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Posts Tagged ‘Queensland Museum’

The World Science Festival descended for its second year on our gorgeous sub-tropcial city. Day One of my volunteering at the Festival included – 

  • A stint at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) for the Cancer Crusaders Apprentice Program where high school kids, in an educational lab, observed cancer cells through a microscope &  the effect of chemotherapy drugs on these cells. We watched time lapse videos where non-cancerous and cancerous cells containing the green fluorescent protein went through stages of cell division (mitosis). We could see the chromosomes aligned in the centre of the cells & then pulled towards the edges as the cell prepared to split in two. Amazing!! 
  • Helping out at the Queensland Museum on an interactive display for kids on the three major factors effecting the health of the Great Barrier Reef – increase temperature, land clearing and increased rainfall. Using wii technology kids moved their hands clockwise and anti-clockwise to  change these factors and got to see first hand on a big screen the effect on a coral reef and its animal inhabitants 

Between my shifts I spent sometime at the Museum checking out various exhibitions, including the Hatchery, an exhibition of some of the Museum’s most prized collections, and a multitude of natural history displays. The Hatchery is a display where the public can view Loggerhead turtles emerge from eggs and newly emerged loggerhead and flatback hatchlings swimming in aquariums.  And this year they had Moon jellyfish (baby turtle food) on display in illuminated aquarium – so beautiful! I was in awe. Then I ventured on to look at the prized collections, which included an extinct gastric brooding frog (wow!!!), an exhibit of fossils unearthed from Geebung (north Brisbane) a few years ago (I blogged about it here)(very cool to see fossils of animals that lived in the area 50 million years ago), then on to displays of insects, birds, mammals, live green snakes, rainforest geckos, giant burrowing cockroaches and giant stick insects. 

Phew! A fun and educational day! 

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I was reading an email last night from the Australian Science Communcators, and I was excited to find out that the World Science Festival will be coming to Brisbane in 2016. The Queensland Museum will host the Festival for three years in Brisbane, and it will be the first time the Festival has been held outside of New York City. My brain has already wondered what the program for the Festival will hold – theatrical and comedic performances and academic talks on all things science. A science festival for adults! Yes! I have an avid interest in making science fun for adults. Science centres don’t don’t draw my interest that much as the exhibitions are aimed towards children). Celebrating science, making it fun, and using multiple communication channels to represent science, scientists and contributions to society, medicine and knowledge is one of the pinnacles of science communication practise for me. In one of my science communication courses taken last year I made an 8 min podcast about science cabaret and making science fun for adults. I interviewed a physicist-science communicator who sung songs about science, and a local Queensland band (the Ragtag Band) who were performing a series of cabaret shows (called Do It For Science) featuring songs about science and burlesque performers. 

And just to spark my interest even further (and get me into fangirl mode), Alan Alda who played Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H (one of my favourite shows) will be at the Festival!! Alan is on the Board of the Festival and has been an advocate for science literacy and science communication. He was also instrumental in setting up the Alan Alda Center for Commnicating Science at Stony Brook University in the U.S. As described  on the Center’s mission we page, the Center “works to enhance understanding of science by helping train the next generation of scientists and health professionals to communicate more effectively with the public, public officials, the media, and others outside their own discipline.”

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