Science week a huge success

Communities across New South Wales were treated to hundreds of exciting science engagement experiences during National Science Week in August. The fourth Sydney Science Festival saw over 200 events delivered across town by 90 presenting partners, attracting thousands of audience members, many who participated in science week for the first time.

Festival highlights supported by Inspiring Australia included:

  • Good Robot Bad Robot, an international panel discussion about Artificial Intelligence presented by UNSW and Sydney Opera House.
  • World premier screenings and panel discussions of The Living Universe science faction film.
  • The Indigenous Science Experience at Redfern, presenting outstanding school programs and a free community day of science and culture led by Indigenous elders and students alongside non-Indigenous scientists.
  • Large scale family events at Centennial Park and in the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Mount Tomah and Mount Annan that collectively reached 25,000 people, including Gondwana Garden Family Day, Science in the Wild, Science in the Swamp, Living Laboratory, a Science Safari and the return of the popular light painting event Valley of Light.
  • Three days of Status Critical science for schools and the general public at Taronga Zoo presented by the Taronga Institute of Science & Learning researchers alongside students and staff from Sydney University – all kids went free in celebration of National Science Week!
  • A Tech Exo at Top Ryde and other free events presented by the Northern Sydney Science Hub to around 2500 people, including in shopping centres and libraries.
  • The Innovation Games at Sydney Olympic Park that featured a BMX pump track, talks and demonstrations, attracting more than 8,000 people to the second Games delivered in partnership with precinct partners including the GWS Giants who played against the Sydney Swans that day.
  • A presentation on Music and Memory by Prof Muireann Irish and violinist Maryanne Lieu delivered to 500 audience members. This event was part of  Inspiring Australia’s free Sounds like Science series at City Recital Hall.
  • VR activities at the Museum of Human Disease.
  • A Night of Illusions returning to 107 Projects in Redfern.
  • Free research talks preseted by dozens of young and established scientists to community members in 30 libraries across the Greater Sydney Region.

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences opened its doors to science lovers during a lively program of science events at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Observatory and Museums Discovery Centre. Highlights included hands-on family activities at Big Science Day, a late-night museum wide science party at MAASive Lates Science, the launch of the new exhibition Human non Human and a keynote with Festival Ambassador Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith. Visitors to Sydney Observatory Night Tours: Mars Vision enjoyed the clear winter skies and views of Mars, galaxies and stars throughout the Festival.

The Australian Museum welcomed more than 6,000 of students to its two-week schools’ program to enjoy hundreds of hands on activities from scientists and presenters representing leading universities and research institutes. Thousands of community members attended Super Science Saturday where the incredible sciences of Sydney were highlighted through interactive demonstrations and shows.

Part of National Science Week, Sydney Science Festival is produced by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and Australian Museum with support from Inspiring Australia.

Regional festivals and events

Many more festivals and events were presented across the state including in Wagga, Bega, Wollongong, the Blue Mountains, Newcastle, Dungog, Cowra, Orange, Bellingen, Lismore, Armidale and on the Central Coast.


Regional highlights included:

  • The Art VS Science Festival returning to Lismore for a full day of creative exploration across the full spectrum of STEAM disciplines
  • The Riverina Science Festival with its Robot Catwalk, animations from local artist Alice Peacock and National Indigenous Science Experience program.
  • A Tech Expo presented as part of the Bega Valley Science Festival that featured 3D printing, robotics, drones and electronic music making, as well as displays and presentations from Science Hub partners.
  • Opportunities to do hands on science with scientists working with the NSW Department of Primary Industries along with short films and SCINEMA screenings for school students and community members in Orange and Cowra
  • A Night of Illusions presented at the New England Regional Museum in Armidale.
  • A bumper program of five events in the Dungog region including an expert panel on Community Owned Renewable Energy, SCINEMA screenings, a Koalas in the Pub night and a Community Koala survey.
  • Water quality monitoring events in Bellingen including presentations from the Riverwatch Citizen Science project.
  • Rock rambles, guided works and art dispalys on the Central Cost.
  • On campus science talks and activites, the Hunter Science Festival at the Newcastle Museum and a Mini EV Fest in the Hunter.
  • A Festival of Flame in the Illawarra featuring talks, performance, hands on activities and presentations around the science of fire.

Inspiring Australia extends its heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of volunteers, event organisers, host venues, Science Hubs and scientists that collectively made our annual celebration of science so successful.

Help us evaluate our efforts!

If you attended an event, or were an event organiser, please help us evaluate our efforts!

Your responses will help us improve the way we connect the community with science as part of the overall National Science week campaign.

Images of community members enjoying the Art Vs Science Festival presented by the Northern Rivers Science Hub courtesy of Alex Clark. For more information visit the Sydney Science Festival and National Science Week websites.