Let’s face it – 2016 has been a crazy year around the World; we lost beloved actors, Britain decided it didn’t want to be in Europe anymore and we won’t event start on the global ripple effects of what happened in the States last month.

With the 24 hour news cycle reflecting a fairly dreary year let’s take a moment to refocus on the good stuff happening in our own backyard in Canberra.

In no particular order the science events for 2016 that inspire us!

1. Tourists got their science on for 2016

Photo Melissa Adams via Canberra Times

Questacon topped the 2016 list for Top Tourist Attraction at the Canberra Region Tourism Awards. This is in conjunction with the iconic museum being considered for the Australian version of Monopoly!

2. Canberra’s top minds are working hard to beat cancer!

Photo via ANU News & Events website

ANU Researchers made a breakthrough in the process of DNA repair – which may lead to new Cancer drugs. Watch this space!!

3. Kids got hands on with Science In Action!

Oskar Rug, 10, using the hang gliding simulator. Photo: Rohan Thomson via Canberra Times

Canberra’s Kids hung out with Daleks, tried virtual hang gliding and extracted DNA from strawberries for National Science Week event – Science in Action.

4. For the adults – National Science Week engaged us with chocolate and gin!

Photo: LiliGraphie via Canberra Times

Organisers of Canberra’s National Science Week catered to the adults! The workshops involved 3D printing chocolate moulds and learning the science behind distilling gin!

5. Science collided with the art scene

Photo via Canberra Times

Canberra artist and Questacon educator, Dan Power, won the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize which was on display at the National Archives.  With a background in biology Mr Power communicates his thoughts on conservation and the environment through his art making!

3. Canberra Calling Mars!!

Photo Rohan Thomson via Canberra Times

Canberra received a shiny new antenna to aid in future space missions at Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. ET may finally get enough reception to call home with DSS36!

7. We had some pretty cool visitors in the Capital

Photo AFP via

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin visited the Nation’s capital for Mars – The Live Experience where he was joined by an expert panel to discuss the next hurdles in space travel and the next goal – people landing on Mars!

8. We had some pretty cool science communicators as well!

Photo Eugene Gologursky via Canberra Times

Maybe better known as ‘Hawkeye’ from M*A*S*H Alan Alda popped into the ACT to promote public engagement with science and partner up with ANU’s Centre for the Public Awareness of Science!

9. Canberra scientists worked on delivering a basic human need

Photo via ABC News

 Developing ‘Hot bubble technology’ Professor Barry Ninham and Professor Ric Pashley have developed a cheaper and more efficient way to sterilise water for the millions around the world that don’t have access to clean drinking water. Canberrans making a difference!!

10. Canberra’s scientific girl power heads to Antarctica

Photo Jay Cronan via Sydney Morning Herald

In December nine ACT scientists will head to Antarctica on an all-female expedition aimed to promote women in science and leadership and how they can contribute to a more sustainable future for Earth

11. Canberra received some wholesome brain food

Photo Evana Ho via The Wholesome Show website

Following on from their successfully show Kinda Thinky Science Communication experts Dr Rod Lamberts and Dr Will Grant brought us some fresh perspectives, ripe experts and a platform to get the brain food Canberra needed with their new The Wholesome Show

12. At King O’Malley’s your pint came with a side of science

Via Pint of Science Canberra Facebook page

King O’Malley’s had a full house, full pints and brains full of science for a series of lectures in May held at the pub. Everything from robots, automated cars, brains to gravitational waves were discussed at the sell-out event

13. Canberra’s first Space Camp blasted off!

Photo Ingrid McCarthy via YMCA Space Camp Facebook page

While everyone else was watching the AFL Grand Final – Canberra’s first ever YMCA Space Campers spent the October long weekend doing all things science – from building rockets to Mars Rovers to hanging out in Canberra’s science institutions getting a crash course in science and engineering from the experts

14. Our next generation of Scientists came to Canberra for National Youth Science Forum

Photo via Inspiring Australia

While their schoolmates were enjoying the summer school holidays, this dedicated bunch, heading into Year 12, worked on everything from science, sports to group dynamics in a 12 day program for National Youth Science Forum.


What has inspired you in ACT science this year?

If an event has inspired you contact us via Facebook, Twitter or email!