Fact or Fiction

You may like your sci-fi films and you may love science, but are you confused about what is science fact and what is science fiction? A survey conducted by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has found that a lot of us have been watching too much Dr Who and not enough Dr Karl.

To help rectify the situation, ANSTO has developed an entertaining and interactive show called Fact or Fiction. It involves the audience watching short clips of popular sci-fi movies before individually voting, with hand held devices, on whether the technology featured is fact or fiction.

Once the audience voting has been locked in, an ANSTO scientist critiques the science featured in the film and provides the right answer. Technologies discussed include light sabres, intelligent metals, teleporting, time travel, invisibility and telekinesis.

Fact or Fiction is now in its fourth year and has proven to be effective at engaging Australians with science. Over 10,000 people have attended the show over the past 12 months.

Recent shows in Albury and Bathurst proved popular with young and old alike, with audience members agreeing that the show was engaging, interesting and a great way to get kids more interested in science.

Feedback indicated that many of those who came to watch the show are interested in visiting ANSTO’s Lucas Heights premises for a free tour of the nuclear research facility.

Others indicated that they would be interested in pursuing science careers. Overall, audiences agreed that the ANSTO presenters were engaging, many people praising them for being spontaneous and funny.

One audience member commented:

“We discussed at length many of the questions you had brought to the fray and we did argue a little and vent our opinions in a healthy forum at the Commercial Club Cafe Later that night.

I tried to imitate as best I could under the circumstances but could only hope not to be vaporised by a hidden Photon Death Ray … we wish you, the other scientists and ANSTO the accolades’ you all deserve for a great show. I wish it was longer!”

ANSTO will continue to present Fact or Fiction throughout Australia in 2014 and looks forwarded to engaging many more Australians of all ages and in many more locations.

Rod Dowler is Discovery Centre Leader at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation www.ansto.gov.au

Find out more about Fact or Fiction.