ASC ACT branch – National Youth Week event

Fenella Edwards, Vice-President, ACT branch, writes: To celebrate National Youth Week and the International Year of Chemistry, CSIRO Discovery hosted an evening for young people – of all ages!

The theme of chemistry was visible in an array of non-alcoholic cocktails, or ‘mocktails’ mixed up by the ACT Branch of Australian Science Communicators. These colourful concoctions, as well as admission to the Discovery exhibition with live creature shows, were included in the free admission event.

Local bands ‘Project B’ (Lyneham High School) and ‘Loud Mud’ (Gundaroo) entertained all with jazz and light rock before the poetry element of the evening sparked up some creative chemistry among the crowd.

Canberra poet extraordinaire Hal Judge guided us through a group performance of two of his poems, and invited the audience to submit creative answers to questions to win prizes. The audience were then dazzled (if not intimidated) by fabulous performances of local poets Omar Musa and Andrew Galan before the open-mic poetry competition got underway – with $500 in worth of prizes up for grabs for the best original poem/story/song having a chemistry theme.

The winning poem by Sarah Sherringham ‘The Tale of the Very Strange Step-mother’ was a modern day remake of the fairy tale Snow White, the following is an excerpt:

Some people said she married him just for the cash
And they were not entirely mistaken in that.
The sciences had taken such a beating and a shunning,
Rich husbands were the last source of research funding!

In the room she’d been given to dress for tea,
She’d set up some kind of weird laboratory
Where beakers bubbled and test tubes foamed;
She stayed in there all day and night, on her own.

Wrapped up her research (in time for tea
Published her treatise on Clean Energy;
Became the leading expert in her field of Chemistry;
And these days she’s a Professor at the University.”

Also during the evening, prizes were awarded to the winners of the National Youth Week science-art competition, ‘When Science Meets Art’. The winning entries were on display in the CSIRO Discovery gallery space throughout National Youth Week, see the prize winners at: http://www.csiro.au/resources/When-Science-Meets-Art-2011.html