National Science Week celebrated with inaugural Science Festival

August 15 / 165

Making ice-cream at the inaugural Science Festival
Making ice-cream at the inaugural Science Festival

 

Crochet, logic, sub-atomic particles and ice-cream were just some of the topics covered in the inaugural Science Festival, hosted by the Faculty of Science.

 

Around 2000 students and staff participated in more than 30 events across the five days of the festival, which coincided with National Science Week.

 

The keynote lecture was given by Margaret Wertheim, an internationally renowned science communicator, who spoke about her passion for taking science engagement to wider audiences and more diverse parts of our society, through initiatives such as the Crochet Coral Reef, which teaches the fragility of coral reefs, the weirdness of hyperbolic space, and of course, crochet.

 

Another big event was the screening of Particle Fever, the award-winning documentary about the Large Hadron Collider. The movie was introduced by Professor Ray Volkas, head of the School of Physics, who spoke about the University’s involvement in the LHC and the discovery of the Higgs Boson, or ‘God Particle’.

 

‘Speed date a scientist’ gave students the opportunity to quiz academics and PhD students about their careers, student experience, postgraduate life and anything else they could think of.

 

Teams of critical thinkers took on the fiendish challenges - and pizza - presented to them by PhD students from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, while the team from the Australian-German Climate & Energy College had the edge in the pub quiz.

 

Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the more popular events in the festival was the liquid nitrogen ice-cream demonstration – and tasting – that Dr Mick Moylan ran on the steps of the Chemistry Building. After a few pours of minus 196 degrees Celsius liquid nitrogen into an industrial strength mixer filled with cream and sugar, and a suitably impressive amount of fog, a delicious, creamy ice-cream was served up to several hundred happy customers.

 

Professor Karen Day, Dean of Science, said the festival was a great opportunity for students to discover more about what goes on in the Faculty outside of teaching, and to have some fun in the process.

 

“It was nice to see our students engaging with the many activities on offer,” she said.

 

“Science is multifaceted. It is important and challenging work, but it can also be surprising, fun and strange, and I think the organisers did a terrific job at representing these many faces.

 

“And I can confirm that the ice-cream was delicious.”

 

Science Festival will return next year.

 

storify.com/SciMelb/science-festival-2015

 

By Daryl Holland

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