via a subscription crowdfunding platform called Thinkable.org.

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STEM skills the key to future growth

4 May
STEM skills the key to future growth

Technology and innovation are transforming the economy, but numerous reports warn that unless fundamental changes are made to ensure a steady pipeline of STEM qualified graduates, Australia’s workforce will be unable to meet future needs. The latest voice calling for urgent action on STEM issues is consulting firm PwC.

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Computer science clubs from Google

4 May
Computer science clubs from Google

Want to learn more about coding and computer science? Google's CS First program provides easy-to-use computer science enrichment materials that target and engage a diverse student population. Its objective is to increase student access and exposure to computer science (CS) education through after-school, in-school and vacation care programs.

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Support for science engagement thumb

4 May
Support for science engagement across NSW

Communities across NSW will soon have the opportunity to enjoy a whole range of new science engagement activities created by the network of NSW Regional Science Hubs. With the support of Inspiring Australia (NSW), grant funds of just under $80,000 have been allocated to dozens of organisations that will again be working together to present original and thought-provoking events.

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New Scientist live event image

30 April
New Scientist live: an exciting new lecture series for Sydney

In 2015 New Scientist Live is launching a series of four captivating lectures in Sydney. Experts in their respective fields will delve into some of the most exciting ideas of today, challenge the status quo and explore what the future – and distant past – really looks like.

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The Science Nation logo

30 April
The storytelling of science

Dr Andrew Stephenson is a Brisbane-based science communicator who has spent much of his career finding ways to spark more interest and engagement with science.

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Students in a laboratory

30 April
Are we developing the STEM skills employers want?

The STEM skills in the workforce: what do employers really want? paper highlights a mismatch between the skills required by employers and those of job applicants.

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Robbie Openheimer and his BIOMOD team

8 April
The molecular machinery inside all of us

Robbie Openheimer and his colleagues participated in BIOMOD, an international competition hosted by Harvard University that is about building new kinds of nanotechnologies inspired by the molecular machinery inside all of us.

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2 April
Water Lab Wednesdays

Water Lab Wednesdays is an opportunity for the Northern Rivers Community to discover more about water with fun science experiments, investigations and games.

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2 April
How to start a science club

Ever wanted to get a science club up and running at your school, club or even your home and don’t know where to start? Already run a science club in a volunteer capacity but need extra support? Fizzics Education has been running science clubs for years and has created a viable model that can not only help you deliver a science club in any location across Australia but also employ you to do so.

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2 April
Mapping the use of our beaches and oceans

Over 85% Australians live within 50-kilometres of the water and use the marine environment in some way. This widespread connection to the sea is one reason why the national science engagement strategy, Inspiring Australia, identified marine science as having potential to increase Australians’ engagement with science.

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2 April
What can you do to progress STEM skills?

The Australian Industry Group report Progressing STEM Skills identifies science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) as the fastest growing area of employment in the economy, with work opportunities growing at 1.5 times the rate of other jobs in recent years.

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2 April
How to present science to anyone

Giving a presentation is your opportunity to share your passion about a topic with an audience and empower them to wonder "why?" about the same questions that fascinate you.

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2 April
Pint of Science

Pint of Science returns for its second year in Australia, and this year’s international festival is bigger and better with science events presented at three Sydney pubs and new teams established in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. The format is simple: down-to-earth talks by top scientists in the most relaxed setting possible – the pub!

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2 April
What’s KindaThinky?

Look at you. You’re on the ball, you’ve got your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the world of Inspiring Australia - and so you’ve probably heard about KindaThinky. But like many busy people, you haven’t had the chance to fully investigate what this Thinky thing is, and more importantly, why it has literally taken Canberra by literal storm.

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2 April
Participate in Sydney Science Festival 2015

After 18 years of National Science Week celebrations, Sydney science stakeholders will this year join forces to present a Sydney-wide science festival in order to make a greater impact and broaden this year’s offering to include research institutions, universities, business, engineers and community organisations.

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2 April
Farewell Shorebirds

Right now over five million shorebirds are beginning their annual migration to breed in the Arctic. To support them in their epic journey, Birdlife Australia is inviting people everywhere to head outdoors and take part in the Farewell Shorebirds Challenge by registering their kilometres in support of the local shorebirds until 19 April.

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2 April
Girls and STEM

To mark International Women’s day, UNSW held Women in Science and Industry Symposium at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Hosted by Professor Veena Sahajwalla, the director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at UNSW, the event brought together about 250 school girls aged 13 years upwards to consider careers in science and technology.

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2 April
Fizzics takes Australian science to China

When the school bell rings at the end of the day in China, for most children this does not mean that it is home time. Many kids head off to lavish 'training centres' where they can learn dance, art, ceramics, language, music or sports. Now thanks to an Australian company, science is also on offer as an after school activity.

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2 April
Our Changing Oceans

How are our oceans changing? What impacts will climate change have on our marine life and on us as a coastal community? These questions and more will be explored and answered at the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre Marine Science Forum.

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2 April
The Australian Museum Science Festival

During National Science Week 2015 the Australian Museum Science Festival will once again unleash science upon the broader Sydney community with a collaborative program that encompasses all fields of science.

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Dripette & Tapstar hold the world!

10 March
Using theatre to communicate science

When the University of Wollongong and the Illawarra Area Health Service wanted to develop their Managing a Healthy Balance in Food & Exercise Program they called on the Eaton Gorge Theatre Company (EGTC) to develop a play that made all their research and findings palatable to a young audience.

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The Chemistry for Kids show will be presented by Aboriginal high school students from rural and regional NSW who will lead the experiments and share the knowledge they have gained from their roles as demonstrators.

10 March
Indigenous science @ Redfern

An exciting celebration of achievements in Western and Indigenous Science, the Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern event provides a unique experience of science that highlights Aboriginal culture and traditions. This year Sydneysiders will again be welcomed to Redfern Community Centre during National Science Week in August to connect with Indigenous elders and scientists over a range of hands on activities.

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The Scimex website running on a laptop computer

6 March
Get the latest scientific research from Scimex

The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) has created a new website allowing journalists to access breaking science news and search a database of media-savvy experts.

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Previous workshop participants outside the Parkes radio telescope.

6 March
Astronomy from the ground up

CSIRO is running an exciting astronomy teacher workshop in May at the Parkes Observatory providing a wonderful opportunity for participants to develop astronomy skills and knowledge beside the iconic 64m Parkes radio telescope.

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To mark National Science Week 2015, members of the public will have the opportunity to be field geologists for a day.

6 March
The Newcastle Time Walk: stroll back through 300 million years

To mark National Science Week 2015, members of the public will have the opportunity to be field geologists for a day. On Sunday 23 August, ecologists will lead participants on a slow-paced 6 km walk along Newcastle foreshore, from Merewether to Nobbys Head to survey and discuss the many spectacular geological features.

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Dr Kirsti Abbott screen prints ant t-shirts with students in Lockhart.

6 March
Ants are everywhere

Because ants are everywhere, University of New England's Dr Kirsti Abbott and her colleagues are taking the School of Ants on the road! They want Australians everywhere to know more about ants and have the opportunity to help scientists collect information on their diversity, distribution and diet.

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A female engineering student hosting an info day tour at UNSW

6 March
From Goldiblocks to CEO

Why should we care how many women there are in engineering? With low numbers of women enrolling in tertiary engineering courses, Alexandra Bannigan argues the case for redressing the gender balance by schools, universities and employers working together to making STEM careers attractive to women and girls.

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Students at last year's Science Fair practiced CPR on a  mannequin as part of the on campus activities at Charles Sturt University

3 March
Science fair on the Border

Once again the Astronomical Society of Albury Wodonga in partnership with Charles Sturt University Albury Wodonga Campus will present a science fair this year to mark National Science Week 2015.

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Little Scientists logo

2 March
Science at preschool

The 'Little Scientists' advocate the idea that young children all over Australia have access to scientific exploration as much as they have to water-related sports. Based on the fact that children are inquisitive by nature, the organisation aims to enable children between 3 and 6 years of age to explore their interest in scientific subjects.

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Jan Owen AM is CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians and her mission is to unleash the potential of young people everywhere.

5 February
Science and road safety

The National Roads & Motorists' Association (NRMA) wanted to find a new way to teach primary school students about road safety that went beyond telling children "what" to do and instead explained "why" and "how". Find out how science programs run by Fizzics Education helped the company achieve its vision.

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Jan Owen AM is CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians and her mission is to unleash the potential of young people everywhere.

5 February
Making Australia better

Do you have an idea for building a better Australia? Innovation Nation – 1000 ideas for a Better Australia is a national ideas challenge for young people and a youth-led conversation about innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia.

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Science 50:50 invites women and girls to challenge the stereotype of the scientist as a man in a white lab coat.

5 February
Girls and STEM

A new program to inspire young women to pursue degrees and careers in science and technology, the Science 50:50 initiative, has a simple premise – since half of the population is female, why not half the scientists and technologists?

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Last year's BioBlitz at Siteworks attracted participants of all ages who recorded the stunning natural environment at Bundanon

5 February
Bundanon Field Day

Following on from the successful range of BioBlitz activities presented last year by the Shoalhaven Science Hub as part of the annual Siteworks Festival, Bundanon Trust will present a new program of exciting, hands on activities so that visitors can investigate Bundanon's unique flora and fauna.

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One Central Park is a highly acclaimed building project that boasts the world’s tallest vertical garden

5 February
Celebrating engineering excellence

With curiosity and creativity being at the heart of engineering, Powerhouse Museum is proud to present an exhibition filled with Australian engineering successes that are among the best in the world.

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Science Teacher Kristy Robberts from Dubbo Zoo is a member of the Central West Science Hub

5 February
NSW science outreach in 2015

Inspiring Australia (NSW) is gearing up for another big year in 2015, with plans for how to consolidate the impressive range of statewide science engagement efforts of the past two years underway. Find out what we will be doing to create more opportunities for community engagement with science this year.

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