Inspiring the next generation of scientists

National Science Week was launched in NSW today by NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane at the Australian Museum. This year’s packed program of fun-filled activities is sure to excite a new generation to get involved in science, mathematics, engineering and research.

Hundreds of events will be held across New South Wales over the next week and Professor Mary O’Kane has encouraged everyone to get involved.

“National Science Week is not only a chance for us to celebrate the many great achievements and advances made by our scientists, it’s also the perfect opportunity to inspire our next generation of science minds,” Professor O’Kane said.

“More than 320 events are planned right across New South Wales – hands-on activities, shows, talks and workshops – aimed at engaging and exciting the community, particularly our young people, about all things science.

“What is truly wonderful is that many of the events are community-driven – including by the 18 Regional Science Hubs, which are jointly-funded by the NSW Government and Inspiring Australia,” she said.

Professor O’Kane kicked off festivities today when she officially opened the popular Australian Museum Science Festival alongside the Museum’s Director, Ms Kim McKay AO.

Elsewhere in Sydney, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Taronga Zoo will co-host workshops on plants and animals; Science in the Swamp will again enthrall visitors with live animals, real snow and science shows at Centennial Park; and Canadian astronaut-turned-internet sensation Chris Hadfield will appear in the sell out show Space Oddity at the Powerhouse Museum.

The Indigenous Science Experience @ Redfern invites community members to get hands on with a range of science and cultural activities, try a cup of bush medicine tea, discover native animals, have a yarn with Aboriginal Elders from all across the country and try their hand at throwing a boomerang or building a tool or weapon using traditional methods.

In regional NSW, a workshop on Aboriginal astronomy is planned for Broken Hill; the Dubbo Sustainable City Expo is on again; Coffs Harbour hosts Science Under the Sea; and the Sapphire Coast Science Festival will engage communities from Bega to Eden.

Professor O’Kane said it’s important to recognise and reflect on the important role science plays in our everyday lives.

“Science is central to the continued growth and improved health of our community, environment and economy. From increased life expectancy and ground-breaking treatments for disease, to technological innovations that change the way we go about our daily lives or tackle environmental challenges – research and knowledge touch us all,” she said.

See NSW highlights

Troy Deighton manages communications, grants and events in the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer