Monday 18 August, 2014 – National Science Week

Cosmic Connections

Prof Lawrence Krauss, Arizona State UniversityLawrence Krauss 204x251

Internationally renowned physicist and science populariser Professor Lawrence Krauss is coming to Brisbane for an evening of science at a very special BrisScience National Science Week event! His talk, “Cosmic Connections”, will touch on some of the deepest questions of physics, after which Lawrence will be joined on stage by other world-leading physicists – each representing a different field of physics – for a panel discussion driven by questions from the audience. With a cast of experts for you to question at will, this event will cover everything from sub-atomic particles to galaxy superclusters, from the big bang to the death of the universe – and everything in between.

If you ever wondered how the universe works or what makes a physicist’s mind tick then this is an event not to be missed. Prof Krauss’s talks are always sold-out events, so secure your ticket quickly through the details below – the evening will also include complimentary food and drink for a truly cultural experience.

Please note that this is a ticketed event. Tickets can be purchased online.

  • Time: 6:30 – 9:30pm, Monday 18 August. Doors open at 6pm.
  • Venue: The EdgeState Library of Queensland, South Brisbane.
  • Tickets: have sold out.
  • Refreshments: There will be an intermission where food and drink will be served.
  • Questions? For any further information please contact Andrew.

This BrisScience event was proudly sponsored by The Faculty of Science at The University of Queensland
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Thursday 5 June, 2014

An Evening With Dr Michio Kaku

Physics of the impossibleRevolutionary physicist, bestselling author and celebrated broadcaster Dr Michio Kaku is set to enthrall and entertain audiences at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on June 5.

An Evening with Dr Michio Kaku, presented by QUT, will explore the wonder and weirdness of the universe and describe how scientific advances will transform our lives over the next 50 years and beyond. Discover how technologies once considered science fiction are real possibilities – from emotional robots, floating cars and teleportation to mind reading, telekinesis and memory uploads and downloads. Learn the physics behind these improbable endeavours and hear about the scientists working on them right now.

Michio Kaku has written several popular science bestsellers, including The Future of the Mindand Physics of the Impossible, and has hosted or appeared on numerous Discovery Channel and BBC programs.

Michio Kaku is the co-creator of string field theory and is continuing Einstein’s search for the “Theory of Everything”, which unifies the four fundamental forces of nature.

  • Time: 6:30 – 8pm, Thursday 5 June, 2014.
  • Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
  • Tickets: $49 – $159. Tickets on sale through Ticketek
  • Questions? For any further information please contact Amanda.

Monday 25 November, 2013

BrisScience Debate

Join BrisScience and the Australian Institute of Physics to finish off the year with our inaugural Debate on Science. Join us as two of Queensland’s great science communicators battle against two of Queensland’s foremost scientists in a light-hearted debate that will explore what makes “science” science, and seek your help in deciding which is the tougher sell: the age-old theory of gravity, or the cutting edge of climate science?

Please note that this is a ticketed event. Tickets can be purchased online.

  • Time: 7:30 – 9pm, Monday 25 November, 2013
  • Venue: The EdgeState Library of Queensland, South Brisbane
  • Tickets are $10 and available online. Numbers are strictly limited so get in quickly!
  • Questions? For any further information please contact Andrew.

A/Prof Tamara Davis, School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland

Tamara Davis 208x250

Astrophysicist Tamara Davis was raised on a Sydney beach, where she learned that the forces of nature powering the waves are often stronger than the swimmers immersed in them, especially when the swimmers were tourists wearing jeans. After watching the space shuttle Challenger explode when she was a small child, she decided she wanted to be an astronaut – which probably reveals more about her personality than you want to know – but discovering that she was deficient in appropriate citizenship for a career in space, she settled for the next best thing and has spent her career studying it.

These days with the universe as her laboratory, she uses the stellar and galactic experiments that the universe naturally performs to learn about the nature of gravity, spacetime, and our fundamental laws of physics.  She’s part of the Aussie group that made one of the largest ever maps of the distribution of galaxies in the universe, and also used supernovae to detect dark energy by measuring the acceleration of the expanding universe.  Her ultimate aim is to use dark energy to make those hoverboards everybody’s being demanding, because she strongly believes that science shouldn’t let anyone down.

Dr Joel Gilmore, ROAM Consulting

26 - Joel GilmoreDr Joel Gilmore completed a PhD in physics at the University of Queensland in 2007. He then spent two years as a full time science communicator, managing  a group of physics performers that he co-founded in 2002 and doing public lectures, radio and television appearances. In 2008, he joined ROAM Consulting where he is now the Principal of the Renewable Energy & Climate Policy team, providing advice to industry and government on transitioning Australia to a low emissions future.

As a great lover of cooking (and even more so of eating) Joel has begun applying his physics background to understanding food and cooking. In his spare time, he likes swing dancing, theatre sports, travelling (43 countries so far), stand-up comedy, learning new musical instruments and, occasionally, unicyling to work.

Dr Andrew Stephenson, School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland


After studying astrophysics in his undergraduate and honours degrees, Andrew switched focus to studying superconducting plastics for his postgraduate degree and received a PhD from The University of Queensland in 2010. During his time as a student Andrew was very active in science outreach, winning several awards/competitions.

Since the beginning of 2010 Andrew has been working full time as Science Communicator for the School of Mathematics and Physics at The University of Queensland. In addition to organising BrisScience Andrew also runs a science outreach group called the Demo Troupe, which shares enthusiasm for science. Through the Demo Troupe’s outreach tours of regional Queensland Andrew has shared science with kids in every corner of the state, and even took liquid nitrogen to the Simpson Desert.

Prof Andrew White, School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland

Andrew White 197x250Andrew was raised in a Queensland dairy town, before heading south to the big smoke of Brisbane to study chemistry, maths, physics and—during World Expo 88—the effects of alcohol on uni students from around the world. Deciding he wanted to know what the cold felt like, he first moved to Canberra, then Germany—completing his PhD in quantum physics—before moving on to Los Alamos National Labs in New Mexico where he quickly discovered that there is more than enough snow to hide a cactus, but not nearly enough to prevent amusing your friends when you sit down.

Over the years Andrew has conducted research on various topics including shrimp eyes, nuclear physics, optical vortices, and quantum computers. He likes quantum weirdness for its own sake, but his current research aims to explore and exploit the full range of quantum behaviours—notably entanglement—with an eye to engineering new technologies and scientific applications.

This BrisScience event is brought to you by the Australian Institute of Physics.


Monday 13 August, 2012 – National Science Week

The BIG Questions!

For National Science Week BrisScience is presenting The BIG Questions in science! At this special, ninety minute, event you will see not one, but four, scientists present some of the BIG questions in their fields of research! This event will inspire and amaze, and is an evening not to miss!

Global Food Security: What Does it Mean for Australian Agriculture? 

Dr Graham Bonnett, CSIRO

With the global population to reach around 9 billion by 2050 the demand for food will increase by at least 50%. The types of food demanded will also change including an increase in animal products. This level of increase has been delivered in the past by agriculture. In the future more nutrients, water, land and energy consumption, key components of the previous increased productivity, will not be available.  So how will we produce more from less and what will this mean for Australian Agriculture?

Dr Graham Bonnett is an agricultural scientist and currently leads the Advancing Agricultural Productivity and Environmental Health research theme of CSIRO’s Sustainable Agricultural Flagship. Graham received his doctorate, focused on the mobilisation of stem reserves in barley, from The University of Leeds. After moving to Australia 20 years ago, Graham has based himself in Melbourne, Canberra, Townsville and most recently Brisbane, and is keenly aware of Australia’s leading role in world agriculture. Graham was awared the Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship and is currently a member of the Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee (GTTAC) that advises the Office of the Gene Technology regulator.

Personal Genomics: How Long Before Science Fiction Becomes Science Reality?

Dr Emma Huang, CSIRO

In 1997 the movie GATTACA explored a world in which genomic knowledge is ubiquitous, where children are selected based on their DNA, and a person’s genotype can determine their course in life. In 2001, the Human Genome Project was completed, and the price of sequencing a person’s entire genome has dropped dramatically since. While our world is clearly not yet that “not-too-distant future”, genetic information is now easily accessible. But what can we do with it? Is science fiction yet science reality or do we still have a long way to go?

Dr. Emma Huang is a statistical geneticist and research scientist with CSIRO Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics. She received her doctorate in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina in 2007 developing methods to map association between genes and disease in humans. Since moving to Brisbane in 2007, her research has focused on modernizing genetic analysis in crop plants such as sugarcane and wheat. Dr Huang has received numerous awards in her career, including the Reynolds and Fryer Fellowships during her Ph.D. research; the Gertrude Cox Scholarship from the American Statistical Association; and an International Science Linkages Grant from the Australian Academy of Sciences. In 2011 she was awarded the Julius Career Award from CSIRO and a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council to address the need for statistical methods to help produce wheat varieties that will contribute to Australian food security.

Quantum Mechanics: the Dreams Stuff is Made Of

A/Prof Ben Powell, The University of Queensland

Quantum mechanics is often said to describe the physics of the very small, such as atoms. This is the truth, but not the whole truth. As we add atoms to create larger systems, quantum behaviour still exists, and is observed in large, macroscopic materials. However, although we can describe the quantum world of the atom, scientists have discovered new quantum behaviours in large systems, many of which, such as high-temperature superconductivity, are not yet understood. This talk will present the big questions in quantum condensed matter physics, and describe how the answer to these questions will be the basis of a new age of technology.

Ben is an Associate Professor at the University of Queensland. His award winning research focuses on novel quantum effects that happen when many electrons interact with one another. This has led him to study a wide variety of materials ranging from fundamental questions in superconductors and magnets; applied research in organic solar cells and organic light-emitting diodes; and even biological materials and quantum computers. Ben gained both his MSc and PhD from the University of Bristol before moving to Queensland. At UQ he has held two prestigious fellowships, firstly an Australian Research Council (ARC) Post Doctoral fellowship and now an ARC Queen Elizabeth II fellowship.

You from around here? Defining introduced biota and potential impacts in Antarctica

Dr James Smith, Queensland University of Technology

The Madrid Protocol of the Antarctic Treaty prohibits introduction of non-native organisms to Antarctica. This was originally applied to macro-organisms, such as dogs and rabbits. Over time, focus has turned to smaller and progressively more difficult organisms to control and assess, such as insects and seeds. Antarctic operations discharge of often minimally-, or un-treated wastewater into the marine environment has raised the issue of whether associated wastewater/sewage microorganisms constitute non-natives, and what defines non-native at the level of complex, often diverse environmental microbial populations. Dr James Smith will discuss the big questions for Antarctic policy that science is trying to answer.

Prof James Smith completed his PhD in microbiology from Montana State University in 1995 while working at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Dr Smith has worked on applied water, soil, food and air microbiology and chemistry issues in the US, Antarctica, Sweden, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia. He has acted in a research and consulting capacity for the US, NZ and Australian Antarctic programmes since 1991. He has held positions as owner and quality assurance manager of an analytical and consulting microbiology laboratory, and as a university academic in applied environmental microbiology and chemistry and quality assurance. Project areas include Antarctic environmental monitoring and impact assessment, marine cyanotoxin monitoring risk assessment and dispersion, microbial biocontrol, industrial and agricultural bioaerosol emission and transport, material biofouling, bioaerosol monitoring, quality assurance, microbial and chemical risk assessment and applied biogeochemistry.

  • Time: 6:30 – 8:00pm, Monday 13 August, 2012
  • Venue: Long Room, Customs House at Riverside
  • Arrangements: Doors open at 6pm. No need to book – just show up!
  • Refreshments: There will be complimentary drinks and nibblies following the talk, where all speakers will be available to answer any questions
  • Questions? For any further information please contact Andrew.

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Monday 23 July, 2012

The Origin and End of the Universe

Prof Paul Davies, Arizona State University

The universe as we know it burst into existence 13.7 billion years ago in a big bang, and has been expanding ever since. Scientists have created an over-arching cosmic narrative of birth, evolution and eventual death, but within this framework many questions remain. Is there a directionality to the growth of complexity and richness in the universe? What are the mysterious dark matter and dark energy that hold the key to the ultimate fate of the cosmos? Will the universe end with a bang or a whimper? And what is the destiny of living beings in the immensity of physical existence?

  • Time: 6:30 – 7:30pm, Monday 23 July, 2012
  • Venue: Long Room, Customs House at Riverside
  • Arrangements: Doors open at 6pm. No need to book – just show up!
  • Refreshments: There will be complimentary drinks and nibblies following the talk, where Prof Paul Davies will be available to answer any questions
  • Questions? For any further information please contact Joel.

Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist and best-selling author. He is Regents’ Professor and Director of Beyond: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, at Arizona State University, where he is also co-Director of the Cosmology Initiative and Principal Investigator of the Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology. Prior to his move to the USA in 2006, he helped create the Australian Centre for Astrobiology in Sydney. Davies has written about 30 books, many for the general public. His most recent is The Eerie Silence: are we alone in the universe? In 1995 he was awarded the Templeton Prize for his work on the deeper meaning of science. He was also awarded the Faraday Prize by The Royal Society, the Kelvin Medal by the UK Institute of Physics, the 2011 Robinson Cosmology Prize, and many book awards, as well as three honorary degrees. In June 2007 he was named a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s birthday honors list and in December 2011 he was presented with the Bicentenary Medal of Chile. The asteroid 1992 OG was renamed (6870) Pauldavies in recognition of his work on cosmic impacts. Paul Davies is also known worldwide as a television and radio commentator and is the author of hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.

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