Celebrating National Science Week

Posted 7 August 2013

An evening of science and humour with some of the world’s top online science communication celebrities – including Facebook phenomenon, Elise Andrew – will be a highlight of National Science Week.

UNSW will also host leading Australian scientists and engineers at a Science Academy Night in the Scientia Building on Wednesday 14 August. UNSW scientists will discuss their research with school students at the Australian Museum Science Festival, and a Science Trivia Night will be held in the Roundhouse on Friday 16 August.

Elise Andrew, a 23-year old British biology graduate living in Canada, created the I Fucking Love Science Facebook page less than 18 months ago, in March 2012.

She has since attracted more than 6.4 million “likes” with her clever combination of new discoveries, bizarre facts, eye-catching images and nerd humour – as well as a page name that is difficult to ignore.

Attesting to her popularity, the 700 tickets to IFLS Live! - the event she is co-hosting at the Powerhouse Museum on Monday 12 August with Sydney physicist, Derek Muller of Veritasium YouTube  channel - sold out in minutes.

UNSW Science is a primary partner of the IFLS Live! event, which is organised by ScienceAlert, a popular Australian science website and Facebook page. UNSWTV will host exclusive footage of the party and interviews with the online celebrities.

Other overseas participants include Phil Plait, of the Bad Astronomy blog, Henry Reich, of MinutePhysics and MinuteEarth YouTube channels, Mitchell Moffitt and Gregory Brown, of the AsapSCIENCE YouTube channel, Destin Sandlin, of the SmarterEveryDay YouTube channel, and Carin Bonder, of the Wild Sex YouTube channel.

UNSW researchers including Professor Merlin Crossley, Professor Rob Brooks, Associate Professor Emma Johnston, Professor Julian Cox, Associate Professor Andrea Morello, Dr Chris Tisdell, Dr Amy Reichelt and Dr Jessica Grisham, will speak at the event, which will also be attended by Australian Nobel Laureate, Professor Brian Schmidt and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.

The popularity of IFL Science shows social media can transform the communication of science, says Professor Crossley, Dean of Science at UNSW.

“Through YouTube, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Google Hangouts scientists, and science communicators, can engage directly with a new and rapidly growing audience.  And by producing accurate and fascinating material they can inspire a new generation of scientists as well as help counter some of the scientific nonsense circulating out there,” he says.

UNSW Science media: Deborah Smith: 9385 7307, 0478 492 060, deborah.smith@unsw.edu.au