The Science of Flowers

The Science of Flowers


It’s Canberra, it’s Spring time and that can mean only one thing – Floriade!!

Floriade is Canberra’s Spring time event where organisers attend to over one million bulbs and annuals to bloom in spectacular fashion in beautiful patterns.

This year Floriade is held between September 17th to October 16th with the theme for 2016 – ‘Reflection’ which will be portrayed in the garden beds and entertainment.

Inspired by the Canberran event and the season, Inspiring Australia has teamed up with mobile app Quizling to bring you a little extra science this Spring.

Quizling is an educational mobile app that teams up with museums and institutions to bring educational and engaging quizzes to life!

In a test of the user’s speed and academic accuracy you can race your friends to find out who knows the most about our flower friends!

Test your knowledge about our flower friends before checking them out at Floriade by clicking here!




Learning to Love the Weirdness at the Micro Level: Quantum Science Coming Soon in ANU Public Lectures.

Learning to Love the Weirdness at the Micro Level: Quantum Science Coming Soon in ANU Public Lectures.


Is the cat in the box? Is it not in the box? What chance does the cat have of being in the box? Dr Peter J. Riggs will be taking his audience on a journey of accepting the uncertain nature of the world in his public lecture series at the ANU on Quantum Science.

Following on from his previous lectures on topics such as time travel and the Big Bang, Dr Riggs will be engaging a Canberra audience with a new lecture on the oddities of Quantum Science at the Finkel Theatre ANU at 6:30pm on the 21st of September.

What is Quantum Science? Quantum science aims to describe some very strange behaviour of the world around us at the micro level. In classical mechanics an object has a specific place and a time – therefore ‘The cat is in the box now.’

Quantum science tips what is certain on its head where objects exist on a scale of probability of being at point A or B – for example ‘The cat is in the box, the cat is not in the box?’

“Quantum Science has many unanswered questions regarding the nature of reality at the smallest scale. I find this the most interesting aspect been trying to find answers to these questions,” comments Dr Riggs.

Dr Riggs, a physicist and philosopher at the ANU, is enthusiastic about getting Canberra engaged in physics and knowing what research is being done in their backyard.

Here in Canberra (at ANU) some of the best research into quantum science in the world is done,” says Dr Riggs.  “This cutting edge research is not only giving us insights to the quantum level of reality but will result in new technological advances as all our modern technology, like computers and iPhones, work because of quantum science.”

The public lecture series is part of science outreach Dr Riggs enthusiastically brings to his Canberra audiences.

Canberra is a well -informed community that likes to know what’s happening…people should be rightly proud of ANU’s on-going contribution to this field. At the personal level, I also enjoy the interaction with the public and am always pleased to see their interest,” says Dr Riggs.

If you would like to attend Dr Riggs’ lecture it will be held from 6:30 – 7:30 at the Finkel Theatre John Curtain Medical Research Centre ANU on the 21st of September entry is free and members of the public welcome.

What Can You Do With Play Dough? Canberra’s Smallest Scientists Making Robots for National Science Week.

What Can You Do With Play Dough? Canberra’s Smallest Scientists Making Robots for National Science Week.


Canberra’s scientists in the making had some extra fun experimenting with play dough, electronics and robotics in Ohm Innovation’s workshops for National Science Week.

Children and their excited parents had ‘hands-on’ learning about robots and electronics through play on the 13th of August at the CBR Innovation Network building.

Parents and their children, working in teams, put their knowledge and skills to the test putting the fundamentals of robotics and electronics into their creative designs.

Children used play dough moulded into shapes or their own design, with circuits and even household odds and ends like toothbrushes in their electronic creations all the while learning about their robotic constructions.


Event organiser Mr Arvind Ramana was thrilled with the enthusiasm from Canberra’s children and their parents.

We were overwhelmed by the interest and awareness that the kids demonstrated, says Mr Ramana. “There were families who travelled over 70Kms for the workshop, kids who brought in their own kits to add to our circuits and one kid, who in spite of a broken leg, limped his way to the workshop. He was obviously in pain – but his quest to learn was admirable.”

Interest in the workshops for National Science Week was so high, that organisers needed to allow extra room for the keen walk-ins who were unable to book online for the sold-out event.

Due to the success of the event, organiser Ohm Innovations is considering running the workshops on a regular basis potentially working with play groups and schools to bring their fun and innovative robotics to more of Canberra.

‘Electronics with Robots and Play Dough’ was part of a series of events for National Science Week aimed as igniting people’s imaginations with science and interested in how they can engage with science.


Choc Tops, Popcorn and  Science for National Science Week in the ACT

Choc Tops, Popcorn and Science for National Science Week in the ACT


Movie-goers got more for their admission at Palace Electric Cinema for National Science Week as patrons were treated to Sci-Fi films, choc tops, popcorn and Q&A with scientists in the field.

“Science at the Movies” featured blockbuster thrillers I-Robot, Martian and Interstellar at the niche cinema in New Acton followed by discussion with panels of experts including:


The ACT National Science Week Coordinating Committee who organised the three movie nights, encourages Canberrans to ‘Ignite your Imagination’ for National Science Week – using feature films to get people engaged with science and scientists in the community.

One of the event organisers, Ingrid McCarthy, was pleased with the number of Canberrans who came to the event across the three evenings, said “The movies are a great platform to get people thinking about science in a new light, it’s fantastic to see so many people engaging with events across National Science Week.”


The three feature films chosen for Science at the Movies tie in well with National Science Week’s school theme of “Drones, Droids and Robots” each film showcasing how interest in STEM subjects could translate to greater jumps in technology in the future.


Attendee of the event Caitlin Miller remarked,

“It was really interesting to hear the discussion from the panel after the movie – to hear the real world scientist’s take on Sci-Fi fantasy – that fantasy might not be that far in the future!”


The event, as part of National Science Week 2016, was held from the 13th to the 21st of August, encouraged people to go out and engage with science in their local community through a variety of events held across the country.


Event organisers for National Science Week were also keen to show that events are not just for the school kids with a range of activities for adults including a variety of 18+ events such as “Whisky Business”.

National Science Week in the ACT hosted a range of interactive events including making your own wearable tech, 3D printing your own chocolate mould and even a little bit of physics in the pub.

Canberrans, with a large number of scientific institutions in their backyard, were spoilt for choice with events to cater to everyone across the week, setting that bar high for National Science Week 2017.

Science in Another Frame: An Evening Where Science and Art Meet.

Science in Another Frame: An Evening Where Science and Art Meet.


Canberra’s artists, scientists and enthusiasts of both swapped perspectives for an evening of interdisciplinary discussion at The Science Hidden in Art event, held at ANU in May.

Over 100 attendees with scientific and artistic interests were treated to an evening of interactive discussion at the ANU Acton campus in a student led event.

Enthusiastic guests actively engaged in discussion about art and science with one guest commenting,

“I like that there were artists and scientists talking about disciplines outside what they usually would – it was good to see that connection.”

 Speakers included Dr Tim Brooks, an ANU lecturer in both Visual Arts, Engineering and Computer Science who spoke about Markov Chains in Visual Arts and Dr Mark Edwards who spoke about Visual illusions from his background in Engineering and Psychology. Professor Paul Francis, another guest speaker, is an ANU Astrophysicist interested in the colours and sounds of the universe.


Other speakers included Jessica Herrington, an ANU Masters student studying visual neuroscience interested in ‘image texture’ – how the brain process different images, as well as Erica Seccombe, a visual artist who has worked with the ANU Department of Mathematics since 2006 creating stereoscopic projection installations from ‘volumetric data’.

Students from ANU’s Centre for the Public Awareness of Science ran the event using a grant from Inspiring Australia which they affirmed added to the success of the evening providing catering and other supplies needed to make the event a hit.


Patrons praised the informal structure of the event,

Discussion between speakers and audience was facilitated by food and ample space, lowering barriers between audience members and speakers”.

This event was part of student’s assessment for the semester, as they are required to learn practical skills in communicating science including event management where they take science to the general public.