16 August 2016:
CNBP researchers and Adelaide Compass at the University of Adelaide teamed up today to host an extremely successful outreach session as a part of National Science Week, 2016.
The ‘Hit The Lights’ outreach program saw Year 5 students from Burton Primary School visit the CNBP HQ and participate in interactive workshops, demonstrations and discussions, all related to light, optics and CNBP science.
A thoroughly enjoyable experience was had by both CNBP researchers and students with lots learned by all on the day!
14 August 2016:
CNBP’s RMIT University node had a highly successful Open Day experience, with more than 500 people passing through CNBP laboratories and work areas, with CNBP researchers on hand to discuss their science and explain more fully just what nano-scale biophotonics encompasses!
Activities included Associate Professor Brant Gibson introducing CNBP to groups of families, postdocs discussing their own photonics and biology research, students discussed the day to day life of lectures and labs, and Professor Andy Greentree greeting visitors at the elevator foyer with a giant spring and a leafblower.
According to CNBP node leader A/Prof Brant Gibson a real highlight on the day was seeing theoretical CNBP researchers in the labs, discussing their work to the public and explaining the experimental equipment used by CNBP on a daily basis, such as optics tables and lasers.
Below, CNBP researchers Emma Wilson and Ivan Maksymov discuss their science to members of the public.
14 August 2016:
In a great start to National Science Week, CNBP researchers at the University of Adelaide participated in the annual University Open Day, engaging with prospective students and the general public with a host of interactive demonstrations, talks and laboratory tours.
According to CNBP General Manager Mel Trebilcock, “Our X-factor this year by far, was the vast amount of experiments, interactive and hands on activities that we were able to offer to prospective students and to the general public. Fantastic outreach was had and we flew the CNBP flag high.”
Experiments on display included a laser fountain using water pumps and laser pointers to show how light can be “bent” by water using total internal reflection (the same principle used in fibre optics). This was shown alongside examples of optical fibre made at the University of Adelaide.
Solutions of fluorescent dyes were also prepared, with laser pointers used to show how the dyes fluoresce, turning the light of the laser pointer a different colour.
Also set up a was a cloud chamber which allowed the public to see cosmic rays and other radiation, and a crystal garden to show how metal salts can grow into corral-like structures in sodium silicate solution.
“The day was a great success! A big thanks to our passionate researchers who enthused about our science,” Mel Tebilcock concluded.
11 August 2016:
After a successful keynote presentation at the 2015 annual ‘Beach Energy Women in STEM Breakfast’ at Thebarton Senior College, CNBP’s Dr Mustafa was once again invited back to the college to engage with young female students at the 2016 event.
Returning from maternity leave, Dr Sanam Mustafa was in an ideal position to highlight the evolution of male dominated fields towards a more balanced work environment where support was available for women returning from breaks in their career.
Dr Mustafa shared her positive experience at CNBP which she attributed to the nurturing leadership strategy of Professor Mark Hutchinson (a father of two young girls), and the culture of the organisation. She explained that it was important to maintain a channel of communication even during periods of absence so that it was easier to reconnect when coming back to the workplace. Through this open communication, Dr Mustafa was able to negotiate a return to work plan that catered for her new responsibilities as a mother.
The event organisers themselves demonstrated their commitment to engaging women with caring responsibilities by welcoming Dr Mustafa’s 9 month old daughter Zaina to the breakfast event as well.
Feedback from participants was that this STEM focused networking and information session for high-school aged female students was a huge success.
20 June 2016:
Attendees at Sydney’s ‘Physics in the pub’ event were treated to a magical light-inspired show by CNBP researchers Martin Ploschner, Denitza Denkova and Varun Sreenivasan. Together they wowed the audience at the Three Wise Monkeys Hotel, using little more than UV light, fluorescent paint and other handy fluorescing materials.
Their act, one of a number on the night, aimed to take science out of the laboratory, to take it to the public, and to make it educational, entertaining and fun in equal measure!
All three researchers enjoyed the experience of showcasing their science in a relaxed and informal environment, and quickly overcame any potential stage nerves to flaunt their fluro-physics to a full-house of engaged and interested members of the public.
Well done to all three – a short video of the fun-filled show can be viewed online!
14 June 2016:
“It was all about effective communication and engaging meaningfully with your target audience,” summarised CNBP researcher Dr Malcolm Purdey who has just completed the ‘Fresh Science‘ training program, in Adelaide, South Australia.
An annual program, ‘Fresh Science’ comprises a day of media and communication training for early career researchers, helping turn them into ‘spokespeople for science’. Day two of the program is a community event, where the researchers are able to present and discuss their work to interested members of the public.
This year, the training was undertaken at the South Australian Museum, followed by a ‘Pub Night’ at the Lion Hotel in North Adelaide where Malcolm got the chance to talk about ‘Sensors for Healthier Hearts and Babies.’
In Malcolm’s own words, “Fresh science was an excellent way to learn more about science communication. Not only did we talk to journalists from TV, radio and print media, but we were able to practice being interviewed about our research.”
“We also talked with representatives from Industry – a fantastic and helpful contrast to the media, where we learned how to pitch what we were doing to potential investors, including both government and private investors. This was all topped off with a public presentation in a pub, with a time limit of a lit sparkler in our hand.”
Concluded Malcolm, “It was fantastic to be able to talk to so many people at once about my research during ‘Pub Night’, with this leading to questions from the audience and even some really touching one-on one conversations with audience members at the end of the event. It was a fantastic program, and I could not recommend it more highly to those wanting to expand their science communication skills!”
Below – Malcolm practicing his interview skills at ‘Fresh Science’.
20 May 2016:
On Friday May 20th 2016, a group of 25 engineering and physics students from the University of Minnesota visited Macquarie University for a very full day of talks, seminars and laboratory tours.
As a part of this visit, CNBP Deputy Director Prof Ewa Goldys provided a 45 minute talk to the students, providing an overview of the Centre and its key research activities.
The future use of nanoparticles, to aid in healthcare and diagnostic capability provoked widespread interest and discussion in the group as they saw the potential benefits of the still evolving technology.
Below: Ewa Goldys explaining the use of nano-rubies and nano-crystals in CNBP related research.
6 May 2016:
Good science is simply the art of asking really good questions said CNBP Chief Investigator Prof Tanya Monro, in a motivating TEDx talk that took place in Adelaide, May 6th, 2016.
Tanya’s talk, titled “Science, beauty, childhood and the art of asking questions” explained how science and mathematics can help explain everything from the expansion of our universe to the workings of the world’s subatomic particles, to even broadening our understanding of beauty.
View the entire TEDx talk by clicking on the web site here.
19 April 2016:
CNBP was happy to host the next generation of young scientists at today’s ‘STEMSEL Photonics’ session at the University of Adelaide node.
STEMSEL clubs, standing for ‘Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Social Enterprise Learning’ are an arm of the STEMSEL Foundation which is a not for profit organisation that aims to teach every child how to use electronics.
Over twenty Year 3 to Year 9 students were in attendance at this session, with CNBP researchers Roman Kostecki (a physics focus) and Sabrina Heng (a chemistry focus) helping lead the discussion and activities.
Concepts such as photons, light interaction with matter, Fermat’s principle, emission, absorption, lasers, fibre optics and organic chemistry, were all described and demonstrated.
Both researchers enjoyed the afternoon, showing the kids that science, technology and photonics can be awesomely interesting, as well as really good fun!
11 March 2016:
John Gardner MP (Liberal Shadow Minister for Education; Multicultural Affairs; The Arts and Higher Education, Science and the Information Economy) and SA State Member for Morialta, took time out to visit CNBP and the University of Adelaide on Friday March 11th, 2016.
Meeting with CNBP Director Mark Hutchinson and General Manager Mel Trebilcock, CNBP’s research focus and innovation strategy was discussed with the visit also including a laboratory tour, allowing MP Gardner to meet with staff and students.
Feedback from the MP was extremely positive citing an ‘inspirational afternoon at CNBP’ with ‘cutting edge science with practical applications.’