8 September, 2018:
It was a fantastic evening of outreach by the CNBP-RMIT team at the annual AstroLight Festival, at Scienceworks in Melbourne, 8th September, 2018.
A wide range of demonstrations, talks and hands-on activities from volunteers from Observatories, Universities and Research Centres brought science to life to over 600 members of the public at this annual astronomy and optics event.
CNBP highlights included public talks from Center Chief Investigator Prof Andrew Greentree (The wonders and delights of bees and how they see colour) and Centre Associate Investigator Dr Kate Fox (Fluorescent Implants: 3D printing for the future).
Also popular was the CNBP interactive stall where there was a number of light based giveaways as well as a room of CNBP light experiments showcasing the properties of lasers, fluorescence, imaging and more.
“Taking science to the public is always extremely satisfying,” said CNBP Node Leader at RMIT University, A/Prof Brant Gibson.
“It’s great to be able to excite and enthuse people about what we do and to explain the relevance that science has in our community more generally.”
“The team came together with a huge amount of energy and positivity which helped make the evening a great success!”
Below – Big smiles from the CNBP-RMIT team at AstroLight 2018!
18 August 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.
Below – The CNBP team get ready and prepped for Open Day!
17 August 2018:
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.
12 August 2018:
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.
Below – Photos from the Open Day. Top photo shows a demonstration of pH levels. Bottom photo shows Prof Mark Hutchinson, CNBP Director demonstrating the “MEQ Meat Probe”.
12 August 2018:
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.”
Below – Emma Wilson demonstrating fluorescence microscopy! Bottom photo – Dr Philipp Reineck demonstrating fluorescence with UV light in the lab.
10 August 2018:
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.
27 July 2018:
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.
26 July 2018:
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.”
Below – Students are given a demonstration of a clinical micro-circulation imager by Dr Nadort. Using the device, blood cells and vessels under the tongue are able to be seen on the screen.
20 June 2018:
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).
6 June 2018:
CNBP researcher Dr Annemarie Nadort has participated in ‘Fresh Science’, a national competition helping early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery. The program takes up-and-coming researchers with no media experience and turns them into spokespeople for science, giving them media training and a public event to present their science to the community. Ten researchers took part in the Fresh Science event for NSW.
Dr Nadort reports on her experience below.
“Fresh Science was an intense, colourful, and informative workshop ranging between fun and hard work. The first day consisted of a Q&A and mock interviews with journalists from television, radio and written news. The participants all had very interesting and new science to pitch and I definitely enhanced my network of Sydney researchers.”
“I also was impressed by the skills of the journalists. They said that society viewed them as the least trusted people, but their professionalism and ability to pick up the most important parts of our complicated science made me think the opposite!”
“The second morning consisted of a Q&A with commercialisation experts, the NSW Chief Scientist and collaboration experts, followed by a 1 minute pitch to stakeholders.”
“The workshop concluded with a final event at the Three Wise Monkeys Hotel: every Fresh Scientist presented their research for as long as their sparkler was still sparkling.”
“I was awarded the ‘highly commended’ distinction for my ‘bright sparks’ presentation which detailed the development of optical methods to improve the detection and therapy of high-grade brain cancer.”
Below – Dr Annemarie Nadort presents her science to an interested and engaged audience at the Three Wise Monkeys Hotel, Sydney.