Universities reach out for National Science Week

women standing in a mircofactory

Universities across the state are celebrating 2022 National Science Week with dozens of events presenting their leading and emerging researchers from science, engineering, medicine and technology to the community.

In collaboration with local media, museums, artists, musicians, novelists and even comedy improvisers, there are talks, forums, symposiums, workshops, exhibitions, demonstrations and performances. Here are some highlights.

UNSW Sydney

UNSW Sydney’s materials scientist and engineer Professor Veena Sahajwalla is a visionary inventor creating a new generation of green materials, products and resources reformed from waste. For National Science Week she appears at the Powerhouse Ultimo in Veena Sahajwalla: Microrecycling and at Lake Mac STEAM Week discussing waste and circular economies.

In Addicted to Dopamine UNSW’s Centre for Ideas hosts psychiatrist Dr Anna Lembke, the US author of Dopamine Nation. She will discuss the neuroscience of addiction with the ABC’s Sana Qadar, and share what the latest scientific discoveries can teach us about the relationship between pleasure and pain.

For the Love of Birds, presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas, is a timely celebration of birds with UNSW Sydney ecologist Professor Richard Kingsford, writer and birdwatcher Sean Dooley, author Charlotte McConaghy, and hosted by Ann Jones, presenter of the ABC’s What the Duck. With more people than ever twitching after Covid-19, the panel will explore what both scientists and citizen scientists are observing today in the face of increasing threats to the habitats of birds.

Before Covid-19 most people had never heard of RNA. But RNA technology could play an important role in how we treat other conditions such as cancer, cystic fibrosis and schizophrenia. UNSW Sydney brings together a panel of leading medical researchers on the topic for its Sci-Fi Series: Is RNA the answer to cancer?

What exactly does the future of nuclear technology look like? A multidisciplinary team from UNSW will discuss the opportunities and difficult issues around this historically disruptive technology in We Need to Talk About Nuclear Technology.

If you want a peek into the exciting research of our next generation of scientists, the What Comes Next series explores significant and ground-breaking research into medical use of magic mushrooms, x-ray vision and tomography, fighting fungal infection, digital supportive care and unleashing the power of solar energy.

Creative AI Sydney brings together technologists, artists, arts organisations and researchers based in and around Sydney to take stock of what impact AI and generative technologies may have on design. Hosted by Art & Design at UNSW Sydney.

Regenerating Australia, a 17-minute short film created by Damon Gameau, will be presented by UNSW Science and Sustainability as part of National Science Week. The screening will be followed of diverse experts as they discuss how we can commit to a fairer, cleaner, more community focused and sustainable future.

More information on all the UNSW Sydney researchers involved in National Science Week.

University of Sydney

Lines of Best Fit is a new and novel way to communicate science. Scientists from the University of Sydney Nano Institute team up with professionals from improvised comedy shows to present their research. We don’t know what to expect from this one!

The sell-out Live from Lab returns with a panel discussion and live musical performances by local artists inspired by the research of five University of Sydney scientists.

Could the wide array of Australian animal species hold any clues for human health? What can we do to save them? This is the topic of talks from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Innovations in Peptide and Protein Science, University of Sydney. Researchers Dr Carolyn Hogg and Professor Richard Payne will speak at Science in the Local at Springwood, and the Powerhouse Museum, and Dr Nisha Duggan will discuss Creepy Cures at Penrith Library.

The Chau Chak Wing Museum, the University of Sydney’s museum of art, science, history and ancient cultures, has some great free events for National Science Week including a series of free floor talks with Professor Nathan Lo on the social life of termites, Dr Rosalyn Gloag on working with Australian bees, and Drs Karen Privat and Elizabeth Carter on palaeoenvironmental reconstruction as part of Museum’s exhibition Object/Art/Specimen.

Coastal areas are some of the most highly impacted and vulnerable environments in the world, particularly in Australia. The Australian Seashores exhibition at the Museum utilises stunning material from historic photography and natural history collections related to Australian Seashores, a landmark textbook published by three biologists, Professor William J Dakin and Dr Isobel Bennett from The University of Sydney, and Elizabeth Carrington Pope from the Australian Museum. 

For the kids, the Museum has Busy Bees, a fun-filled afternoon of bee themed activities for 5 to 12 year olds.

The National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip will bring all things quantum and dark matter to communities around Australia for National Science Week. A team of scientists and science communicators will drive from Brisbane to Perth, visiting schools, libraries, pubs and other community hubs. The road trip includes NSW stops for demos and workshops in Byron Bay on 9 August , at the University of Sydney on 13 August, and a special public lecture Beyond the visible Universe with Professor Céline Boehm, Chief Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Dark Matter Particle Physics.

Have some questions for Dr Karl Kruszelnicki? You can access a free live Q & A webinar with Dr Karl , see him in Newcastle, or ask your questions in person at the Sydney Science Trail Community Saturday at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan. You can see his new Comedy Hour at the Comedy Store throughout the week as well.

More information on all the University of Sydney researchers involved in National Science Week events.


In Sea-ing the Future: How the oceans can help us combat climate change
Professor Chris Turney from UTS joins curator at the Australian National Maritime Museum Emily Jateff, for a conversation on everything from deep time to current and future ecological impacts of climate change.

UTS  is proud to be a University partner for the Sydney Science Trail produced by the Australian Museum, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and the Australian Botanical Garden Mount Annan. Researchers from UTS will contribute to talks, workshops, stalls and activities for the whole community.

Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University’s Mark Temple, a molecular biologist and former musician, brings together scientists and artists for Science Meets Art: An evening of Sonification and Music. His recent research uses the technique of sonification, taking data and making it into sound.

Katherine Morrison is an aquatic ecologist completing a PhD with Western Sydney University. For her presentation Platypus of Greater Western Sydney at Liverpool City Library she will discuss where platypuses are, how to spot them, and what to do when you see one.

Western Sydney University partners with the Sydney Science Festival for the first Family Science Day at its Parramatta campus. This free, family-friendly event invites participants to engage with a range of scientific disciplines including medicine, ecology, climate change and astronomy.

Westmead Institute for Medical Research

The Westmead Institute for Medical Research (WIMR) addresses three important topics with free public talks for National Science Week. Professor Jon Iredell, a specialist in infectious diseases and microbiology talks about Suberbugs and the threat of antibiotic resistant infections; Dr Zoe Clayton from the Cardiac Regeneration group will provide an update on trials looking at the feasibility of stem cell derived transplantation for the heart in Repairing the Heart; and Professor Sarah Palmer of the Centre for Virus Research will discuss WIMR’s vital research as part of the global Covid-19 response and detail some of her team’s findings particularly in relation to the Omicron variant in Viruses and Variants.

Macquarie University

How can we learn about sustainable living from 60,000+ years of Indigenous culture? The National Indigenous Science Education Program at Macquarie University hosts the Indigenous Science Experience at Redfern at the Redfern Community Centre on Saturday 20 August.

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology and Professor Sakkie Pretorius from Macquaire University present a panel on Communicating with Plants: Exploring how First Nations perspectives intersect with futuristic biotechnologies. It will include a lively and imaginative discussion about why we should listen to plants, and how First Nations cultural practices encourage deep listening to Country.

University of Newcastle

University of Newcastle celebrates everything science and technology with its own National Science Week Expo. The College of Engineering, Science and Environment hosts researchers from its schools running interactive activities. Try out a lie detector, glass investigation, science experiments, and more.

The College will also host some free webinars on a range of glass related topics: Glass in Food Science, What’s in your Glass? Why your drink choices matter in nutrition science, Good Glass: The science of photography and visual perception, as well as a virtual laboratory tour of its Centre for Organic Electronics.

University of Wollongong

Antarctic Futures is an exhibition, public seminar series and set of participatory workshops engaging the Illawarra community in Antarctic science and the future of the Antarctic continent at the University of Wollongong Early Start Discovery Space. The event aims to equip young ‘citizen science’ activists with knowledge of Antarctic ecosystems, how Antarctica affects the global climate and how climate change is affecting Antarctica.

Professor Jonathan Clark, reconstructive surgeon at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, will give a feature presentation at The Bill Wheeler Symposium and Award. A prize of $2,000 is awarded to the student who best communicates the social impact of their research and how the prize will benefit their work.

The University of Wollongong hosts an IPRI Open Day during National Science Week. The Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI) is shaping the next generation of smart materials for health and energy solutions to improve people’s lives.

In the forum Glass Houses: Turning glass into concrete Professor Tim McCarthy, Director of the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre at the University of Wollongong, shares how his research and practice that expands the sustainable future of construction by finding ways to use waste glass as a productive ingredient in building materials such as lightweight concrete.

University of New England

UNE Discovery will conduct a range of play-based science activities at Armidale Central Shopping Centre in a pop-up style stall from 17 – 20 August. The team will be conducting demonstrations and guided play along the theme of Glass: More than meets the eye.