Murdoch out in force for National Science Week

August 22, 2016

Murdoch staff demonstrate forensic facial reconstruction at Oberthur Primary School

Murdoch staff demonstrate forensic facial reconstruction at Oberthur Primary School

Murdoch staff used caterpillars, drones and blood splatter to inspire thousands of young scientists last week.

Around 100 academics, outreach staff and student volunteers lent a hand at events held on campus, in the city and hosted by local schools for National Science Week.

“This is an opportunity for us to open our doors and build on our existing relationships with primary and high schools and industry partners, as well as to form new ones,” said Michelle Austin, Murdoch University's Outreach Coordinator.

“We want to inspire the wider community by showing them that science is all around us, in technologies, in nature and in the food we eat.”

The events involved around 200 primary school students and 1,500 high school students, as well as around 15,000 members of the public during the Perth Science Festival.

“The Perth Science Festival is a fantastic way of reaching people who are generally interested in science to find out more about the incredible work underway at Murdoch,” Michelle said.

“Our marquee hosted a range of activities including The Power of Legumes, Forensics Facial Reconstruction, Virtual Reality, A Robotic Spider, Maths and Bubbles and Parasitology.

“People were also wowed by Andrew Foreman and the lab technicians’ ever popular Live and Explosive chemistry show, while Dr Amanda Hodgson showed footage of her latest research in the use of drones and the health of whales and dugongs.”

Murdoch University was also honoured to host the Australian Institute of Physics – Women in Physics lecture on Friday 19 August.

Dr Catalina Curceanu, Head Researcher at Italy’s National Institute of Nuclear Physics, spoke to the students on “Modern Quantum Technologies: The offspring of Schrödinger's famous cat”.

The event was well oversubscribed with more than 550 students spending a day on campus for an array of physics explanation and exploration activities.

Other events during the week included:

  • Murdoch Molecular Biology and Toxicology students ran master classes in facial reconstruction at Applecross Senior High School
  • Andrew Porter and Professor Lars Bejder demonstrated the uses of drones to create creating dynamic media footage and an aerial platform for monitoring whales and dugongs at Applecross SHS.
  • Associate Professor Phil Nicholls and Outreach Officer, Julia Lees ran a Biology program at Beelier Primary School, looking at the lifecycle of insects and discussing their impact from pollination by bees to damage by fruit fly. Phil enjoyed having an excuse to collect caterpillars that Julia carefully kept stored in the Murdoch warm cupboard.  The students will attend an expedition to the South Street Campus towards the end of term three to see what insects they can spot and collect on our campus, and identify them using our state-of-the-art microscopes.
  • Science Outreach Officer Anna Pryor and Murdoch Science Student Ambassadors hosted a master class of forensic activities for 140 Year 5 and 6 students. Participants were solving crimes using the science of forensics including white powder analysis, facial reconstruction, height estimations, blood stain analysis and live maggots.

Find out more about studying science at Murdoch University here.

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