National Science Week celebrates its 22nd year by raising awareness of critical climate issues and supporting the achievements of scientists in the field (Image Source: National Science Week)
By Simon Delaine | @SimonDelaine1
Do you have an interest in the sciences, but don’t work in the field every day (but sort of wish you did)?
Well, don’t stress because science is for the masses, and National Science Week is here!
As the MythBusters’ Adam Savage once said, “the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down”.
Scientists are the unsung heroes who work away in the background of modern society.
The events of National Science Week, now entering its 22nd year, aim to celebrate the achievements made by scientists past and present.
The program was originally created for school-aged children through the Australian Science Teachers Association, but is now aimed at all demographics, and hopes to increase public enthusiasm in the varying fields of science.
Chair of the South Australian National Science Week Committee Rona Sakkon said the whole idea is to celebrate the diversity of science.
“We want to let people know what scientists are doing out there,” Ms Sakko said.
“We want people to know how science impacts on their everyday lives…and we want to encourage children to get into STEM [Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics] careers.”
Science is not just about building rockets, designing planes and constructing bridges.
There is a field of science to cover every aspect of life, and this is shown in the calendar of events planned for the coming weeks: from neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and how to best look after your pet cat.
Tomorrow, August 13, the University of South Australia’s Magill Campus is hosting an event looking at how shift workers can stay healthy while working odd hours.
If that doesn’t spark your interest, the Adelaide Zoo will also be hosting two of their own events this week at the Santos Convention Centre that same day.
Keepers will explain how they “use scientific methods to understand and enrich the lives” of their animals, and how pet owners can do the same.
Then on Thursday, August 15, they will explain the animal science and welfare research currently being undertaken at Adelaide and Monarto Zoos—from simple record-keeping to other larger, collaborative or opportunistic research—and how the wider community can be involved.
Wine lovers will have two great events to choose from.
On Thursday, August 15, scientists from the Australian Wine Research Institute will be sharing their findings at the Adelaide Convention Centre, where participants can “follow wine production from the vineyard to the mind of the taster”.
Then on Tuesday, August 20, scientists from The University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus will be discussing the changing climate and the challenges this brings to food and wine production: two sectors which are vital to South Australia’s economy.
Climate change is likely the largest and most pressing issue of the current generation and next, and will feature in discussions at several Science Week sessions.
On Tuesday, August 20, Flinders University’s city campus is hosting a talk on the variabilities of our local climate and everything that has an effect on it.
Two climatologists, an associate professor of oceanography, and the State Manager of the Bureau of Meteorology, will be on site to answer people’s questions on this critical topic.
These are just a small handful of the events coming up over the next couple of weeks, but for those keen to continue learning alongside our scientists, there are other events held year-round.
Inspiring South Australia is a government-run strategy aiming to strengthen society’s engagement with the sciences.
One event they hold is “Science in the Pub” where, once a month, specialists briefly present their topics before opening the floor (pub) for questions.
Research Tuesdays at The University of Adelaide is another event where, also once a month, researchers of wide-ranging topics share their knowledge through a one-hour presentation free to the public.
Events like these help the public to have a basic understanding of important concepts and, as science seems to play a larger role in our lives as the years go by, scientific literacy is becoming more and more important.