The Curiosity Show hits the internet

Thank you to Curiosity Show host Prof. Rob Morrison for taking the time to answer our questions about the launch of the show online.

Many Australian’s hold fond memories of mornings on the couch, watching The Curiosity Show… and after a 23 year hiatus, they have returned to thrill a new generation of eager Australians!

The Curiosity Show has hit the web, with all the classic segments – including favourites like Make-and-Do, Nature and Puzzles – now available on youtube. You can also connect with the show on their website, facebook and twitter.

Prof. Rob Morrison, Curiosity show host, said that originally the show was designed to deal with science and technology, without overtly teaching it. He says, “we did this by using things like natural history segments, lots of making and doing, and things like art and music segments.

“Making and Doing meant things like mousetrap racing cars, battery-powered hovercraft, pill-bottle torches, and mousetrap paddlewheelers, where children had to deal with power sources, gearing, and power-weight ratios without their ever being called that.  We also showed the objects that we made working so they knew what to expect if they got their versions right.

“We used things like art and music for similar reasons. For example,  making your own PVC panpipes or PVC recorder involved science and technology in working out the length of pipe to get the right pitch, and exploring the proportions of paintings, seashells, and flower centres brought in golden proportions and Fibonacci numbers without overtly teaching those as maths.

“We did lots of tricks and puzzles, too. You can deal with a great deal of maths when you dress it up as magic, and children who would run a mile from a maths segment are quite happy to learn how to do a trick that might baffle a parent or two.”

Prof Morrison, and fellow Curiosity Show host Deane Hutton, have enlisted the help of digital media agency Enabled Solutions to aid in the process of uploading the segments to the internet. By doing this, the show can benefit from not only their expertise in cross-platform digital media, but also their links to a number of educational services.

The wide variety of segments and projects available mean that there are a number of opportunities for teachers from all different areas to expose their children to hands-on learning experiences – while giving children an appreciation of the role of science in all aspects of the world around them.

“There are lots of art, language, maths segments which touch on science and technology (e.g. origin of “knots” and “log” which come from sailing ships; origin of sayings like “red herring” and riddles like “which came first, chicken or egg?” These all have science in their explanations.

“We were aiming at upper primary levels, where crossover in the curriculum is very much to be encouraged so that the artificial divisions imposed by curriculum areas are not introduced too soon for children to see how science connects to everything.

“Some art segments use maths (Golden mean) while others, such as simple lithography, work because of the ability of water to repel oil, and that allows limestone printing. This joint mix of science within other areas is important.  Other segments, such as those in the “Make and Do” playlist, offer things to build or do that are more overtly science or technology, but good fun to play with as well.

“We also had a series, and there are some of these segments in there, called “CURIO” in which we show some ancient or obscure bit of technology, ask kids to guess what it is and then explain it. It is a window into technology of the past (old mining devices, ship’s candle-holder, miner’s spider etc).

“We strongly believed, and still do, that children obtain a huge amount of incidental learning by making and doing things. It is worrying to see so much of childhood now involves not hands and fingers making things that work, but two thumbs to control a virtual, X-Box world.”

ACT Event: New media: what do audiences want and how can communicators add value?

29 November 2011
6:00 pmto9:00 pm

Join the Australian Science Communicators and CSIRO Discovery for this event discussing the changing face of communication with four dynamic new (and social) media experts.

From Twitter to Facebook to YouTube to Government 2.0, this event will be an interactive session covering successes, failures, insights and trends in new media. Learn why it’s critical that communication professionals understand new media opportunities and pitfalls and explore what the future holds.

Our panel features:

  • CHRIS CASSELLA: Managing Director of ScienceAlert
  • DEREK MULLER: filmmaker, educator and founder of video blog Veritasium
  • WILL GRANT: from ANU and social media researcher
  • CRAIG THOMLER: government 2.0 advocate

Following our thought-provoking panel discussion we will run the ACT branch AGM (see below)

When: Tuesday 29 November

Time: 6pm start with drinks & nibbles

Where: CSIRO Discovery Optus lecture theatre, Clunies Ross St, Black Mountain, ACT (map and parking info)

Cost: free. Evening also features a lucky door prize for an ASC member attending the AGM.

RSVP and enquiries: asccanberra AT Check out ACT ASC on Facebook and feel free to ask questions to our panel here!

More on our panel


Chris Cassella

Chris Cassella, Managing Director of ScienceAlert Pty Ltd, is an ex-Microsoft programmer and failed neuroscientist. He partnered with Julian Cribb in 2007 to revamp the ScienceAlert website for his Master of Science Communication degree at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. He is a strong proponent of Facebook as a platform to ‘inspire and engage’ the world with science.

ScienceAlert reaches over a million people a month between its website and Facebook page. With over a half a million fans, ScienceAlert is the most popular science news site on Facebook and has more fans than news icons like The Wall St Journal, TIME magazine, The UK Financial Times, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post.

Web:,, Twitter: @sciencealert


Derek Muller

Derek Muller is an Australia-born, Canadian-raised filmmaker and educator. He completed his PhD at the University of Sydney on how to design multimedia to teach physics. Putting this research to use, he created the science video blog Veritasium at the beginning of 2011. He has made over 70 short films which together have been watched millions of times. Derek also lectures at UTS, teaches at Matrix Education, and presents for Catalyst on the ABC.

Twitter: @veritasium,,,,,


Will Grant

Will Grant is a lecturer and researcher at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. His research and writing has focused on the intersection between science, society and politics, and how this intersection is changing with new social technologies.

Twitter: @willozap,



Craig Thomler

Government 2.0 Advocate with over 15 years experience in early-stage companies, Craig joined the public service in 2006, focusing on improving public governance through strategic use of digital technologies. Recognised internationally as a leader in the field, Craig speaks regularly on Government 2.0 strategy and practice and blogs at

Twitter: @eGovAU, @craigthomler

The ASC Canberra AGM – please attend, we need a quorum to proceed!

Are you a proactive member wanting to be part of shaping ASC? All positions on the committee are genuinely open. The committee’s main responsibilities are organising networking and professional development events for ASC members in Canberra and supporting and shaping the national activities.

1. Confirmation of members attending, apologies, proxies.
2. Confirmation of the Minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting
3. Tabling of treasurer and president reports
4. Nominations sought for office bearers (those in bold mandatory). Where more than one nomination, vote by members in secret ballot (nominees leave the room).

  • President
  • Vice-President
  • National liaison position (this position can be held as a dual-role by President, Treasurer or Committee member)
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Rest of committee (Brains Trust)

5. Any other business
6. Close meeting

Please register your interest in being a committee member by emailing ‘asccanberra AT’ before the meeting.

If you cannot attend the meeting, please send a proxy vote via email as we need a quorum (20% of current member numbers or 20 members, whichever is less).

Being on the committee is a great way to build your professional network, get event management experience and learn new skills. And the committee has been known, of course, to enjoy catching up often for breakfast or over a beer.

More information about the ASC Canberra Committee can be found at: