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
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
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:
presenting an opportunity for the broader community to focus debate on
issues in science and direct it through the informed opinions of scientists,
encouraging the promotion of science and scientific discovery as exciting
and enjoyable processes in an atmosphere of fun, without devaluing scientific
providing a relaxed and informal venue for scientists to hone their communication
providing opportunities for young trainee science communicators to refine
their communication and compering skills and to broaden their scientific
knowledge through interaction with eminent scientists,
developing opportunities for scientific collaboration across the disciplines
so that scientists can work together more effectively to bring the plight
of science to the notice of the public and through them, to government.
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
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.
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
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