Bright Sparks in Brisbane

The World Science Festival was founded by American physicist Brian Greene and began in New York in 2008 (Image © World Science Festival New York)

World Science Festival heads Down Under

“Genius is the ability to independently arrive at and understand concepts that would normally have to be taught by another person.”
– Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)

This March, all eyes will be on Brisbane as the World Science Festival heads Down Under for the first time since its conception in New York in 2008. From 9 to 13 March 2016, the Queensland capital will be illuminated with the brightest of scientific minds, bringing renowned physicists, scientists and Pulitzer-prize winners to a festival in celebration and exploration of science.

Presented by Queensland Museum and held across the city in venues like Queensland Performing Arts Centre, QAGOMA, Griffith University’s Conservatorium Theatre and South Bank’s Cultural Forecourt, the five-day event will take science out of the laboratory and onto the streets of Brisbane to showcase the beauty, complexity and importance of science.

Every curious mind – from children to students and adults – will be enlightened by the films, photography, design, theatre and music inspired by science. Highlights include the celebration of Albert Einstein’s 100th anniversary of discovering the Theory of Relativity, in a theatrical performance called Light Falls: Space, Time and an Obsession of Einstein written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Brian Greene and Emmy Award-composer Jeff Beal of House of Cards fame.

The aim of the festival is to showcase the importance of science and inspire young minds (Image © World Science Festival New York)

Hollywood actor Alan Alda of The Aviator (2004) and American TV series M*A*S*H (1972) fame will also be performing a reading called Dear Albert, delving into the great scientist’s personal correspondences and first-hand accounts of his ground-breaking discoveries.

The festival that combines technology with the arts will feature a whole spectrum of topics to enlighten minds, including topics like the study of dark energy, the morality of robots and the possibility of finding alien life beyond our home planet.

There’s also the chance to study the journey of the robotic space probe Rosetta, which in 2004 travelled an incredible 11.4 billion kilometre to chase down the 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko comet, travelling through space at almost 40,000 kilometres per hour.

Young minds will love the Cool Jobs session, where people working in fossil digs, pyrotechnic movie sets or zoo kitchens will talk about their jobs, answer questions and hopefully inspire the next generation of scientists. The Apprentice Program also lets festival-goers work side-by-side with palaeontologists, quantum physicists, marine biologists, art conservationists, robotics scientists and more.

A couple of free events include the MultiGP Australia Drone Challenge, a grueling circuit drone race and a flatback turtle hatching session – which is a species endemic to Australia – whose incubation and hatchlings at the Queensland Museum has been timed with the Festival.

For more stories and photos, check out Asian Geographic Issue 116.


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