Get your Einstein on at Brisbane’s World Science Festival
Kicking off this year’s festivities is an exclusive live performance of Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi wonder Close Encounters of the Third Kind, accompanied by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Released 40 years ago, it’s one of the most influential works in cinema history, renowned for beautifully blending science and art into a visual and aural masterpiece.
So, what else can you expect?
Whether you’ve got a budding scientist in your midst or want to open your mind to the wonders of the universe, you’ll find a range of activities and discussions in this year’s line-up that are sure to blow your mind (figuratively, of course).
Check out some of the highlights of this year’s program:
Three words: FREE FAMILY FUN.
Now ain’t that music to the ears?
From The Hatchery where you can see baby Loggerhead Turtles emerge from their eggs to Dr Karl Kruszelnicki’s Q&A sessions for kids (make sure they bring along all of their science-y questions to be answered by the guru himself), there’s a jam-packed line-up of free activities to keep the whole brood happy and the spending at a minimum.
But the piece de resistance would have to be Street Science! – the weekend extravaganza turning South Bank Parklands into the ultimate science playground with more than 40 free immersive events (expect slime, bubbles, explosions, and a whole lotta “WOAHS”).
For budding scientists
Teenagers who see science as so much more than just a high school subject, but a possible career path, will be itching to get back to the books after attending the festival’s Lifelong Learning and Apprentice programs.
Here, they can come face-to-face with world-renowned scientists to learn what it takes to do some of the coolest jobs on earth, and even have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in a discovery project themselves.
For science enthusiasts
Whether you’re interest lies in the outer rims of space or here on Earth, you can’t go wrong with any of the informative discussions on offer, from the highly entertaining ‘Fact or Fiction 2.0’ counting down the top reasons why we use the internet, to main stage conversations like ‘Waste Not, Want Not: Creating a Circular Economy’ tackling global wastage challenges facing humanity.
But despite your preferences, you’ll certainly be kicking yourself if you didn’t book in for the special event of ‘A Sporting Chance: Building the Ultimate Athlete’ ahead of Australia’s biggest sporting event this decade, the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
For science professionals
For those who live and breathe all things science and technology (and want to keep their fingers on the pulse of the latest news and discoveries), keep your eyes and ears firmly on the main stage, where topics such as the price tag of big science and the recent discovery of gravitational waves created by the collision of two distant black holes will be dissected and discussed.
Can’t wait? Start planning now!
What better way to get yourself prepped and primed than to adopt a future-forward attitude and explore Brisbane’s brainy side like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.
Here are best places to dip your toes into the wonderful and weird world of science right in Brissy’s backyard:
All good explorers know that base camp is vital and what better place than NEXT Hotel. Located in the heart of the CBD in the Queen Street Mall, your state-of-the-art room gets the nod for the most advanced traveller in Brisbane.
Armed with your NEXT Hotel app, check-in is as easy as a swipe and click and once you’re in your room it becomes your control centre – manning the gadgets in your room (TV, lights, music, and air-conditioning). You can even order an all-important room service meal via their app to recharge your batteries!
Once you’re settled and familiar with the bells and whistles of your room, you’ll be searching for suitably hi-tech transport. Make like George Jetson to X-Wing in South Bank where you can take part in a 15-minute learn to ride mini segway experience or step right up to a 60-minute adventure tour that zips along the foreshore, Goodwill Bridge and around the Botanic Gardens.
With advanced technology (only the best will do!) and dynamic stabilising systems, you’ll be enjoying a comfortable cruising speed of up to 12km/hour for your exploration of Brisbane’s CBD.
To the museum
Science isn’t all white lab coats and a trip to the Queensland Museum and Sciencentre will test the hypothesis just right. Bringing together a collection of natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement the museum (which also happens to be home to the World Science Festival) offers a mix of permanent and visiting exhibitions that balance fun and education in a one-two punch. Best of all it’s for curious minds of all ages!
Science meets dessert
Learning is hungry work so treat yourself to an above average concoction from Nitrogenie along South Bank‘s Stanley Street Plaza. Experimental is their middle name as these mad scientists combine flavours like condensed milk toffee crunch, salty caramel popcorn and lemon meringue pie before setting them for your eating pleasure with liquid nitrogen.
Test your limits by ordering their signature Nitroburger – an ice-cream scoop sandwiched between two macaroons.
Charles Darwin was onto something when he said that “no one could stand in these solitudes [tropical forests] unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body”. Take your own journey of scientific discovery to the Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha to dabble in an afternoon of recreational forest-bathing or explore the 52-hectare gardens (don’t forget to snap a pic in the tropical bio-dome for maximum Insta-love).
As the sun sets, meander towards Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium for a night show of epic proportions. There’s a regular program of star-lit shows that are best pre-booked for maximum enjoyment and minimum disappointment.
And, if you’re still craving more science than you can get your hands on this side of the Story Bridge, let us share our super bonus round. A short drive (or train trip) to Wynnum to visit the Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre is a must-do for any kids (or kids at heart) interested in conservation and environmental issues. This living building was created to the highest sustainability standards and inspires kids to discover the flora and fauna that make the bay so special and champion it for the future.
Want to explore further afield?
Why not check out these science-riffic adventures to be had outside of Brisbane.
The Noosa Everglades
Kayak through the Noosa Everglades with Kanu Kapers and explore this special wilderness known for its plant, animal and bird life. Who knows, you might uncover a new species!
Stargazing in the country
Everyone knows there’s nothing that compares to seeing the Southern Cross, Orion’s Belt or The Big Dipper from a country sky free of city lights. Kingaroy Observatory gives you just that opportunity with astronomer James Barclay leading your chance to see the Universe up close.
Discover Australia’s wildlife
Take your research to the islands to visit Australia’s largest wild koala colony. If time is tight, pop your curious mind into the Bungalow Bay Koala Village at Magnetic Island, just 20 minutes off the coast of Townsville, to discover more about the fascinating lives of Australian wildlife including saltwater crocodiles, lizards, baby turtles and wombats. Charles Darwin would be proud!
What’s your favourite science adventure in Queensland?
This post was originally published in 2017 and updated on the 29 of January 2018.