Sydney Science Festival 2016

By Jackie Randles

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International Sydney Science Festival guest Amy Sheira Teitel is a US-based blogger and author who writes about science, space and the universe.

With over 100 events, the second Sydney Science Festival program is now online! The eleven-day celebration to mark National Science Week 2016 runs from 11-21 August and includes talks, workshops, tours and events for all ages. Across Sydney, there will be dozens of talks by world-leading researchers, hands-on workshops, film screenings, exhibitions and more. Walk through a dinosaur garden, get face-to-face with scientists at the forefront of their fields, have a laugh with friends and be inspired to learn more about the amazing world around us.

It’s the second time that Sydney’s science community have joined forces to present their annual National Science Week events under a citywide banner and this year there are more than 50 presenting partners involved.

Special international guests include: from the United States, biohacker Dr Ellen Jorgensen from Genspace labs in Brooklyn, acclaimed cinematographer and filmmaker Bob Poole who has spent many years in Africa filming for National Geographic, Amy Sheira Teitel, a blogger and author who writes about science, space and the universe, Professor Ian H Hutchinson, a physicist from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and from the United Kingdom, acclaimed TV presenter and science communicator Professor Brian Cox.

Large event presenters

The Powerhouse Museum
The festival opens with MAASive Lates: Science. This free, adults-only event will be hosted by special guest Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith featuring festival ambassador, Dr. Alan Duffy, and includes an entertaining and practical night of science-inspired activities, presentations, performances and music. A festival highlight, the Collider exhibition will open during the festival, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) particle physics laboratory in Geneva that houses the Large Hadron Collider. Be amused and entertained at BahFest, an evening of wit and horrendous inaccuracies, as brave speakers face a panel of real experts. Join Vintage Space blogger and New Horizons journalist Amy Sheira Teitel for an acessible look at the universe. Families can also enjoy the Sydney Mini Maker Faire, shows, hands on experiences, coding and more.

The Australian Museum
Super Science Saturday is set to be huge with hundreds of things to see and do. Discover why the Australian Museum is a hub for research, exploration and discovery for everyone, young and old. Meet presenters from some of Sydney’s leading science organisations. With live animal shows, face-painting, hands-on experiments and lectures, there are events/programs that will appeal to the littlies, teenagers and the parents. Watch science in action with Street Science. Find out what’s rumbling beneath the earth’s crust with Volcanoes, Eruptions and More. Learn more about the relationship between science and culture with Aboriginal Bush Food and Medicine. Hold a lizard, extract DNA from fruit, and come and meet Winny, the museum’s resident terror toddler dinosaur!

Centennial Park
Science in the Swamp will again present a fun, free, family festival. Back for its fourth year running, this popular event will include dinosaurs roaming Centennial Park, live animal displays, opportunities to pot a plant, discover the science of chocolate and learn about all kinds of science from the weird to the wonderful! Pat a carp, play with science toys or learn about venomous snakes. There will be hands-on activities for all ages at this free, exciting, family day

The Australian Botanical Garden at Mt Annan
Dinosuars will roam again at Mt Annan in Jurassic Garden, a free, family friendly event in Sydney’s west that will bring ancient and modern Australian rainforests to life at The Australian Botanic Garden. Highlights will include behind-the-scenes tours of the PlantBank research facility and seed vault, hands-on activities and experiments, scientists, venomous snakes, native plant tasting and a life size Australian dinosaur.

Redfern Community Centre
The celebrated Indigenous Science Experience Family Fun Day @ Redfern will be in residence for the fourth year running at Redfern Community Centre. This community event is open for the whole community and will feature activities presented by academic/research scientists, Indigenous Elders, student peer-educators and other outreach and community leaders. Highlights include yarning with Elders on bush foods and medicines, making Aboriginal tools and jewellery, taking part in hands-on science shows led by Indigenous youth, maths puzzles, robotics activities and lots of other science and technology activities. This event will provide an opportunity for all Australians to participate by presenting a diverse array of science in a culturally relevant manner.

Expert talks

Each of Sydney’s universities join this year’s Festival program with a line up of expert talks, demonstrations and panel discussions. At Sydney you can join Adam Spencer for Nanotainment to zoom down to the world at the nanoscale in this entertaining night of nanoscience, brought to life through song, dance and performance.

UNSW will host Star Power! Fusion Energy Frontiers. This discussion about fusion energy will feature visiting professor Ian H Hutchinson, a physicist and Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ecosystems scientist Richard Kingsford also presents River Journey, a travelling exhibition that follows a river’s journey from source to sea.

Macquarie is planning a STEM Open Day at which you can connect with leading academics, research scientists and current students and Western Sydney University again joins Penrith Public School for a science fair and a series of campus visits to the Hawkesbury Institute of the Environment.

Sydney’s medical researchers will also join the celebrations with anxiety body mapping presented by The Black Dog Institute, Genome Gazing presented by the Garvan Institute and a Science Open Day at the Woolcock Institute.

There are also film screenings and panel discussions planned at the Dendy Newtown, where you can see a line up of science documentaries including this year’s SCINEMA winner Maratus, the Australian Museum, where you can see Attenborough’s Ark and at the Australian Film Television and Radio School where you can join a discussion about what makes a great science documentary.

Help promote Sydney Science Festival

Help us get the world out by sharing the Festival website with your networks. Like, share and tag Sydney Science Festival on Facebook, and follow @SydScienceFest and use the Twitter hashtags #ssf16 and #natsciwk in your posts. You can also like, share and tag Facebook posts from National Science Week and follow @Aus_ScienceWeek on Twitter.

Congratulations to the festival producers at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences who have pulled the 2016 program together, and thanks to everyone who has chosen to be part of this year’s celebrations.