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.
The ten-day Festival comprised tours, talks, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions and science activities for kids and science fans of all ages. International guests included cosmologist Dr Neil de Grasse Tyson, astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield, astronomer and UK space scientist and presenter of the TV show The Sky at Night Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Stanford University’s genetic specialist Professor Kelly Ormond.
Local researchers tackled topical issues from alternative energy solutions, the ethics of communicating climate change and sustainable food production to antibiotic resistance, clinical psychology for children with behavioural issues and bringing science to wellness.
A speed meet session at Customs House brought together researchers, readers and sci-fi authors with crime fiction and science writers and participants at a Weird Food dinner tested unconventional recipes from rule-breaking experiments. Mathematician and TV Star Lily Serna facilitated a careers event hosted by Google with a panel of young graduates to inspire years 5-8 students to consider careers involving science, technology, engineering and maths and a panel discussion on Bringing Science To Wellness hosted by the ABC’s Natasha Mitchell was broadcast by Radio National and generated much interest via an article published in The Drum.
Other highlights included a 2-day Sydney Mini Maker Faire, the popular Science in the Swamp! event at Centennial Parklands, the Australian Museum Family Science Day and the Indigenous Science Family Fun Day at Redfern Community Centre. World Record Stargazing events were held at the Sydney Observatory, Centennial Parklands and Green Point and the interactive Field Orbs Photo Event commissioned by artist Peter Solness generated stunning photographic images that have been seen by millions of people around the world. Several universities hosted talks and panel events and many local libraries and schools joined the fun. The Festival finished with a bang during Explode it with Science, a fiery day of demonstrations, workshops and interactive performances at the Powerhouse Museum.
Throughout the Festival period, the Australian Museum Science Festival also saw 6,000 school students attend its varied program that offered hundreds of hands on experiences. Congratulations to all involved in making Sydney’s National Science Week celebrations bigger than ever before.
Anyone wishing to get involved in Sydney Science Festival is welcome to attend a stakeholder event from 3.30pm on Wednesday 8 October for a discussion about its future directions and information about how to participate in an EOI process for 2016.
Jackie Randles is Manager Inspiring Australia.