Scientists + Chocolate = Disaster Relief

“ShelterBox is made up of people who believe in shelter as a human right – that shelter from the chaos of disaster and conflict is vital. No ifs. No buts.”

During the NYSF 2017 January Sessions students turned their love of chocolate into a fundraising event. Through the sale of chocolates during session, NYSF students raised $1000, and elected to sponsor a ShelterBox.

What is a ShelterBox you may ask?  ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter and vital aid to people affected by disaster worldwide. Working closely with Rotary (90% of ShelterBox deployments involve local Rotary clubs), aid supplied comes in the form of ShelterBoxes and ShelterKits. Sturdy green ShelterBoxes contain family-sized tents specially designed to withstand the elements and provide people with temporary shelter until they can start the process of rebuilding a home. ShelterKits contain essential tools people need to start repairing and rebuilding homes straight away. Kits and boxes also contain the items that help transform shelter into a home – like cooking sets, solar lights and activity sets for children.

Shelterbox, Rotary, NYSF, National Youth Science Forum

Chief Executive Officer of Shelterbox Australia, Mike Greenslade, said the Shelterbox would provide much needed relief to a family suffering after a disaster.

“ShelterBox is made up of people who believe in shelter as a human right – that shelter from the chaos of disaster and conflict is vital. No ifs. No buts. This drives us to transform the support of Rotary, our donors, fundraisers and volunteers into the hope and power of families all over the world – the power to rebuild homes, lives and communities.”

Most recently ShelterBox has provided aid to people affected by the conflict in Syria, flooding in Peru and the Columbian landslides.

Mr Greenslade highlighted the important role science plays in providing a high quality ShelterBox that meets the needs of those affected.

“I’m thrilled that January’s National Youth Science Forum students chose to support disaster relief by sponsoring a ShelterBox. There is plenty of science contained in our green boxes, from the water filters capable of removing microbiological hazards and heavy metals to the compact, inflatable solar lights. Then there’s our relief tent, capable of withstanding 90 kilometre per hour winds, tropical rains, UV protected and vector proof.

The box sponsored by the NYSF will make a world of difference to a family who has lost everything to disaster and help them get back on their feet. My heartfelt thanks to all those that contributed.”

Where will our ShelterBox be going?  We will have to wait and see, each box bears its own unique number so we can track it online all the way to its recipient country following deployment.  We’ll keep you posted about its final destination!

To find out more about ShelterBox or to donate go to http://www.shelterboxaustralia.com.au

Australian Academy of Science: Upcoming Events

Polymers in a Material World

Take a journey with the Australian Academy of Science and see how science has twisted and warped what was once the stuff of make-believe to give us the polymers and plastics that now shape our world.

The first in our two part series is all about polymers. This talk explores the use of plastics and polymer materials to build everyday products, engineer innovative solutions, and create emerging technologies. From solar cells to shatter proof mirrors, to water purification or inherently conducting polymers equivalent to metal, plastic is propelling us into the future at an astounding pace.

Our scholars will begin at the beginning, to tell you the tale of how polymers were developed, how they’ve helped us in the past, and what’s yet in store.

Tuesday 28th February 2017 — Melbourne — Click here for tickets
Time: 6:00 to 7:45pm
Venue: Melbourne Museum
Promotional Code: NYSF_MELB — for a free ticket!

Thursday 2nd March 2017 — Sydney — Click here for tickets
Time: 6:00 to 7:45pm
Venue: Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Promotional Code: NYSF_SYD — for a free ticket!

Further events will be held in Wollongong, Brisbane and Adelaide later in the year.

Advocacy, Activism, Academia.

In an intriguing and captivating lecture to the NYSF 2017, Associate Professor David Caldicott explored the politics of science, the rise of anti-science and some of the challenges that the world faces. Dr Caldicott is an Emergency Consultant at Calvary Hospital in Canberra, an Associate Professor at the University of Canberra, and a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the ANU Faculty of Medicine.

Dr Caldicott speaks to students

The presentation was enjoyed by all

Dr Caldicott is well known for his stance on the legalisation of medicinal cannabis and combating drug use through education and pill testing. He stressed to the participants his view that drug use should be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal issue. His research has shown that people are less likely to use drugs if they know the actual composition, reinforcing the evidence which routinely shows the best way to change behaviours is through science rather than morality.

Using his experience and knowledge, Dr Caldicott used this to emphasise the importance in being involved in politics as an advocate for the accurate representation of science, giving the participants advice for surviving in a world where even the truth is present. He concluded his presentation with a few important reminders for the participants as they finish their high school studies and head out into the world.

Be true to yourselves, your beliefs and what you stand for

“Be true to yourselves, your beliefs and what you stand for. Live in the intersections, talking to people in other disciplines.” He emphasised the importance of being a good communicator.

The presentation was thoroughly enjoyed by the participants with Dr Caldicott’s advice and humour engaging the students well. One participant, Adele enjoyed the lecture as it appealed to everyone no matter their interest area.

“The lecture was good whether you were coming from a health, physics or chemistry background as it was really relevant to everyone. This coupled with David’s presentation skills really got you interested and excited not only about the specific issue of drugs but the wider themes he was talking about like politics in science.”

Thankyou David for sharing your experience and for making an advocate out of all of us!

 

Veronica O’Mara, NYSF 2017 Session C Communications Intern and NYSF 2014 Alumna

IP Australia: What Students Need to Know

The NYSF welcomes IP Australia as our newest funding partner for the NYSF 2017 program. NYSF participants in the upcoming January Session will be able to learn more about this organisation first hand during Partners’ Day and through a site visit.

But as a bit of background reading, IP Australia has provided the following information:

ip-australia-logo-with-booksIP Australia

“IP Australia is the national body that administers intellectual property (IP) rights and legislation, and provides educational material on patentstrademarksdesigns, plant breeder’s rights, copyright and trade secrets to the general public.

Inventions, brands and designs can grow to become financially significant personal or commercial assets and should be protected so ownership can be established and proven.

IP is everywhere and simply refers to an expression of an idea in some form. Everyone interacts with products that have protected intellectual property status on a daily basis: from the brands of technology we use, to the logos on our sneakers, to the bikes we ride, to the videos we watch online.

As a workplace, IP Australia attracts highly intelligent individuals who embrace an inventive spirit and appreciate considering the value of ideas, brands and designs. By becoming a Patent Examiner or Trademark Examiner you could see the latest cutting edge technologies and developments before they hit the market. For example, companies such as Google or Apple apply directly to IP Australia to seek protection for their new inventions and brands.

NYSF participants who plan to undertake tertiary studies in engineering or science are encouraged to consider career opportunities with IP Australia upon completion of their degree. To explore these opportunities please visit www.ipaustralia.gov.au or connect via Facebook or Twitter.”

 

GRDC launches secondary school resources

sarah-mcdonell-grdc

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), which has been a proud supporter of the National Youth Science Forum over several years, has recently released a range of curriculum-linked resources which explore the latest science, technology, engineering, mathematics, nutrition, research and innovation in the Australian grains industry.

The resources present the professional nature of grain production and reference the types of technology that grain growers use on-farm. They also embed relevant Australian grains science and technology into a range of food and fibre teaching units, enabling teachers to teach mainstream subjects (such as science, geography, agriculture, home economics and nutrition) using grains as the teaching context. Each set of enquiry based resources includes activities, practicals, investigations and discussions.

The resources have been developed with input from reference teachers, researchers and growers and have been trialled at schools throughout Australia – with feedback hugely positive.

The resources include:

Agricultural Studies

  • The cost of frost – investigating weather (Year 9-10)
  • Smart grains – technology on farms (Year 9-10)

Geography

  • The importance of soil for growing great grain (Year 9-10)

Home Economics and Nutrition

  • Good grains for good gut health – the benefits of fibre (Year 9-10)
  • Grains, gluten and carbohydrates – focusing on grains as part of a healthy diet (Year 9-10)

Science

  • Science behind dough quality (Year 10-11)
  • Science of stems, stomata and sustainability (Year 11)
  • Science of crossing and crops – plant breeding (Year 10-11)
  • Science of living soils – focus on nematodes (Year 10)

The full suite of resources are available to download from the GRDC website www.grdc.com.au

Or contact Sarah McDonnell for further information sarah.mcdonnell@agcommunicators.com.au

 

Expanded program for National Youth Science Forum in 2016

Young scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technology practitioners of the future will benefit from a strengthened program under the National Youth Science Forum for 2016, which will include opportunities to hone their communication, entrepreneurial and critical thinking skills.

1 (2)

(image) Geoff Burchfield

(image T8 Photography)

(image T8 Photography)

Sarah from WA - Rio Tinto support Indigenous students attending NYSF

(image Sarah Samsara)

This coming January, The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF 2016) will offer its participants a refreshed and expanded program that focuses on three central ideas: engaging with science, technology and engineering and maths – STEM in Action; understanding the role of STEM in Society; and preparing the next generation of STEM Professionals.

“We have redesigned the program to provide a more cohesive and streamlined experience,” says Chief Executive Officer, Dr Damien Pearce. “By focusing on these three strands, we will lead students through a set of activities, lectures and visits that aim to build an improved understanding of the role of science in our lives, and how studying STEM at a tertiary level can lead them in many different directions.”

In 2015, the NYSF welcomed Lockheed Martin Australia as a major funding partner. “Lockheed Martin is proud to be a major partner of the NYSF, which builds on our well-deserved reputation as an advocate for STEM in Australian and across the globe,” says Lockheed Martin Australia Chief Executive, Raydon Gates.

Lockheed Martin Australia - Chief Executive, Raydon Gates

Lockheed Martin Australia – Chief Executive, Raydon Gates

 

Lockheed Martin Australia NexGen Cyber Information and Technology (NCITE) Centre Canberra

Lockheed Martin Australia NexGen Cyber Information and Technology (NCITE) Centre Canberra

“Our support for NYSF builds on our mission to help solve the world’s most technically pressing challenges and to advance scientific endeavour for a safer world in the future, but also recognises that we must inspire the next generation to pursue STEM careers by showing today’s students how exciting and rewarding these jobs can be.”

For 2016, the NYSF student interest groups have been realigned to reflect the national research priorities adopted by the Australian government in April 2015 – food, soil and water, transport, cybersecurity, energy, resources, advanced manufacturing, environmental change, and health.

NYSF provides its participants with a wealth of information about university and other tertiary level study options, through access to world leading research laboratories, with an inside view of local facilities where research outcomes are translated into real life products and processes. They also have considerable opportunity to network with the researchers and industry people that they meet, as well as each other.

“The NYSF is basically the young people’s first professional networking opportunity,” says Dr Pearce. “They go home fired up and ready to tackle year 12 with renewed enthusiasm and vigour.”

The range of skills the STEM graduates of the future will need are expanding every day. Also included in the 12-day program are lectures and panel discussions on critical thinking, entrepreneurship, communication skills, and the importance of having the diversity of our community represented in STEM working environments.

“We have also managed to pack into the program an extra lab visit,” says Dr Pearce, “offering even more science to the students! And along with our long-standing and extremely supportive lab and site visit providers across the campus of The Australian National University, it is really exciting to welcome IBM here in Canberra, hosting some groups at their Linux Development Lab; the National Film and Sound Archive, which is able to provide a lab visit for a large group; there’s an expanded program at the University of Canberra; and a really exciting visit to Lockheed Martin Australia’s NextGen Cyber Innovation and Technology Centre.”

The two NYSF Science Dinners will both feature inspirational guest speakers. For Session A, Dr Nick Gales, the Director of the Australian Antarctic Division has agreed to address the students and other dinner guests about his rich and varied career working for one of Australia’s most iconic and unique organisations. At the Session C dinner, acclaimed author, academic, and oncologist, Dr Ranjana Srivastava, has generously agreed to share with the students and guests her experiences of life as a working scientist. Information about  the NYSF Science Dinners is available by emailing nysf@nysf.edu.au

Dr Nick Gales

Dr Nick Gales, Director,  Australian Antarctic Division

Dr Ranjana Srivastava

Dr Ranjana Srivastava, author, academic and oncologist

 

The NYSF acknowledges funding and support provided by

Lockheed Martin Australia

The Australian National University (host university)

Cochlear Foundation

CSIRO

CSL Ltd

Grains R&D Corporation

GSK

Monash University

Murray Darling Basin Authority

NSW Trade & Investment

The University of Melbourne

The University of New South Wales

The University of Queensland

The 2015 program’s lab visit and site tour hosts are acknowledged here: http://www.nysf.edu.au/about/contributors

Additional background

In 2014-15 the NYSF

  • Attracted more than 1200 applicants
  • 600 of these were assessed as suitable to attend the program
  • 400 places were available for students to attend
  • 60 panels of volunteers from 21 Rotary Districts across Australia selected students to attend
  • 135 lab visits and site tours were conducted in January
  • 23 Next Step visits were conducted in major partner centres during school holidays
  • 43% of our participants came from rural and regional areas of Australia, reflecting our national reach, facilitated by Rotary
  • 55% of our participants were female
  • NYSF’s established national networks allows it to reach Australian schools and their students

Information: Amanda Caldwell, 0410 148 173        28/10/2015

Science news from Uni of Queensland

Science on the Loose

Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter for teachers to stay up-to-date with science events, competitions, news and opportunities.

Subscribe at science.uq.edu.au/newsletter-subscribe

Experience Science

Discover what it’s like to study science at UQ through hands-on workshops facilitated by experts from UQ and industry. This is a free event for students in Years 10-12.

Register now at science.uq.edu.au/expsci

FEAST

Future Experiences in Agriculture, Science and Technology (FEAST) is a five day residential program designed to inspire and inform high school students of the range of exciting and rewarding science careers in the agriculture, animal, plant and food industries. Participants will discover more about these careers and the available study pathways while taking part in hands-on activities.

Find out more and register at science.uq.edu.au/feast

From the Director

Welcome to the December edition of NYSF Outlook.

At the time of writing there are 400 young people who are preparing to travel to Canberra for the January 2015 NYSF Sessions. This map shows just how widespread our reach is for young Australians.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.37.10 pm

To say that there is a sense of excitement building would be an understatement! I know of at least one group of students that are already ‘counting the sleeps’. Thanks to the support of The Australian National University (ANU), in 2015 we have been able to increase the number of students by 40 places for each of the sessions, giving us a total cohort of 200 per session.

Our domestic students will be joined this year with students from Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and for the first time Brazil and Fiji. The international participation over January is relatively small, however is well justified in terms of the opportunities it provides for our young people for knowledge and cultural exchange. This also exposes the international students to the study and career opportunities that are available within Australia, which they share in their home communities.

One of the highlights of the NYSF January sessions this year will be the Science Dinners. Instead of having a single keynote speaker as we have had in the past, the dinners this year will be run as a symposium. We have secured some of the best thinkers, researchers and practitioners to participate and offer us their insights. The theme for the Session A Science Dinner is engagement of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). The Session C Science Dinner will focus on Indigenous Engagement and Knowledge with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We believe both of these discussions and the Q&A sessions that will follow will be stimulating for the students. If you are interested in coming along to the dinners, you can buy a ticket.  Email nysf@nysf.edu.au and we can send you the information.

For the 2015 National Science Teachers’ Summer School (NSTSS) we will be welcoming 50 science teachers from across the country from primary, secondary and senior secondary schools. The NSTSS is an NYSF program that is currently conducted in collaboration with the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA). The aim of the NSTSS is to immerse teachers in cutting edge STEM research and feed their – often infectious – motivation. The NSTSS challenges the participants to consider the question, “What do we want our students to know about science?” The resulting discussions regularly transcend curriculum frameworks. I would like to acknowledge Questacon and the Federal Education Minister, Minister Pyne, for their financial support for this much-needed program. Negotiations are ongoing to secure the longevity of NSTSS program into the future with the hope of it being extended to other locations.

On behalf of the NYSF Council, Executive and everyone here at NYSF Central, I would like to extend our best wishes for the Festive Season and New Year! And to the 2015 students … we’ll be seeing you soon!

“NYSF is a four letter word!”

This January, Session C will hear from NYSF alumni and academic Dr Neeraj Sharma from the University of New South Wales during Partners’ Day.  Here’s a bit about Neeraj…

Neeraj

“Summer of 2001 was when I discovered that scientists are very cool – they get to discover completely new things and play with complicated and funky pieces of equipment. Most importantly, they were others like me who loved science and loved finding out about how things work (and making them better). People often ask me what got me into science and I would say two things – my high school science teacher and the four letter word, NYSF!

People often ask me what got me into science and I would say two things – my high school science teacher and the four letter word, NYSF!

After attending NYSF in 2001 (and while being a Staffie in 2002), I studied a Bachelor of Science at the University of Sydney and spent a year on exchange at Uppsala University in Sweden – study abroad is an awesome experience that I would recommend to all. I continued on to do Honours and a PhD at the same institution working on new materials for solid oxide fuel cell applications and ones that show weird-types of magnetism. Then I moved to ANSTO as a post-doctoral fellow, essentially irradiating batteries with neutrons and trying to figure out how to make better batteries – so our phones can last longer and we can all drive around in electric vehicles. Now I am a lecturer in Chemistry at UNSW, teaching, making new materials and trying to make new and better batteries. I also dabble in making materials that contract when heated and room temperature superconductors (I wish).

Neeraj Sharma

Neeraj Sharma

One thing NYSF has instilled into me is the need to communicate the science that I do – so I am involved in a number of outreach activities. I also enjoy making science fun and exciting and am often amazed at the types of questions I get from audiences! All in all, NYSF was an eye-opener and I am so glad to be a part of it from the scientists’ perspective now – to encourage students to do what they love (or at least appreciate what they love even if they end up elsewhere).

So if you’re an NSYF-er and find yourself at UNSW, pop by my office for a coffee =). Did I mention I met my wife at NYSF 2001?”

From the science forum to science policy

Dr Subho Banerjee attended the NYSF (then known as the National Science Summer School) in Canberra in 1987. Nowadays he is responsible for preparing science policy advice in the Commonwealth Government.

Subho had always had an interest in science through his high school days in Newcastle, including being a national finalist in the BHP Science Prize. So he was very excited to get the chance to attend the NYSF, and it didn’t disappoint.

“Attending the NYSF was an inspirational experience. The program gave us exposure to such a wide range of high-quality science research being done in Canberra, across universities and research agencies. I was blown away by the possibilities.”

“I remember particularly a fantastic talk given to us by a graduate student up at Mt Stromlo Observatory, at the ANU. He really captured how excited he was to be exploring the fundamental questions of the universe – and he made it fun as well.”

“But the best thing was definitely the chance to connect with students from all over Australia who were interested in the same stuff that I was. I made friendships there that I carry forward to today.”

Subho credits his NYSF experience as being crucial in encouraging him to study science at the ANU.   He went on to do a PhD in physics, using lasers to study the structure of the oxygen molecule.

After his PhD, Subho made the decision to move into public policy. He received a Rhodes scholarship to go to the University of Oxford, studying economics and social history, and then environmental policy.

“When I was doing my PhD, I got more and more interested in the interface between science and public policy – so many policy issues are framed by science, but relatively few people with a science background are involved in the policy deliberations.”

Subho joined the Australian Public Service on his return from Oxford. He has since worked across policy issues spanning economic, social and environmental policy, as well as on organisational reform of the public sector itself. In addition to public service roles, he has worked for a not-for-profit Indigenous policy think-tank, and a private sector management consulting firm.

… a grounding in science, such as that provided by the NYSF, is a fantastic foundation. It encourages rigour and clarity in thought

In his current role as a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Industry, Subho is responsible for preparing science policy advice to the Federal government. This spans whole of sector advice on issues such as science funding and infrastructure, as well as policy oversight of Questacon, the National Measurement Institute and the Australian Astronomical Observatory. Subho is also on the board of the international organisation responsible for delivering the Square Kilometre Array – the largest radio telescope in the world.

“I’m really enjoying having a science-based role again. I think a grounding in science, such as that provided by the NYSF, is a fantastic foundation. It encourages rigour and clarity in thought, which makes you better at what you do (whether science-based, or not). But it also encourages enthusiasm about ideas and about the world, which helps you to enjoy doing it.”

Subho Banerjee Siding Springs telescope

Subho Banerjee Siding Spring telescope