Sunday, March 5, 2017

World Science Festival Brisbane

World Science Festival is on in Brisbane between March 22nd and 26th 2017.
You can download the program guide here

This event has been advertised as exploring four themes:
  1.  Physics + Space – the study of matter and its motion through space
  2. Oceans – the health of our marine environment and the challenges facing water supply and sustainability
  3. Energy – alternatives, supply and diversification
  4. Robotics – engineering, computers and artificial intelligence.
If you are interested in "chemistry" then the pickings are slim and somewhat grim. Chemistry is, as usual, painted as the evil villain:
  • chemistry kills the oceans as a result of industrialisation (acidification, climate change, plastic pollution) ... but "smart engineering" might be the hero of the piece
  • chemistry kills marine ecosystems as a result of the break-up of plastics into "microplastics", but a panel of leading "environmental thinkers" will be discussing what to do about it
  • chemistry gave us, presumably, "dirty energy"  when we learnt how to control the combustion of fossil fuels, but once again "smarter technologies" will lead to "clean energy" and "revolutionary" technology will make renewable energy more reliable apparently.
 I'm a little uncertain of how, when or why "engineering" and "technology" are seen in such a positive context, while chemistry seems to be painted as the evil sibling out to do as much damage to the environment and society as possible.
Similarly if you want to inspire your female students to take up further studies in chemistry, I don't think you're going to find much motivation here .... while Marie Curie is mentioned along side Jane Goodall (primatologist)  and Mary Jackson (aeronautical engineer), the participants in the discussion are Emma Johnston (marine ecologist), Suzanne Miller (marine geologist) and Kerrie Wilson (ecologist). I may be wrong, but it seems to me that women are well represented in the "marine science" and "biological science" areas.

If you are interested in "physics" then the "Gravitational Waves - A New Era of Astronomy" might be worth the $30-$35 ticket.

And ..... just a reminder .... you only have until 25th April 2017 to visit the Large Hadron Collider Exhibition at the Queensland Museum .... and yes, that is really a worthwhile trip. The exhibition is fabulous!

No comments:

Post a Comment