Pre-National Science Week Mixer – Victoria

Have you got an upcoming event to spruik as part of National Science Week? Or maybe you’d like to hear about the events happening in your area?

Join the Australian Science Communicators Victorian branch and other science-enthusiasts for an open mic and networking night. We’ll open the floor to National Science Week event-holders who’ll share what they’ve got planned for the big week ahead. There will also be door prizes up for grabs.

If you’d like to talk about your event in 1 minute on the night, please contact us via the link below. If you can’t make it along, we’ll be happy to show your promotional material.

Event review: Canberra’s deadliest air disaster re-examined

Thank you to Melissa Snape, Secretary of the ACT branch, for providing this event review.

With the 73rd memorial of the Canberra Air Disaster fresh in the minds of those who attended the crash site at Fairbairn Pine Plantation (near the Canberra Airport) just a day before, the ASC-ACT branch brought in the experts to delve into the mystery surrounding this historic episode – with a bit of a science twist.

The sell-out National Science Week event was held in the Japan Theatre at Questacon on August 14 and gathered a diverse crowd of local eye witnesses, aeronautical enthusiasts, relatives of the deceased and detectives at heart – and thrilled them all with never-before-seen in public footage of the wreckage (filmed within hours of the crash), a lesson in state-of-the-art forensic techniques by Mardi Southwell (AFP Forensic Science Team) and an in depth interview with Mr Andrew Tink, local expert and author of ‘Air Disaster Canberra: the plane crash that destroyed a government’.

A close re-examination of the fatal event, which killed ten people in total (including 3 war time government ministers), uncovered evidence indicating that Air Minister Fairbairn (and not the experienced RAAF pilot Bob Hitchcock) may have been flying the plane when it met its fiery destiny. Tales were also told of the charred bodies of victims being misidentified as smouldering stumps and improper collection and documentation of evidence resulting in the true nature of the tragedy being shroud in mystery forever.

To add our science twist, Mardi then gave a fantastic presentation briefing the audience about how forensic scientists in 2013 would approach such a scenario and what techniques are available to us now that were not in 1940.

The evening was rounded off by competitions for prizes (including two signed copies of Andrew’s book), a bite to eat and a glass or two to drink – all on the house. We only hope that those attending had as much fun as we did hosting.

Want to see what we go up to?

  • Short video clip produced by Alex Harrod (played at the event) – click here
  • Photos of our event taken by David Wong – click here

We also had a massive amount of local media attention surrounding the event including TV, print and radio interviews. Also, two days after our event the ABCs 7.30 report even got on the band wagon and did a story about the Canberra Air Disaster- see the link here which mentions our society.

The ASC ACT Branch would like to thank those who helped make the event a major success:

  • ACT Branch of the Australian New Zealand Forensic Society
  • Questacon
  • Inspiring Australia
  • ACT National Science Week committee
  • ACT Government

Event review: i Heart music.

Thank you to Nolanne Chang for providing us with the i Heart music event review.


“Don’t worry, you do have a heartbeat,” the technician says. “I’m just trying to figure out where to get the best recording from”. I’m at the i Heart Music event at UNSW, getting my heartbeat recorded so that in a few minutes a jazz band can use it as a base line for a new piece of music.

The iHeart Music event was started in 2011 for National Science Week by Derek Williamson, Director of the Museum for Human Disease at UNSW. The aims of the project are to engage in dialogue with a new audience that might not otherwise come to National Science Week events. Heart health is something that is important for all members of Australian Society to be aware of (one Australian dies every 12 minutes from cardiovascular disease). The scope of iHeart Music serves to bring in a jazz and music crowd as well as the more typical science and health aware attendees.

Simon Barker is a leading jazz drummer, and is well known for his improvisation skills. In the setting of the I Heart Music events, he and the Kimnara band take these skills and applies them to music centered around the beat of a human heart. The event is “fantastic” he says, a “great multi-media cross-pollination event”. And not just any heartbeat is used, but the music actually centers on recordings made from the heartbeats of the event’s attendees (no arrhythmias have yet been diagnosed through the event). On the day I visited, not only did visitors to the Human Disease Museum at UNSW get their heartbeats recorded, used for music, and the recordings emailed to them, but the UNSW site was also live-streaming the event to the Victoria Markets in Melbourne, reaching the Sunday morning crowd.

In 2011 and 2012, the I Heart Music event was only held at UNSW. However, this year, with funding from Inspiring Australia, the team from UNSW have coached 13 venues across Australia to host 17 iHeart Music events over the course of several weeks. For most of these venues, the event was fitted into a larger program, for example, as an event in a science center, or as the musical entertainment at a National Science Week dinner (Ballarat).

The airy trumpet sounds waft over the serene keyboard and drums that complement the beat; the beat of a human heart.

4 beats to the bar

70 beats in a minute

3 billion beats in a lifetime

Event review: The David Malin Awards – From Australia to outer space

Thanks to Brigid Mullane for reviewing the David Malin Awards for Scope.

Sydney Observatory is a local landmark, on the harbour near the historic Rocks precinct.  Completed in 1858, it is now part of the Powerhouse Museum, featuring exhibits of the history of astronomy and meteorology, and providing night telescope viewings for the public.

I went there this month to see the winners of the David Malin Astrophotography Awards.  The competition is open to amateur photographers and astronomers across Australia, and is judged anonymously by Dr David Malin, world-famous Australian astrophotographer.

The young man at the desk explained that the images and videos were displayed on two floors of the building, and I started with the upstairs collection. There were deep space photos colour-adjusted with the “Hubble palette” to better display distant objects such as the “Running Chicken” nebula. Romantic shots showed people in the country enjoying a much better view of the stars than we get in Sydney, while eclipses were recorded with photo series that reminded me of Pac-Man. Creative shots included a lone swan’s transit of the moon, and a novel use of the familiar star-trail photo.

There were more pictures downstairs dispersed amongst the permanent exhibits. Apart from the pictures and exhibits inside, there are interesting views of the harbour, city and bridge from the windows and terrace of this charming historic building.

The Malin Awards exhibit is on daily until 20 October, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. If you happen to visit by 30 August, you might take a stroll afterwards along the Cahill Walk to Customs House at Circular Quay. There you will find the micro-nano-atomic exhibit Incredible Inner Space, reviewed here in Scope by Nolanne Chang.

Science Week Trivia Night, Brisbane

13 August 2013
6:00 pmto9:00 pm

The South East Queensland Australian Science Communicators branch has teamed up with the Science Teachers’ Association of Queensland to celebrate National Science Week with a spot of trivia.

Hosted by the Green Beacon Brewery,Teneriffe, and mc’d by the talented Dr Joel Gilmore, the night will be cocktail of good beer, food, science and fun.

Invite your family, colleagues and friends or rock up on the night to join in on the fun.

Capacity is limited, so book your tickets and register your team now at

Ticket prices
Before the night: Members $12, Non Members $17
On the night: Members $15, Non Members $20


  • 6 pm – Doors open
  • 7 pm – Trivia begins
  • 9 pm – Trivia finishes


Yes, there will be plenty of these!

What if I don’t have a team?

Don’t worry. If you don’t have a team, we’ll help you form one on the night. Help us out by arriving a little before trivia begins and we’ll be sure to help you find some friends.


Some street parking is available on Helen Street and in surrounding streets. We suggest you carpool and nominate a designated driver if you are going to drive in.

Public transport

The Brisbane City Glider stops at the CityGlider Terminus at the Teneriffe Ferry, about 100 metres from Green Beacon Brewery. The 393 bus also stops mere metres away at Commercial Rd at Florence Street, stop 13. To find your best public transport options, visit Translink.

Age Restrictions

Unfortunately, this event is for those aged 18 and over only.