Sydney Science Festival 2019

Sydney will welcome high-profile international guests this August for Sydney Science Festival, including pioneering marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer Dr Sylvia Earle, Nobel Laureate Dr Elizabeth Blackburn, physicist, writer and broadcaster, Professor Paul Davies, broadband historian Claire L Evans and ISS Flight Controller Andrea Boyd.

They will be joined by local science stars including marine biologist Professor Emma Johnson, astronomer Professor Lisa Harvey Smith, author Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, maths teacher extraordinaire and Australian Local Hero Eddie Woo, chemist and science communicator Dr Alice Motion and celebrated mathematician Professor Geordie Williamson.

The citywide program also features a wide variety of Sydney scientists who’ll deliver short talks about their research as part of Talking Science, a series curated by Inspiring Australia in partnership with local libraries. Hundreds more researchers will participate in science week activities on campus and in parks, gardens, museums, community centres and galleries, including as part of the inaugural Soapbox Science program at Circular Quay.

Produced by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences with support from the Australian Museum and Inspiring Australia, the fifth citywide Festival to mark National Science Week in Sydney comprises a huge range of events across the city from 6 –18 August.

In the middle of a jam-packed two week schools’ program at the Australian Museum, Super Science Saturday returns for a community day that includes live animals, hands-on experiments and outrageous science demonstrations, including activities to appeal to the littlies, teenagers and parents. There’ll be a free day for children at Taronga Zoo, in collaboration with the University of Sydney, for families to experience first-hand conservation science in action, as well as large scale free events in Centennial Park, the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney Olympic Park, the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah.

Among activities at the Powerhouse Museum will be the Appollo 11 exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, a Big Science Day featuring a Hidden Mathematics talk with Festival Ambassador Eddie Woo and a panel of leading female scientists who will discuss Australia’s unique opportunities in the new space race. Activism in the age of climate change will bring climate change champions together to share insights into projects that are making a difference, including Ambrose Hayes, a student organiser for School Strike 4 Climate.

Australian National Maritime Museum will welcome oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle.

A festival highlight at the Australian National Maritime Museum on 13 August will be State of our Oceans with Sylvia Earle, a night of stunning imagery and lively conversation a featuring legendary oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle, marine scientist Professor Emma Johnson AO and multi-award-winning international nature photographer Michael Aw who will share fascinating stories from the field.

Other highlights supported by Inspiring Australia include:

  • Science in the City from 6 to 15 August, Australian Museum’s schools’ program brings practical science to life with hands-on activities and explosive workshops.
  • Why music is Maths, a free lunchtime event on Wednesday 7 August at City Recital Hall, mathematician Professor Geordie Williamson will delve into the shape of sound and sound waves to explore the fascinating world of timbre, overtones, modes and frequencies.
  • ArtSci, a series of art/science events and competitions presented in libraries and community centres on Sydney’sNorthside will culminate in a free, family festival on 17 August with demos and shows at the CSIRO’s stunning Linfield facility.
  • Science in the Swamp, a much-loved event that typically welcomes thousands of community members will feature science presentations from diverse presenters in Centennial Park on 18 August including larger-than-life Erth Dinosuars.
  • The Planets: music and science in the park, Sydney Youth Orchestras will present an outdoor evening performance of The Planets by Gustav Holst at Centnnial Park on 17 August, accompanied by an opportunity to stargaze through telescopes and learn about the night sky from astronomy experts.
  • Science in the Wild – Dinosaurs vs Superpowers, a chance for community members in Western Sydneyt to enjoy free, outdoor family and community activities at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan on 11 August, with a focus on plant science superpowers.
  • The Innovation Games brings science to sports fans attending the AFL game at Spotless Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park on 18 August. This free family fun day in partnership with GWS Giants will be full of sporting, science and technology action – including drone simulators, virtual reality gaming, a scooter and skate challenge, an augmented reality treasure hunt, Australian wildlife shows, sports and fitness challenges, wellbeing talks, participatory Indigenous art and more.
  • The National Indigenous Science Education Program @ Redfern this unique schools’ engagment program features participation by Indigenous students, Indigenous Elders and the community alongside scientists and outreach providers who will offer a wide range Indigenous and Western science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities. The public community day at Redfern Community Centre on Sunday 18 August is free and open to all.
  • Living Laboratory, a celebration of the environmental sciences at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney on Sunday 18 August with stalls, talks, demonstrations and scientists at the ready to address your burning questions.
  • Gondwana Garden, a trip through time to the ancient land of Gondwana in a fantastic family day of hands-on science fun at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah on 17 August. Hunt for virtual reality Australian dinosaurs and megafauna with the Jurassic Garden app; watch reptile and dinosaur shows; and see and learn about furry animals, frogs and tadpoles and plant science.
  • Harbour Cruise: Aboriginal Perspectives of Sydney Harbour: theAustralian National Maritime Museum will offer a unique opportunity to discover Aboriginal Perspectives of Sydney via a stargazing experience on board Tribal Warrior’s Mari Nawi (Big Canoe), with an all-Indigenous crew who will share stories and techniques used to navigate by the stars for thousands of years.
  • Future Science 2040, a free breakfast presentation by CSIRO’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley at NSW Parliament House on Wednesday 13 August that will ask: What does the future hold for scientific research in this country? How will new tools such as big data, automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning impact our scientists and their work? Part of the 2019 NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer’s Science and Research series.
  • The Ambidextrous Brain: Imagination & Creativity, two separate talks on neuroscience and the artistic brain at the Art Gallery of NSW and Sydney Startup Hub presented by University of Sydney Psychology Professor David Alais.

University events

As part of Sydney Science Festival, Sydney’s universities have each developed a suite of outstanding science engagement offerings including:

  • Elizabeth Blackburn: The Telomere Effect: a presentation by Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn at the City Recital Hall that will ask why ageing takes such different paths for different individuals and Paul Davies: The Demon in the Machine,  transformations in technology and medicine, the physics of two-headed worms and answer the age-old question of whether or not we are alone in the universe. (UNSW. See more).
  • The Al – Zr of the Periodic Table: a journey through Al-Zr of the Periodic Table in a comedic ensemble of quick-witted scientists including Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Adam Spencer and Dr Alice Motion (The University of Sydney. See more).
  • Pollinator Power: A chance to meet researchers investigating the role of pollinators in producing some of Australia’s favourite fruits, nuts and vegetables, as well how they are vital in maintaining healthy, functional native ecosystems. (Western Sydney University. See more).
  • Spectra: The Art and Consequence of Collaboration: A group exhibition featuring the work of Australian artists and designers working at the nexus of art and science that explores their increasing convergence and how each area impacts the other. (UTS. See more).
  • Another Pale Blue Dot: The SETI Institute’s Search for Exoplanets: a talk by Dr. Franck Marchis, Senior Planetary Astronomer and Science Outreach Manager, SETI Institute (Macquarie University. See more).

Visit Sydney Science Festival to browse the full program or find an event near you on the National Science week events directory.

Inspiring Australia is a Founding Partner of Sydney Science Festival, established in 2015 to unite Sydney’s science engagement efforts and amplify the impact and reach of National Science Week.