Inspiring Australia Update: Crowdsourcing Citizens For International Astronomy

Gemma and her home-made comet starred in Astrofest tweets from former WA Chief Scientist Professor Lyn Beazley (@ChiefSci_WA)

Gemma and her home-made comet starred in Astrofest tweets from former WA Chief Scientist Professor Lyn Beazley (@ChiefSci_WA)

There’s a lot of space and a lot of things in space out there – which means some potentially interesting finds by keen viewers of the stars. Why not bring them together?

Want some help scanning the skies over outback Australia for shooting stars? Crowdsource it! And while you’re at it, educate the crowd. That’s the bright idea behind Curtin University’s Fireballs in the Sky project.

This project will include ordinary people in the research process, improving their scientific literacy and especially their understanding of planetary research.

The long-term aim of the project is to bring citizen scientists, particularly in remote locations in Western and South Australia, into the Desert Fireball Network – an international scientific collaboration that uses a network of cameras in outback Australia to photograph the fall of meteorites, greatly increasing the chances of finding and recovering them for further investigation.

Gemma Mullaney, Geoscience Outreach Officer at Curtin University tells more about the accessibility and the research over on the Inspiring Australia website.

Visit the Fireballs in the Sky website to download the app – and find more updates at the Inspiring Australia website.

Inspiring Australia

Inspiring Australia Update: Tasmania’s Sarah Bayne On Selling Science In Our Smallest State

Distant land with whole-hearted engagement – meet Tasmania’s Inspiring Australia officer, Sarah Bayne.

There's a lot of science in Tasmania, and Sarah Bayne tries to cover it all.

There’s a lot of science in Tasmania, and Sarah Bayne tries to cover it all

People come to science engagement with a range of backgrounds, but there can’t be many who’ve worked cleaning convict bricks like Sarah Bayne has.

But there’s far more to Tasmania than convict clichés, and Sarah now communicates all the many science and science-related activities going on in the island state.

Sarah is one of eight state and territory Inspiring Australia Officers who support science communication and engagement projects, help them gain publicity and enable local collaboration.

What inspires you?

At work I really get inspired by people – the passion and dedication I see in the scientists and science communicators I work with and also the ‘light bulb’ moments and fascination I see when a child (or even an adult) fully engages with something new. Out of work I mostly get inspired by nature and the environment, and also my friends. Oh, and good food. And my dog.

What Inspiring Australia initiatives are happening in your area?

There are a whole range of IA initiatives happening in Tasmania including the website, a local grants scheme, newsletters and social media, all types of events, scholarships and lots of brainstorming about how else we can engage the public in science.

Read more Questions and Answers with Sarah at the Inspiring Australia website.

Inspiring Australia

ASC14 – Science Communication On The Internet: A Beginner’s Guide #M6

Alex Jurkiewicz (@jurkiewicz) spoke to delegates about practical advice about setting up and maintaining a presence on the internet without a specialist IT professional.



Bluebottle Research – – a small research lab that Alex used as an example for setting up a presence on the internet.

What do you need?

  • Domain name: $15/yr
  • Website: FREE – $100/yr
  • Social Media: Twitter, youtube, facebook, instagram…
  • Email: FREE – $50/user

Domain names need to be short, simple and memorable. Names can be purchased through a variety of registrars – all provide the same service but vary in price.

When setting up a domain name, nameservers must be set. In this case, Alex is using wordpress nameservers, as he is setting up a wordpress website. is great for setting up a beautiful website if you’re not particularly web-savvy.


  • Many themes available for free or a one-off fee under $100
  • Themes can be changed easily – choose one that is suitable for your needs I.e. Magazine style, blog, displaying photos etc
  • “Widgets’ can be added to a wordpress site to add dynamic content such as a Twitter feed. More info here

Email Configuration

  • Email addresses can be created in wordpress under the My Domains menu.
  • If you need more than 5 email addresses, Google Apps for Business provides a comprehensive email system for $50/user/yr.


  • Create a YouTube channel to upload videos relevant to your organisation


  • This is essential for monitoring visitors to your website – where they’re coming from, what they’re looking at.
  • Available freely in wordpress.
  • A more comprehensive version is offered for free through Google Analytics.


Q. Vimeo or YouTube? A. Either one is fine, though YouTube is more popular.

Q. How do you manage comments on blog posts? A. Settings can be changed to allow comments to be approved before appearing on the website. This can be changed under wordpress settings.


#ASC14 Podcasts – Claire Harris At The ASC National Conference

Claire Harris is the conference convenor for the Australian Science Communicators National conference for 2014.
Claire is a science communicator specialising in agriculture, environment and natural resource management science and technology. She’s worked as a scientist, project manager and communication specialist with government and research agencies in Australia and the United Kingdom.
After joining the Australian Science Communicators in 2005, Claire has been active in local branches and National Executive, and was National President for part of 2013.Claire joined CSIRO in 2009 to work in science communication for climate adaptation, environment and agriculture and was seconded to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture to assist with carbon farming communication in 2012. She’s just one of the many great people you can meet at the Australian Science Communicators conference in Brisbane, for 2014.

#ASC14 Podcasts – Jesse Shore, Jenni Metcalfe And Joan Leach At The ASC National Conference

Dr Joan Leach convenes the Science Communication Program at the University of Queensland and is the Associate Professor of rhetoric and Deputy Head of School in the School of English, Media Studies and Art History. Joan is also the President of the Australian Science Communicators.
Her research centers on public engagement with science, medicine and technology and she has been active in the Australian government’s recent initiatives toward “Inspiring Australia”. She is currently researching the role of popular science in the globalisation of science since the 1960s, a project funded by the Australian Research Council. 

Jenni Metcalfe is the Director of Econnect Communication. She also lectures in science journalism at the University of Queensland. She has been a science communicator for more than 24 years, working as a journalist, practitioner and researcher in this area. She was President of the Australian Science Communicators (ASC) from 2005 to 2007. During that time, ASC hosted the World Conference of Science Journalists.

Dr Jesse Shore, of Prismatic Sciences, is passionate about engaging the community with science and in looking for ways to weave together the arts and sciences. He has been developing science based exhibitions and events since 1984, and was President of the Australian Science Communicators from 2010-2012. His business, Prismatic Sciences, produced five travelling exhibitions for the Royal Australian Chemical Institute for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry and he manages the ongoing national tour.

Jesse previously worked at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney as an exhibition project leader and Senior Curator of sciences. While at the museum he was one of the founders of the Ultimo Science Festival, a major National Science Week activity. He is currently collaborating with an artist to create artworks which have a science slant.

#ASC14 Podcast – Dr Rod Lamberts – Presenter at the ASC National Conference

Dr Rod Lamberts is the Deputy Director of the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS) at the Australian National University, a founding partner of the Éngstrom Group, and in 2012 was elected National President of the Australian Science Communicators (retired injured, 2013).

He has more than 18 years experience as a professional facilitator and researcher, and is considered an expert of international standing in the field of science communication. More recently he has teamed up with another avid science communicator, Dr Will Grant – and together they produce SCOM BOMB, which will be appearing at the Australian Science Communicators conference in Brisbane.

#ASC14 Podcast – Sarah Lau – Presenter at the ASC National Conference

Sarah Lau is a graduate of the Science Communication course at UWA, and worked at the science museum in Perth called Scitech, and was primarily responsible for creating engaging science shows and experiences for visitors. In 2009 Sarah joined ChemCentre in Bently, where she is responsible for the public profile of the organisation – this covers everything from media duties through to marketing and all communication related activities in between. When not working as Communication Manager for ChemCentre in Western Australia, Sarah spends her time keeping things in order as the Secretary of the ASC.

Get your tickets for the ASC14 conference to learn more about her and many other great science communicators, at