Spooky Science Competition!

Spooky Science Competition!

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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 info@inspiringtheact.org.au

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.

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Pint of Science Canberra 2017 – We Need You!

Pint of Science Canberra 2017 – We Need You!

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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!

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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.

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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 pintofscienceau@gmail.com 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

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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!”

 

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.

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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.

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

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

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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:

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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.”

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.