Sydney Science Trail 2021 is now closed

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The annual program by the Australian Museum, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and other partners is an opportunity for curious kids of all ages and schools to think, talk and experience the science conducted at our organisations – from the study of the natural world and research into the effects of climate change to the exploration of the environmental knowledges of First Nations peoples.

The super-fun online Sydney Science Trail is packed with on-demand activities, kids games and opportunities to learn both at home and in the classroom. Take the trail and be rewarded for what you discover. Complete the science quiz at the end of each level and receive your badge – see how many you can collect!

Join us again next year, when Sydney Science Trail will back and better than ever! Uncover even more opportunities to get up close to the world of science.

Save the date for the next Sydney Science Trail: 13 – 21 August 2022.

Watch Sydney Science Trail on-demand videos

3D bioprinting technology has emerged in the past 15 years as a tool for the generation of human tissues and organs for transplantation and drug testing.

Dr Gentile’s team has developed a technology that uses stem cells isolated from patients together with 3D bioprinters to fabricate heart tissues. In this process, cardiac bioinks are formed by mixing cells with hydrogels that mimic the microenvironment typical of the human heart.

Bioinks are then extruded through the nozzle of a 3D bioprinter that generates viable and functional heart tissues. Currently, 3D bioprinted tissues are used for drug testing and toxicity studies and for disease modelling of heart damage (such as, heart attacks in a Petri dish). Dr Gentile’s team is also testing how to transplant 3D bioprinted heart tissues in a safe way for the regeneration of damaged heart tissues in patients.

Food is essential for life, but the global systems we rely on to feed us have become increasingly complex and industrialised. Sometimes it’s hard to know where our food comes from, what’s in it and how healthy or ethically produced it is.

Paradoxically, as a global community we face major challenges based on both too much food, causing obesity and waste, and too little food, resulting in hunger and malnutrition. Adding to this are long-term questions about the impact of our diets on both human and planetary health. Not to mention the issues surrounding the treatment, transport and slaughter of animals.

Join food and health expert Johannes le Coutre in conversation with journalist Joanna Savill as they explore the future of food. As we take our first tentative steps into the paradigm shifting world of lab-grown and no-kill meat, will 21st century science save the day, or are the solutions to our biggest problems a combination of the old and the new?

Activity on the Sun’s surface creates a type of climate called ‘space weather’. It takes the form of solar flares, coronal mass ejections and bursts of radiation that travel far and wide across the Solar System and beyond.

Space weather reaches Earth too – causing satellite disruption, electrical blackouts and the beautiful aurora – but thankfully our atmosphere and magnetic field protect us from the majority of negative effects. Astronauts however, when they venture beyond this veil, are subjected to extreme radiation. And this remains one of the major obstacles to manned missions to Mars.

Energetic, heavy and highly-charged particles, known as galactic cosmic rays, are extremely difficult to shield in space vehicles and could produce long-term radiation effects including cancer and damage to the nervous and cardiovascular systems. What’s more, unpredictable storms of solar energetic particles may expose astronauts to such high doses they might suffer acute radiation effects.

While the odds seem stacked against us, some of the brightest minds in the world are on the case. Discover more in our two-part lecture, where Sarah Brough, Iver Cairns, and Susanna Guatelli talk all things space weather, astronaut protection and whether we’ll ever make our Mars aspirations a reality.

Hungry for more information on the 2021 National Science Week theme ‘Food: Different by Design? Join us for this panel discussion involving ground-breaking innovators, entrepreneurs and scientists from the food science industry.

Learn more about how technology is shaping the agricultural and food industries, the latest research on the sustainable production and consumption of fruits and vegetables, and better ways of managing food waste and distribution.

Learn more about this fascinating and critical scientific area and have your questions answered by our expert panel.

Human missions to Mars have been identified as a main goal of human exploration by the International Space Exploration Coordination Group in 2013. The roadmap to the human exploration of Mars started with the International Space Station mission about twenty years ago and is envisaged to continue with a human outpost on the Moon and finally with a mission to Mars within the next twenty years.

A human mission to Mars would expose astronauts to serious health hazards, including acute and late risks caused by exposure to cosmic radiation, eventually leading to cancer and death. The design of shielding solutions and of powerful and accurate radiation monitoring systems are subjects of research to facilitate the human exploration of the Solar System.

However, the testing of proposed novel technologies is limited on Earth as there are no accelerator facilities capable to reproduce the complex cosmic radiation field the astronauts would encounter in space. In the past fifteen years, Monte Carlo simulations, capable to describe cosmic radiation interactions in space mission habitats and in astronauts, demonstrated to be an extremely useful tool for radiation protection studies of astronauts.

This seminar will begin with a description of the health hazards in astronauts caused by cosmic radiation and of Monte Carlo simulations for space exploration. The speaker will then illustrate her research in this field aimed to develop simulation tools to improve the prediction of health hazards in astronauts.

Private companies like SpaceX are making great progress in humanity’s ability to access space for exploration or even recreation, with billions of dollars being invested annually on research and development of new technologies. For many space enthusiasts, colonising Mars is the next big step for humanity. However, many ask why would we spend so much money making a new planet habitable when we already have Earth? What would it look like if we focused this investment on the challenges facing Earth? Join our panel of scientists as we debate the need to explore space against the need to protect our home, planet Earth.

This event features Dr Marco Duretto (Royal Botanic Garden Sydney), Dr Jenny Newell (Australian Museum and Annie Handmer (University of Sydney), and hosted by Suzanne Hill (ABC Radio Sydney).

Hear from the panel of incredible women in STEM, and their individual journeys that have brought them to where they are today. Follow their amazing research over their careers and get inspired by their work.

Featuring Dr. Ceri Brenner (ANSTO), Dr. Jen Matthews (UTS), and Stephanie Chen (The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney).

Karl’s fun, inspirational talk will cover five main areas in future careers in science, how this will affect students and become important in their future working lives.

  1. Computer and information technology and how computers will be as smart as we are.
  2. Genetic engineering and how today’s students will ‘live forever’.
  3. Engineering. How we will try to invent things never invented before.
  4. Basic physics. If we get rid of mass, we can travel to the stars at the speed of light.
  5. The environment and what we can do to fix it.

The work of so many scientists has been forgotten in history - hear as our panels talk about who should be in your textbooks, and why they're not there in the first place.

Featuring Prof. Lisa Harvey-Smith (Women in STEM Ambassador), Prof Kris Helgen (Australian Museum), Prof Chris Matthews (UTS) and moderated by Dr Herve Sauquet (The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney).

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