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Bird brains; raising the dead; the rise of AI; a scabby cartoon; and elemental energy.

National Science Week in WA 6 mins read
Innovation at The Anti-conference

Bird brains; raising the dead; the rise of AI; a scabby cartoon; and elemental energy.

Dozens of Science Week stories around Western Australia

And 5pm TONIGHT photo opportunity at launch event of Science Week in WA

  • The rise of AI: what are the risks and benefits?
  • Finding aliens, love, energy, innovation, and the bottom of the ocean at The Anti-conference
  • Why it’s good to have a bird brain
  • Bringing the dead back to life: Ask a palaeontologist and archaeologist how
  • ‘Scab’: a Microtoons animation bringing microbiology to people with autism
  • Noongar knowledge and elemental energies from earth, air, water and fire
  • Gems and ancient sea fossils: rocks on earth and in space
  • What is Australia’s favourite animal sound?

More on these below and visit ScienceWeek.net.au/events to find more stories in your area.

Scientists, experts and event organisers are available for interview throughout National Science Week.

Direct contact details for each event are below or contact Tanya Ha on tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863.

Media centre here. Images for media here.

Robo-dogs, a 3D food printer, top innovators, and Chief Scientist – 5pm tonight in Perth, the launch of Science Week WA

Interview and photo/filming opportunities at Engineers Australia’s new WA headquarters.

National Science Week kicks off exploring how innovation is powering future industries, with:

  • Replacing plastic with a carbon negative ocean material: Shawn Price, lead engineer from ULUU.
  • A device for monitoring dizziness and vertigo:  Audiologist and WA’s 2022 Innovator of the Year Kate Lewowski.
  • WA's Chief Scientist Professor Peter Klinken.

Where: Allendale Square, Level 10/77 St Georges Terrace, Perth

Event details: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/national-science-week-launch-wa/perth

Media enquiries: Imogen Winsborough, imogen.winsborough@scitech.org.au or 0448 888 938.

National Science Week in Western Australia: highlights

The Rise of AI – Perth

Personalised medicine, efficient workplaces, and self driving cars…

Versus perpetuating biases, displacing human workers, and spreading misinformation.

Explore the potential of AI with University of Western Australia Professor of Artificial Intelligence Ajmal Mian as he examines its benefits and risks.

Ajmal joins Ben O'Shea, host of The West Australian’s news podcast The West Live for a conversation at WA Museum Boola Bardip about the rise of AI.

Thursday 10 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/in-conversation-qa-with-charles-massy/perth

Media enquiries: WA Museum media, media@museum.wa.gov.au or 0466 304 807

Finding aliens, love, energy, innovation, and the bottom of the ocean at The Anti-conference – Perth

  • Exploring ocean depths with Paige Maroni, the deepest diving Australian woman.
  • Is human hair the new fingerprint? Meet the people developing a new technique for human identification by analysing proteins in hair.
  • Can the power of estimation in physics help finding alien life forms in the galaxy or romantic partners in a big city?
  • Debating the best renewable energy sources.
  • How a robot helped construct a part of Murdoch University’s newest building, Boola Katitjin.
  • Marine tech exploring the private lives of mantra rays.

These are just some of the attractions planned for ‘The Anti-conference: Innovation, Inspiration, Intelligence’, along with workshops, quizzes, debates, food trucks and drinks. On at Perth Mess Hall and WA Museum Boola Bardip. Not your typical conference. Open to all.

Saturday 12 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/the-anti-conference-innovation-inspiration-intelligence/perth

Media enquiries: Imogen Winsborough, imogen.winsborough@scitech.org.au or 0448 888 938.

Why it’s good to have a bird brain – Clarkson

Calling someone a “bird brain” is traditionally an insult. But the brains of birds are capable of thinking, communicating, making decisions, acting on information from their environment, responding to changes, and plastically altering their behaviour in amazing ways.

Join three scientists from the University of Western Australia who study cognition and communication in birds.

  • Heat stress and cognition in pied babblers, an arid zone South African bird: Camilla Soravia.
  • Wild Western Australian magpies and whether they can respond to man-made changes:  Grace Blackburn.
  • Meaning from sounds – the ability of humans to create seemingly infinite meaning from a finite set of sounds has been critical for our success as a species: Sarah Walsh

Saturday 12 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/bird-brain-clarkson-library/clarkson

Media enquiries for UWA scientists: Simone Hewett, simone.hewett@uwa.edu.au or 0432 637 716.

Raising the dead: fossils and rock art at Afterlife Bar – Perth

Studying dead things to bring the past back to life is what palaeontology and archeology have in common.

Palaeontologist Professor Kate Trinajstic and archaeologist Dr Sven Ouzman explain the similarities and differences against the backdrop of WA Museum Boola Bardip's Discovering Ancient Egypt Exhibition, joined by host Michael Mills in a live recording of the Palaeo Jam podcast.

  • The world’s oldest heart: Professor Kate Trinajstic is a vertebrate palaeontologist and Research Fellow at Curtin University having recently been awarded an ARC QEII Fellowship “Fleshing out the fossil record” in 2011 to investigate the development of the skeleton and specialised musculature in early vertebrates.
  • Oldest known rock art to graffiti: Dr Sven Ouzman is an archaeologist and heritage specialist working on archaeology, rock art, Indigenous knowledge and intellectual property. This work includes studying some of the oldest known sites of human occupation in the Kimberley at 50,000 years ago; dating the oldest known rock painting in a rock shelter in Australia at 17,200 years old; as well as the contemporary archaeologies of graffiti and homelessness in Perth/Boorloo today.
  • Michael Mills is an award-winning science communicator, script-writer, song-writer, producer, performer, director, podcast creator, and musician.

Afterlife Bar is a pop up bar within the Discovering Ancient Egypt Exhibition.

Friday 18 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/dinosaur-talks-at-the-bar-before-time-2/perth

Media enquiries: WA Museum media, media@museum.wa.gov.au or 0466 304 807 or Michael Mills, michael@heapsgood.com.au or 0411 287 381

‘Scab’: MicroToons animation brings microbiology to people with autism – Medina

From the award-winning makers of Microtoons ‘Pimple’, comes the new animated cartoon ‘Scab’.

People with autism can struggle to engage with science, technology, and art, but when they manage to it can empower them. MicroToons is an animated science cartoon designed to do just that.

MicroToons 'Scab' is based on a short story of cells and nasty microbes, written by microbiologist and ‘My Mad Scientist Mummy’ children’s book author Rina Fu and brought to life by artists with autism under the mentorship of Dr Rina and Red Bird Creative producer Aaron Welch.

MicroToons is a joint effort between Dr Rina, disabilities service provider 4LifeSkills, and animation studio Red Bird Creative. MicroToons 'Scab', a new 3-minute animation, will premiere at a launch event with popcorn, behind-the-scenes insights, and interactive and inclusive science fun for all ages and abilities, including people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

The inaugural MicroToons 'Pimple' - that received eight international awards and screened at over 30 film festivals last year - will also screen.

Friday 25 August. Event details: https://www.scienceweek.net.au/event/microtoons-scab-launch-event/medina

Media enquiries: Dr Rina Fu, hello.microtoons@gmail.com or 0403 139 745.

Scientists and author Rina Fu and producer Aaron Welch are available for media interviews.

Earth, air, water and fire: Noongar knowledge and elemental energies– Hopetoun

Noongar Bush Educator – Belinda Swift, an on-country excursion will go to the Fitzgerald Biosphere and share how and why Aboriginal people used the energy of the earth, bush and fire to survive, find foods and make camp.

She will talk about how humans harness the four elements of nature – Earth, Air, Water and Fire – to produce useful energy. As well as the importance and cultural significance of the area.

People can also make a mini wind turbine or hydroelectric waterwheel in workshops at Hopetoun Community Resource Centre.

Earth: Friday 11 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/elemental-energies-air-element/hopetoun

Air: Monday 14 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/elemental-energies-fire-element/hopetoun

Water: Tuesday 15 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/elemental-energies-water-element-2/hopetoun

Fire: Wednesday 16 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/elemental-energies-water-element/hopetoun

Media enquiries: crc@hopetounwa.com or 08 9838 3062

Gems and ancient sea fossils: rocks on earth and in space – Gascoyne Junction

The ground under Upper Gascoyne contains its geological history and hidden treasures, including gems and ancient sea fossils.

Find out from the experts why Gascoyne rocks!

Rocks found on earth and those found in space: the Perth Observatory explains the similarities and differences.

And take a closer look at the stars and planets in the night sky with Perth Observatory's telescopes.

Saturday 12 August: www.scienceweek.net.au/event/gascoyne-rocks/gascoyne-junction/

Media enquiries: Ainsley Hardie, tcdo@uppergascoyne.wa.gov.au or 08 9943 0988.

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: www.abc.net.au/sounds.

Media enquiries: Laura Boland, laura@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0408 166 426.

About National Science Week

National Science Week is Australia’s annual opportunity to meet scientists, discuss hot topics, do science and celebrate its cultural and economic impact on society – from art to astrophysics, chemistry to climate change, and forensics to future food.

First held in 1997, National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year about 1.9 million people participated in more than 1,650 events and activities. 

The festival is proudly supported by the Australian Government, CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association, and the ABC.

In 2023 it runs from Saturday 12 to Sunday 20 August. Event details can be found at www.scienceweek.net.au.


Contact details:

National Science Week contact: Tanya Ha – tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0404 083 863.

Media contacts for specific events are included in main release.

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