Science in the PubTM goes Outback

Some time ago NSW branch of the Australian Science Communicators thought it might be a good idea to discuss science over a beer. The result was Science in the PubTM and this year it 'goes Outback'.  They are out for adventure, traversing the country  with eleven scientists, young and old, and a number of leading science communicators.  They will be travelling on an old Dakota DC-3, will be criss-crossing the outback in May, stopping in town pubs to talk to people about what they do and why they do it. Known as Science in the PubTMgoes Outback, it's a National Science Week event which has been funded by universities, research institutions and the Federal Government, and it's had enormous response from the country towns on the itinerary.

The plane will be visiting Broken Hill, Birdsville, Longreach, Charleville and Bourke. There are mayoral receptions planned, school sessions, fairs - the organisers have been surprised by the intensity of interest in the bush.

The contrast between the scientists - ranging from astronomers and neuroscientists to mathematician and geologists - and the earthy people of the bush interests me. How the bush will react, what interactions may occur, and what impact the experience will have on the cityslicker intellectuals.  The travelling band will be actually staying at the pubs and exchanging stories with people all along the way.

The aim is to bring scientific pursuits into the very heart of popular culture by having scientists meet members of the wider community in the informal setting of the pub - an icon of Australian culture. The
aims are fulfilled by demystifying science and humanising scientists.  We do this by providing access for scientists to the public - and the public to scientists - in a forum of lively debate. This is achieved by:


Dr Clio Cresswell

A mathematician at the University of NSW, she is also a regular guest on the ABC TV's youth science panel show, FAQ as well as Triple J.

Professor Ian Lowe

Head of the School of Science at Griffith University and a regular contributing columnist for The Australian and New Scientist magazine.

Ms Branwen Morgan

A neurobiologist at the Garvan Institute in Sydney, she conducts research into genetic and other medical disorders.

Dr Fred Watson

Astronomer at the Anglo-Australian Observatory and a keen folk guitarist with a playlist of his own compositions.

Professor Ian Plimer

Head of the School of Earth Sciences in the University of Melbourne and the man who took creationists to the High Court for teaching untruths, and lost on a technicality. He is a winner of the Eureka
Prize for the Promotion of Science and author 'Telling Lies for God'.

Dr David Malin

The world's pre-eminent astronomical photographer who has revolutionised the way astronomers image the night sky. Has had whole galaxies named after him.

Dr Noel Tait

An invertebrate biologist at Macquarie University.

Dr Michael Burton

Astronomer at University of New South Wales and leader of a multi-national team conducting astronomy in Antarctica.

Ross Edwards

Composer of the "Dawn Mantras" that were telecast at the dawn of the new millennium from the sails of the Sydney Opera House. Has composed music based on Aboriginal astronomical tales.

Science in the PubTM (a regular event in Sydney) and this special Science in the PubTM goes Outback, are initiatives of the NSW Branch of Australian Science Communicators, an association of science journalists, editors, scientists, publicists and science workers.

'Science in the Pub goes Outback' was only made possible by the generous support of a number of sponsors. The Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR), through its Science and Technology Awareness Program (STAP), and the University of New South Wales Faculty of Science and Technology were major sponsors of Science in the Pub, Science in the Bush, school visits and distance education broadcasts, whilst the U Committee of the University of New South Wales were sponsors of Starry Starry Night (The U Committee is a charitable organisation for the University of New South Wales. Since its inception the group of volunteers have raised more than $2 million for the University. These funds have been dispersed to groups and projects which otherwise would not have been funded).

Other sponsors include:

Financial help also came from a number of the centres for either accommodation, transport or receptions.

National Science Week is organised by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Science Festival and the Australian Science Teachers Association with financial support through the Department of Industry Science and Resources, which is also one of the major sponsors of Science in the Pub goes Outback through its Science and Technology Awareness Program