Prof Jeremy Thompson, CNBP Chief Investigator at the University of Adelaide was a panelist at a ‘Science in the Pub’ outreach event where he presented a talk titled ‘Life outside the womb’ at the Rob Roy Hotel, Adelaide, September 7th, 2018.
Light-based demos ranging from optical fibre lamps, to infinity LED light boxes, to UV light and a fluorescing scorpion were all on show to the general public and potential new students at the CNBP stand at Macquarie University’s Open Day.
At the stand, CNBP researchers took the opportunity to talk-up science and more specifically to explain the field of biophotonics, as well as discuss the value to society that CNBP research provides. Many potential students seemed to be particularly interested in possible career opportunities following a successful under-graduate science degree and were keen to find out more about jobs in the med-tech and general health and diagnosis arena.
In addition to the demonstrations and the informative CNBP science stand, the Centre was also represented at the Open Day science speed dating event. At this session, CNBP laboratory manager Dr Ayad Anwer discussed his science (hyper-spectral imaging work focused on exploring the inner workings of cells), to interested members of the public who had the opportunity to speak directly and in-turn with a room full of MQ University researchers.
Feedback from the Centre team who volunteered for the Open Day was that they had experienced an enjoyable time with many positive interactions, discussing their science and their life as a scientist more generally, to interested and engaged members of the public.
CNBP continued its outreach interactions with Concordia College (Adelaide) with a team of Centre researchers taking their light-focused science to the school, all in support of National Science Week.
Two separate outreach sessions were undertaken by the CNBP team at the college (each session presented to approximately 75 Year 9 and Year 7 students). Researchers consisted of Pat Capon and Aimee Horsfall (Chemists), Kylie Dunning and Darren Chow (Biologists) and Akash Bachhuka (Physicist).
Demonstrations and activity included the following:
-Propylene glycol bending light
-A universal pH indicator
-Metal salts in flame
-Trans-disciplinary Biology/Chemistry/Physics in research
-The illusion of holograms
-Discussion on where a science degree can take you
“This was the key activity that Concordia College engaged with for National Science Week and it was great to see so many students interacting directly with our researchers,” said Partnerships Manager Mel Trebilcock.
“There were some great questions from the students and the CNBP team really enjoyed getting out of the laboratory and inspiring the next generation of young scientists,” she said.
The CNBP team at the University of Adelaide had their light-based science, advanced new tools and innovative startup companies on show at this year’s Open Day, Sunday 12 August, 2018.
Members of the public and aspiring students had the opportunity to see ultra small 3D imaging needles from Miniprobes, the sensor from MEQ Probe that utilises spectral analysis to objectively determine the quality of meat in seconds, and chemistry demonstrations from CNBP PhD students Aimee Horsfall, Kathryn Palasis & Patrick Capon demonstrating a pH Universal Indicator.
The Open Day showcases the University’s programs, facilities, and staff, with the aim of helping those individuals who are thinking about entering higher-education study. CNBP’s efforts were focused on displaying the benefits and career opportunities possible in the biophotonics space (academically and commercially) following a strong undergraduate degree in science.
250 members of the public including families and potential students visited CNBP laboratories at RMIT University, Sunday 12th August, 2018, as a part of the institution’s Open Day activity.
Learning about the science of light, as well as sensing and imaging at the nanoscale, attendees were able to tour the biophotonics and cryogenic confocal laboratories, as well as experience first hand, demonstrations which included fluorescence microscopy.
“At times, the labs were packed with interested and engaged prospective students and their friends and families, said CNBP Deputy Director and RMIT node leader A/Prof Brant Gibson.
“It was amazing to hear the passion for science by some of the prospective students – some really knew what they wanted to study and some didn’t.”
“There was also excellent feedback from public regarding the the passion from my team when discussing CNBP research and why it is having such an impact for society, he says.”
Over one hundred primary school children saw CNBP and Macquarie University researchers Dr Martin Ploschner (pictured) and Dr Annemarie Nadort present fun-filled light-focused science demonstrations at the Australian Museum as a part of National Science Week and the Sydney Science Festival for 2018.
Dr Martin Ploschner demonstrated how every-day items such as soap, detergent, money, and identity documents will glow or fluoresce when UV light is shone on them. Also demonstrated was the ‘glow affect’ from natural organisms such as scorpions, green leaves and bacteria on pistachios.
Dr Annemarie Nadort showed the children how they could see a network of blood vessels in their own tongue with a special microscope camera, facilitating an understanding of the human body and the tools needed to be able to see within it.
“The kids were amazed by seeing the continuous flow of red blood cells in the vessels. They were described as being like ‘in a rollercoaster’ or ‘like little ants walking on paths’, said Dr Nadort.
“It was great to see the excitement and interest from kids as young as six at our stand. Hopefully we managed to play a small role in promoting an ongoing interest in science in these bright and eager minds,” she said.
Below – Dr Annemarie Nadort and Dr Martin Ploschner demonstrate the wonders of science to children at the Australian Museum.
Year 12 chemistry/biology students from Temple Christian College were given a tour around the Braggs building and CNBP laboratories at the University of Adelaide by Centre PhD student Kathryn Palasis.
As a part of the tour students were shown the chemistry and laser laboratories and were also shown the glass and fibre fabrication facilities to aid understanding of the type of research that is undertaken by CNBP and others in the research space.
Touching on issues as diverse as space science, natural disasters, pollution and extreme biology, Yr 7- 12 high school students had the opportunity to gain insight into humanity’s big issues at a three day Macquarie University outreach event held in association with the organisation ‘One Giant Leap (Australia)’.
As a part of this event activity, CNBP’s Dr Annemarie Nadort undertook two separate outreach presentations to approximately 50 students, explaining the human body, the biology of blood, the physics of light and the potential of non invasive optical clinical technologies that could potentially be applied to humans in space.
“It was great to talk with such enthused students,” said Annemarie. “There were some great questions about how we can image deep inside the body and the many challenges that we face in being able to do so successfully.”
Approximately 100 patrons at the Belgian Beer Cafe in Melbourne were treated to ten researchers showcasing their science as part of the ‘Fresh Science’ initiative (Victoria), June 20th, 2018.
One of those ten researchers was CNBP student Marco Capelli from RMIT University who was a successful applicant to Fresh Science – a program that trains early career scientists on how to best communicate and present their activity to the media and to the wider general public at large.
Studying the brain using ulta-small diamonds was the scientific narrative practiced and delivered by Marco as part of his public presentation at the Cafe.
“Fresh Science was an amazing experience,” says Marco.
“Over the course of two days, I had the chance to interact with journalists from different media (including television, radio and newspaper) as well as representatives from industry and policymakers. From each of them, I learned how to tailor my scientific exposition to a variety of audiences, how to highlight my research and how to successfully pitch my ideas.”
“I particularly enjoyed testing myself in front of professionals from each field as well as receiving immediate feedback on my presentation skills. Fresh Science is an experience I strongly endorse to any ECR researcher (PhD students included) looking to improve their communication skills.”
Below: CNBP PhD student Marco Capelli talks nano materials at the Belgian Beer Cafe in Melbourne. Image courtesy of Science in Public (Fresh Science).