Gravity theories and koala mapping

Cutting edge theories of gravity and a local koala mapping program headline the second Science at the Local event for 2019 on Sunday May 19 from 2:30pm. First Dr Kellie Leigh from the conservation not-for-profit Science for Wildlife will be giving a talk on Koalas in the Blue Mountains and why this is a good news story. Then Professor Gavin Brennen from Macquarie University will address the topic: “Not your mum’s gravity – from string theory to loop quantum gravity.”

Dr Leigh, who spent a decade working on conservation in Zambia, has research expertise in conservation biology, genetics and behavioural ecology. She has also done innovative work training and evaluating wildlife detection dogs and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sydney.

Dr Leigh and the team at Science for Wildlife started the Blue Mountains Koala Project in the wake of the devastating 2013 bushfires. It combines citizen science and ecological research to understand the local distribution of koalas in the region.

“It’s fantastic to have someone speaking about research happening right here in the Mountains,” said Science at the Local co-founder Hamish Clarke. “We should have a great turn out for this event.”

Professor Brennen trained in Alaska and New Mexico in the United States and is now part of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems.

Brennen abides by the maxim that “nature is a wondrous place and an unfinished product”. His main interests are how to use the physical laws we know, particularly quantum mechanics, to probe nature in ever more exquisite detail.

“We’re also looking forward to our first event in Lithgow on June 30“ said Science at the Local’s other co-founder Kevin Joseph. “As usual all are welcome and the event is free – stay tuned for the lineup announcement!”

Event details

Where: Springwood Sports Club, 83 Macquarie Rd Springwood
When: Sunday May 19, 2:30pm – 4pm
Cost: Free

Contact: Hamish Clarke, 0458 105 269

Coming up

Upcoming 2019 events will be on 28 July, 15 September and 24 November, all at Springwood Sports Club from 2:30pm. Topics include tree mortality, fossils from the red centre and the Yarramundi forensic science facility.

Feature image courtesy of Symbio Wildlife Park sanctuary. Science at the Local is the Blue Mountains Science Hub supported by Inspiring Australia and the NSW Government. To get involved, go to