Science is gaining mass appeal thanks in no small part to events like the World Science Festival Brisbane, which make this fascinating field accessible as well as exciting. Last year more than 100,000 people turned out to the festival and now it's back for a second instalment of thought-provoking events to pique your curiosity.
Science and the arts are often thought of as polar opposites, but the World Science Festival Brisbane is proving otherwise. From theatre discussions to film and orchestral performances, Brisbane’s arts community will be part of many of the events at this year’s festival.
“The festival’s engaging theatrical programs will explore the nexus between science and the performing arts by illuminating the ‘hard’ stuff — black holes, the universe and particle physics — using music, theatre, story and design,” says Queensland Museum Network Director and CEO Professor Suzanne Miller.
The festival takes place over five days from 22–26 March, so it’s important to be organised, as there’s a swag of events to choose from. Here are some notable program highlights to mark in your diary.
Degas Revealed: The Science Behind the Art
Last year scientists illuminated one of the greatest mysteries in the art world, when they revealed there is in fact an image hidden beneath Portrait of a Woman by Edgar Degas. The project was a collaboration between the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and National Gallery of Victoria that used an advanced fluorescence mapping technique and a powerful X-ray beam that is one million times brighter than the sun. In this discussion, the team shares insights on the discovery as well as the technology having an impact on the art world and beyond.
26 March at QPAC
Dear Science: A Live Podcast Event
Have you ever thought about turning your troubles over to science? Dear Science is a new podcast from the ABC that encourages listeners to do just that. It will launch at the World Science Festival Brisbane at a live event where ABC science journalist Bernie Hobbs and chemist Dr Alice Williamson answer agony aunt style letters using science. From long-distance relationships to raincoat fetishes, they’ll be tackling questions big and small.
26 March at ABC Brisbane
Ocean Action: Can Science Save this Precious Environment?
Our oceans are facing an increasing number of issues, including climate change, acidification, overfishing and pollution, and this discussion explores how we might be able to turn things around. Human activities may have caused this destruction, but now our own innovations including data analytics, sophisticated surveillance, bio-monitoring and ‘smart’ engineering could prevent further damage. Five environmental experts look at these technologies and what’s in store for the future of our oceans.
26 March at QPAC
A Live Presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey
In an immersive meeting of science and art, Stanley Kubrick’s seminal science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey will be screened with a live score performed by Queensland Symphony Orchestra and The Australian Voices choir. The film, which was released in 1968, remains a cult classic that is often ranked in among the top films of all time. It is regarded for its realism and exploration of themes including existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence and extraterrestrial life. See this epic classic in a new way.
22–23 March at QPAC
The Hatchery: Showcasing and Supporting Turtle Conservation
This was one of the biggest events of last year’s festival and it’s back again. At The Hatchery, you can watch tiny turtles make their big entry into the world. Given its popularity, the event has more space and more turtles this year, and it’s not just in the name of entertainment – the little turtles are part of a conservation project that will see them released into the sea after the festival.
23–26 March at Queensland Museum
Hidden Figures: Film and Panel Discussion
Out in cinemas now, Hidden Figures follows the true story of female African-American mathematicians at NASA who were pivotal in John Glenn’s history-making launch into space. Their quiet contribution to science is now a feel-good blockbuster film and a key point of focus at this year’s festival. Following a screening of Hidden Figures, a panel of women from the arts and science will host an uplifting discussion to shed more light on the women in the film.
25 March at GOMA
When Science Meets Art: An Enduring Entanglement
Science and art – generally we gravitate towards one or the other. But the truth is that society leans on both fields equally in its advancement. Now as globalisation takes hold and the world becomes more technically advanced, the creativity inherent to each of these disciplines is more valuable than ever before. In this discussion, panelists from science and the arts look at why each of these areas aren’t valued equally and how this might change in the future.
26 March at Griffith University Conservatorium Theatre
Constellations by Nick Payne
With a quantum physicist as a lead character, Queensland Theatre’s season of Constellations coincides perfectly with the festival. For two of the shows, playwright Nick Payne and World Science Festival Brisbane co-founder and physicist Brian Green will host a conversation on the mysteries of the multiverse (the theory that there are several universes with different laws of physics) and how this concept inspired a charming romantic theatre piece.
24–25 March at Bille Brown Studio
PS – This is also one of our top five theatre shows to see this month.
EARTH 2.0: A Future Habitat for Humanity?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on Mars? And if that will even be a possibility in our lifetime? This insightful discussion looks at whether humanity really does need to find somewhere else to live, as has been suggested by Stephen Hawking. They will debunk myths and shed light on the progress that is being made to send humans into other planets.
25 March at QPAC
FIND YOUR PROGRAM
Details for all the World Science Festival Brisbane events are in the printed program, which you can pick up from one of our network locations.