Putting research to the pub test
Do you want to know the science behind motorbike clothing, how a fly can frame you for murder or how a circular economy works? Find out at the Pint of Science Festival, where researchers step out from the laboratory to share their discoveries with punters at pubs all around Australia and the world.
Returning next week to Geelong’s Little Creatures Furphy Hall after two years online, the Pint of Science global festival is organised by a grass-roots community of thousands of scientists in more than 400 cities worldwide.
In Australia, the Festival aims to ‘serve science to thirsty minds’, by breaking down stereotypes, building science appreciation and highlighting the ‘amazing science brewing in our own backyards’.
‘Since most research is publicly funded, we aim to build the public's understanding of the research and science happening in their communities by taking the research to them in a way that’s easily accessible,’ says Isabella Bower, Chief of Staff at Pint of Science Australia and a Deakin University PhD researcher in environmental psychology.
This year’s Pint of Science Festival is a hybrid event, with the program featuring national online activities including a live blog, podcasts and radio interviews, and live events in the pubs of 11 cities across Australia.
Deakin researchers are among those sharing scientific discoveries across the Festival’s three nights in Geelong from Monday 9 May to Wednesday 11 May, on topics ranging from why we haven't been able to solve the problem of malaria, to poo transplants, connecting with nature for mental health and the possibility of 3D printing spare body parts. Researchers from Barwon Water are also taking part.
Dr Kathryn Aston-Mourney, Pint of Science Festival City Coordinator for Geelong and a diabetes researcher at Deakin, says the Geelong region has ‘an amazing amount of research’ taking place.
‘Obviously there’s Deakin, but Barwon Health is also a big contributor to research in Geelong, along with CSIRO and Barwon Water, where there is some fantastic sustainability research happening. Our region has so many talented scientists doing incredible work and Pint of Science is an opportunity for the Geelong public to hear about that work in a format that’s more accessible than a paper in an academic journal.
‘It's a fun and engaging night and completely different to a university lecture. You don’t need to know anything about science beforehand, just come along and find out some really cool things.’
Ms Bower says taking research out of laboratories to the public benefits scientists and their audience.
‘I’ve always found as a researcher that audiences at these events ask brilliant questions that offer a completely different take on my work and the impact it might have. I come away with a completely different perspective. It really is the pub test for research,’ she says.
Monday 9 May It's all about the human body: from malaria and protective motorcycle clothing to 3D printing spare body parts with microbiologist Prof. Tania de Koning-Ward, fibre scientist Dr Chris Hurren and biomedical engineer A/Prof. Richard Williams
Tuesday 10 May Clues from nature to help society: from engineering and medicine to solving crimes with PhD student Amelia McGuinness, materials scientist Prof. Luke Henderson and forensic scientists Dr Annalisa Durdle and Dr Natalie Gasz
Wednesday 11 May How to create a more sustainable society: from recreating clothing and green energy to nature in healthcare with Barwon Water’s Dee Orgill and Shaun Cumming, psychologist Dr Megan Turner and circular economy expert Dr Dylan Hegh.
For more information and tickets to the Geelong events, visit pintofscience.com.au/events/geelong
The Pint of Science Festival is also on at venues across Melbourne. Catch Deakin’s Professor Emma Kowal at the First Scientists event at the Plough Hotel on 9 May and Dr Elodie Camprasse at the Royal Melbourne Hotel’s Cute Critters session on 10 May. For more information and tickets, visit pintofscience.com.au/events/melbourne
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The Pint of Science Festival 'serves science to thirsty minds', breaking down stereotypes and building science appreciation.