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Entertainment, Science

Beer science; dog happiness; psychedelics; animal sounds; and the battle of the drag scientists

National Science Week 5 mins read
SCOPE for National Science Week

Thursday 17 August

Highlights from day six of National Science Week

Researchers, experts, and other interesting people available for interview around the country.

TAS: Experimental beers with three independent breweries and two thirsty scientists.

NSW: The Drag Experiment: meet the people who are scientists by day and drag performers by night.

NSW: Could psychedelics unlock the answers to managing complex mental health issues? Ask the experts.

Online (VIC talent): Is your pet stressed, bored, or lonely? Dog happiness and mental health.

SA: Can we innovate creativity?

SA: Archaeology in space and on Earth in a changing climate.

QLD: A science fair for sick kids in Brisbane’s Children’s Hospital.

NSW: Marshmallow bazookas, a leaf-blower levitated basketball, and explosive liquid nitrogen in Goulburn.

TAS: Citizen scientists wanted to investigate microplastics.

NT: Young Territorians compete to take the best micro-photos.

National: Squawk versus croak! Last day to vote in the search for Australia’s Favourite Animal Sound.

Read on for more on these, including direct event contact details.

Also today:
Coming up tomorrow:

A heat-wave warning signal; Blade Runner; raising the dead; and a giant inflatable poo palace – see a preview of Friday’s highlights.

National Science Week 2023 runs from 12 to 22 August.

Visit to find more stories in your area.

Media centre here. Images for media here.

General Science Week media enquiries: Tanya Ha: or 0404 083 863

More about the event highlights

Experimenting with beer – Hobart, TAS & online

Three Australian breweries will craft both a control and an experimental beer. These beers will be exactly the same except for one experimental difference, which will highlight the incredible sensory shifts that science can have on beer.

Hear about the science and taste the difference with beer-loving scientists Kelsey Picard and Matthew Fielding.

Audience members can join the live event in Hobart or join watch-parties across Australia as they delve into the science of brewing. Science and beer nerds from across Australia can also pre-order the beers to enjoy at home while watching the event live-stream.

Thursday 17 August:

Media enquiries: Matthew Fielding, or 0417 167 618.

Kelsey Picard and Matthew Fielding are available for media interviews.

Scientists in drag battle – Ultimo, NSW

Scientists by day and drag performers by night. Meet the performers mixing scientific concepts with drag. Who will be crowned the ‘ultimate drag scientist’?

Hear from host, ‘bimbo biologist and flaming homosexual’, Dr Naomi Koh Belic, along with:

  • Radha – culinary scientist
  • Milton MANgo – a country bloke who cracks a whip (Lee Constable of The Conversation and Scope)
  • ‘gaysian empress of Sydney’, Dyan Tai with a live music experiment
  • Diva Attenbra – wildlife biologist at UNSW, drag performer and comedian who can talk about gay animals.

Thursday 17 August:

Media enquiries: Dr Naomi Koh Belic or 0422 213 119.

Psychedelics: from ‘magic’ to medicinal – Kensington, NSW

Could psychedelics unlock the answers to managing complex mental health issues?

Discover how psilocybin, ketamine and MDMA are revolutionising the future of mental health treatments.

In Australia there are psychedelic trials taking place and psilocybin and MDMA will be available for prescription by authorised psychiatrists for the first time. Ketamine has recently being approved for severe depression.

Could new psychedelic treatments revolutionise the way the psychiatrists treat mental health, or has the Therapeutic Goods Administration jumped the gun?

Join UNSW research fellow and psychiatrist Dr Adam Bayes, Emeritus Professor Wayne Hall and others as they unpack the stigma, the myths, the benefits, and the path forward in a conversation chaired by the ABC’s All In the Mind host, Sana Qadar.

Thursday 17 August:

Media enquiries: UNSW Centre for Ideas, or 02 9065 0485

Dog happiness and mental health – Online

Is your dog stressed, bored, or lonely?

Join University of Melbourne animal welfare scientist Dr Mia Cobb as she unveils the secrets behind canine happiness and decodes a brighter future for dogs and the practical applications to improve dog welfare.

Discover how interdisciplinary animal welfare research is helping dogs to live their happiest lives, alongside their humans.

Thursday 17 August:

Media enquiries: Vanessa Williams, or 0422 261 937.

Q: Can we innovate creativity? – Adelaide

Creativity: are you born with it? Or can it be cultivated?

Ask a panel of artists and experts, including:

Dr Sarah Neville, Artist and Practitioner, whose research is in the area of the transmission and transfer of embodied knowledge in immersive digital simulation environments.

Alex Degaris, Artist, who is researching creative collaboration in virtual environments. Their work Traces of You is on display at MOD. as part of the FLEX exhibition.

Maria Vieira, Lecturer in Education Futures and PhD Candidate in STEM at UniSA. She is passionate about delivering innovative education experiences that cultivate creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills in STEM.

Thursday 17 August:

Media enquiries: Lisa Bailey, or 08 8302 6663.

Archaeology in space and on Earth in a changing climate – Unley, SA

Ask two very different archaeologists from Flinders University about finding unmarked graves, how climate change has impacted human history, and why the Moon is an archaeological site.

Alice Gorman is an international leader in the field of space archaeology and the author of the book Dr Space Junk vs the Universe.

Ian Moffat is an archaeological scientist using geological techniques to examine the effect of climate variation on human evolution.

Thursday 17 August:

Media enquiries: Kristie Beatson, City of Unley Libraries, or 08 8372 5100. Flinders University media enquiries: or 0427 398 713.

Queensland Children’s Hospital STEM Fair: bringing science to sick kids – South Brisbane, QLD

The Queensland Children’s Hospital STEM Fair brings National Science Week to patients, students, their siblings and parents. Featuring:

Thursday 17 August:

Media enquiries: Dr Anita Milroy, or 07 3365 2846

Science you can do at home…and some you really shouldn’t! – Goulburn

Dr Graham has some DIY science experiments you can try at home – and a few you definitely should not!

From marshmallow bazookas to leaf-blower levitated basketball, to grown-ups holding explosive liquid nitrogen, Dr Graham can talk about classic science phenomena, and his brand-new experiments.

Dr Graham is available for media interviews.

Thursday 17 August:

Media enquiries: Graham Walker, or 0438 640 733.

Citizen scientists wanted to investigate microplastics – Launceston, TAS

Is it sand or microplastics?

Discover what plastics can be found in beach sand, alongside other typical beach materials such as shells, and organic matter.

This activity will have participants learning about the source of microplastics and their impact on our marine ecosystems.

Thursday 17 – Saturday 19 August:

Media enquiries: Maddie Brough,

Young Territorians compete to take the best micro-photos – NT-wide

Discover the tiny wonders of the Territory with 60 smartphone microscope converters, 30 remote and rural schools and libraries, and hundreds of science-curious students.

SCOPE is a photomicrography (the art of taking photos through a microscope) competition, giving Territorians the opportunity to explore the tiniest details of the Territory.

The smartphone microscope converters will be distributed to remote and rural schools and libraries, giving kids the opportunity to explore the world of minutia around them and share their experiences with the whole of the Northern Territory.

The competition is running in early primary, upper primary and secondary school categories, with selection of the best photos will be displayed online and in an exhibition at the NT Science Week Awards at George Brown Botanical Gardens in Darwin.

Monday 14 - Sunday 20 August:

Media enquiries: Sarah Sutcliffe, or 0498 578 030.

What is Australia’s favourite animal sound?

Do you love the summer night sounds of cicadas? Or the outback howl of dingoes? Are you intrigued by the lyrebird’s mimicry or the mating croaks of frisky frogs?

The search is on to find our most-loved Aussie animal sound. This National Science Week, ABC Science wants people to go online to eavesdrop on the animal kingdom, explore the wonder and science of bioacoustics, and vote for their favourite call of the wild.

Twenty-eight different animal sounds have been selected by ABC’s resident nature-lovers in consultation with scientists so that people can get to know our local tweets, howls, bellows, barks, chirps, croaks and calls, and vote for their favourites.

Monday 31 July – Friday 18 August:

Media enquiries: Laura Boland, or 0408 166 426.


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