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!



Spooky Science Competition!

Spooky Science Competition!


While we LOVE all things evidence-based, peer-reviewed here at Inspiring the ACT, we are not beyond having a little fun with the seasons! So as part of engaging the Territory’s primary school students with science, Inspiring The ACT is launching a “Spooky Science” competition. Test your knowledge of the science behind Halloween, do a spooky experiment and let us share in your Halloween science – your school could win a Spooky Science prize pack!

  • 1st prize – Candy Chemistry set prize pack
  • 10 runners up – Astronaut Ice-Cream prize pack

To enter:

  1. Play Spooky Science Quizling Quiz and record your score! 
  2. Have a go at dancing-ghosts-experiment and take a photo!
  3. Email with your Quizling score, picture/photo and one sentence on why you like science to

Entries are open from the 24th of October to the 31st of October.

Winners of the Spooky Science Competition prize pack to be announced the 1st of November.

Follow our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or website for the latest news on what’s Inspiring the ACT.

Pint of Science Canberra 2017 – We Need You!

Pint of Science Canberra 2017 – We Need You!



Are you interested in sharing science with the public?

Do you enjoy relaxing with friends at the pub?

If the answer to both is YES, then Pint of Science Australia is for you!

Pint of Science is an international festival that aims to showcase the amazing research of local scientists to the general public in the relaxed venue of the local pub. In 2016, Pint of Science Australia ran in 7 major cities over 3 nights in May. We had events in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney, and Perth.

 For 2017, we want to expand even more to include more themes and even more pubs across Canberra – and we need you!


Events in 2017 will take place from 15-17 May, and will incorporate the following themes:

  • Beautiful Mind (neurosciences)
  • Atoms to Galaxies (physics, chemistry)
  • Our Body (life sciences)
  • Planet Earth (geosciences) and
  • Tech Me Out (engineering, computer science, mathematics).

We are looking for volunteers for various roles:  team coordinators, social media reps and fundraisers. Each team will source out a venue, speakers, and activities for the night.


This is an incredible opportunity to be a part of our ever growing festival so if you are interested in getting involved, please register your interest here or email with what you’re keen to do, tell us a little bit about yourself and how we can best reach you.

Space Camp: Out of this World

Space Camp: Out of this World



Space Campers and their parents at the final awards ceremony


While Canberrans were enjoying the October long weekend, going down to the coast or potentially enjoying the two back to back fairytale grand finals, over forty enthusiastic kids from Canberra and surrounding regions were learning more about the Universe we live in at Canberra’s very first Space Camp.

Space Camp, organised by YMCA and Inspiring Australia, was designed to get kids from grades 6 – 9 engaged with Space-related organisations for an action packed long weekend full of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The long term goal of the inaugural event is to get kids interested in pursuing careers in STEM through the Space industry flourishing in the ACT region.

The program may have already started to fulfil its long term goals engaging students with STEM and the local space industry; Year 8 student Elizabeth Drew, “Loved learning a whole  bunch of new things including robotics and seeing what’s around Canberra space related”. Elizabeth could also see herself in science after school, “doing something space related after doing this camp.”


Space Campers tinkering at Questacon where they designed their own Mars Rover landing modules

Students had an action packed long weekend learning everything from programming basics, to drone flying and even building their own Mars rovers. Year 7 student Mitchell Schmidt said he was excited to come to Space Camp as he was “interested in meeting the astronaut and learning about drones and robotics” as he wants to go into engineering or robotics after school.


Skyping former NASA astronaut, now Boeing employee, Chris Ferguson

The success of the event could also be attributed to the dozen University students, from a variety of academic backgrounds, who also gave up their long weekend to help organisers keep the kids engaged and to assist in the activities across the four day event.

Volunteer Annabelle Nshuti, who is studying a Bachelor of Science at ANU, has loved Space since she was in grade one and wished they had a program like this when she was in school. Annabelle loved, ” the UNSW event where we had to help plan a mission to Mars! I absolutely loved the inter-activeness of camp breaking down difficult concepts.”


The Virtual Reality of the Solar System was a massive hit with students and volunteers alike with one Space Camper exclaiming, “Virtual Reality was my favourite thing  – in virtual reality you got to walk inside the Sun and touch Planets! I even compared Mt Everest and Empire State building on Mars as well as the Mars Grand Canyon compared to ours – it’s 20 times bigger!

Man behind the Virtual Reality set-up Migara Liyanagamage from OzGuild, a local Canberran start-up, said “I’m excited about helping the kids explore the Planets and get them excited about Space – especially using new technology”.

Event organisers attributed much of the success from the engagement with sponsors and institutions around the Canberra area who enthusiastically got on board to show the students exactly how exciting Space can be – especially in Canberra.


Sponsors included the YMCA, Boeing & Geospatial Intelligence and Defence Science and Technology Group as well as organisations that supplied their time and expertise. This includes but was not limited to Mt Stromlo Observatory, Canberra Deep Space Network, UNSW Canberra, Canberra Innovation Network, Questacon , Canberra Rocketry Group, Canberra Portable Planetarium, MSATT teaching telescope  and The Creative Element Team to help get Canberra’s next generation of scientists excited about Space.

Event organiser, Ingrid McCarthy from Inspiring Australia, was very pleased with success of the event, ” We had happy parents, excited sponsors, engaged volunteers but most importantly inspired kids! We will definitely be using the feedback from this camp to build on the success of the event for 2017!”


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!