Extreme Science Experience 2010

03 June, 2010

Workshop on wireless data technology.
Lauren Bartlett and Dr John O’Sullivan from the WLAN team conducted a workshop on wireless data technology.
Image: Nick Doolan
Source: ATSE

Scienceworks staff worked with Australia’s foremost scientists and engineers to develop hands-on workshops for over 300 students for Extreme Science Experience, held at the Melbourne Town Hall on 20 May 2010.

The free one-day event gave Victorian Year 10 students the exclusive chance to interact with the winners of the prestigious ATSE Clunies Ross Award, which recognises significant contributions to the development and commercialisation of health, communication and industrial innovations in Australia. The highlight of the popular event is the opportunity for students to participate in various exciting and practical 90 minute workshops led by the awardees and developed in association with Public Programs staff from Scienceworks. The result is an entertaining and educational experience that offers valuable insights into the specific field of the expert.

Scienceworks has been working with ATSE over the last three years to help deliver Extreme Science Experience. This year:

  • Michelle Sanders worked with Professor Tim St Pierre to conduct a workshop using mystery boxes of fruit to explore magnetic resonance imaging
  • Bronwyn Quint teamed up with Dr David Skellern and Dr Neil Weste to give students the chance of building their own aerials to investigate microelectronic technology
  • Avvy Banerjee and Dr John Parker’s workshop featured unique software to record and generate sounds through a cochlea implant simulator
  • Lauren Bartlett and the team behind WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) engaged students with encoded messages using torches and tickets to demonstrate the principles of wireless data transmission
  • ATSE’s Rod Dunstan and Mr Andrew Jessett employed remote-control toy bulldozers to provide insights into sorting different types of ore in mining.

A great success with both students and teachers, the workshops received enthusiastic praise in a feedback session led by Bernie Hobbs, star of the ABC programs the experiMENTALS and The New Inventors, and MC for the entire event. Students said  “I really appreciated the fact that I got to work with these amazing scientists and look at what they do for a living”, “Very inspiring”, “It made think about the possibilities of science in my career” and “I had no idea Australia actually invented all this stuff like wireless and bionic ear”.

The event was designed to help alleviate the recent decline of students choosing to study science in secondary school, and to promote the communication and application of science to raise the profile of Australia. Michelle, Bronwyn, Avvy and Lauren thoroughly enjoyed their time with the program, and were treated to the Clunies Ross Awards Dinner held on 19 May 2010, the night before the workshops.

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