Friday, July 27, 2012

AUGUST 2012

National Science Week takes place in August and, to mark it, there are a range of events taking place in Canberra for science-lovers of all ages. We’ve listed some of the talks below but you can check out the full listing at: http://www.scienceweek.net.au/

Regular readers of Canberra Brain Food will know that we do sometimes highlight film events where they are especially note-worthy. In August, the National Film and Sound Archive is presenting Singin’ in the Rain and Duel: two of the greatest American movies of the 20th century (see below).

Meanwhile, one of the best recent talks was given by David Marr at the State Library of NSW. Marr is one of Australia’s best-known political and social commentators. People either love him or loathe him. Either way, Canberra Brain Food is a fan of anyone who speaks with passion and force. Hear him speak about asylum seekers, same-sex marriage, terrorism and other subjects of his recent book ‘Panic’ at the following web-site: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/david-marrpanic/4135122

Wednesday 1 August
Title: The Naked Truth? Media and politics in the digital age
Time: 11:30 – 12:30pm
Venue: Ann Harding Centre, Building 24, University of Canberra
Cost: Free, registration required

Andrew Leigh is one of Australia’s more interesting members of parliament (that’s not saying much, we know). Before being elected as the Member for Fraser in the ACT in 2010, he was a professor of economics at the Australian National University. He holds a PhD in public policy from Harvard, he has previously worked as a lawyer and in 2011 received the 'Young Economist Award', a prize given every two years by the Economics Society of Australia to the best Australian economist under 40. He is also an engaging speaker.

He’s going to be addressing the subject of how the media has changed with the advent of digital and social media and what all this means for serious conversation and debate about the important challenges of our times.

Wednesday 1 August
Title: Un-silencing the Haitian revolution
Time: 4:15 – 5:30pm
Venue: Menzies Library, ANU
Cost: Free

The Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804 led to the elimination of slavery there and it was the only slave revolt which led to the founding of a state. It was one of only two successful attempts, the other being the American Revolution, to achieve permanent independence from a European colonial power for an American state before the 19th century. Why then isn’t it remembered today alongside the other great revolutions of this time and what does it represent for our concepts of liberty and equality? Professor Jeremy D. Popkin – professor of History at the University of Kentucky and author of ‘You Are All Free: the Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery (2010)’ will discuss. Prepare yourself for what should be a fascinating talk by reading the following (glowing) review in the Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703514904575602813929450820.html

San Domingo.jpg

Tuesday 7 August
Title: Management of Invasive Plants
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Shine Dome, Gordon Street
Cost: Free, registration required

Some invasive plants have been introduced into Australia accidentally but more often they have been introduced deliberately as potential pasture plants or for ornamental horticulture. It is estimated that invasive plant species cost the Australian economy more than $3.5 billion annually. Richard Groves from the CSIRO will discuss the introduction of plant species, their impact on the ecology and on human health and the strategies available to manage them

Thursday 9 August
Title: What I have learned from the Global financial crisis
Time: 6:00 – 7:00pm
Venue: Lecture theatre, John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU
Cost: Free, registration required

Dr Alan Bollard has been the Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand since 2002 and his most recent book examines the impact the GFC has had upon his country. He should therefore have some interesting insights into the meltdown of the financial system in 2007-08, the ensuing global recession and the after-effects. What has the world learned about financial fragility, contagion and instability and the role of government regulation?

Saturday 11 August
Title: The accelerating universe
Time: 11:00 – 12:00pm
Venue: Shine Dome, Gordon Street
Cost: Free, registration required

Australian scientist Brian Schmidt received the 2011 Nobel Laureate for Physics, but what do you know about his work? Come along to this National Science Week event to hear about "the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae". Schmidt’s discovery suggests that more than 70% of the Universe is made up of a previously unknown form of matter - frequently termed Dark Energy - which causes gravity to be repulsive rather than attractive.

Saturday 11 August
Title: Challenging pseudoscience in the most scientific of all ages
Time: 2:00 – 3:30pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre, CSIRO Discovery Centre, Clunies Ross Street, Acton, ACT 2601
Cost: Free

Just how scientific is the teaching and practice of medicine in Australia? Central Queensland University has begun a Bachelor of Science degree in chiropractics but what is the evidence to support the efficacy of chiropractic treatment? In this National Science Week event, Professor John Dwyer will examine the emergence of pseudoscience in medicine and what is being done to counter it. Prof Dwyer is an immunologist, expert on HIV prevention and treatment programs and the President of the Friends of Science in Medicine.

Saturday 11 August
Title: Singin’ in the Rain
Time: 7:30pm
Venue: National Film and Sound Archive
Cost: Ticketed event, adults $11

Without doubt, one of the classics of cinema. Who can forget the scene of the love-struck Gene Kelly tap-dancing, splashing in the puddles and of course singing in the rain? The Arc Cinema at the NFSA is using side-by-side screenings of scenes from SITR to demonstrate the effect of different film formats on the visual impact of a film. After a little bit of an education, you will then be treated to the full experience in glorious digital cinema.


Saturday and Sunday, 11 and 12 August
Title: Science of Doctor Who
Time: Various
Venue: CSIRO Discovery Centre
Cost: $25, booking required

Comedian Rob Lloyd, physicists Martin White and David Jennens (University of Melbourne), and astrophysicist Allie Ford (Monash University) will help you separate the science from science-fiction in the television series Doctor Who (part of National Science Week).
Wednesday 15 August
Title: Maths for the frightened
Time: 12:30 – 1:00pm
Venue: CSIRO Discovery lecture theatre
Cost: Free

Professor Colin Pask – author of ‘Math for the Frightened: Facing Scary Symbols and Everything Else That Freaks You Out About Mathematics’ -  will introduce the main ideas of mathematics, how they underpin many of the great breakthroughs in science and, using examples, demonstrate how they are expressed in symbols. While helping to overcome the fear of maths, Prof Pask hopes to help you appreciate a little of the science that Einstein called "the poetry of logical ideas". A National Science Week event.

Wednesday 15 August
Title: Working with starlight
Time: 12:45 – 1:30pm
Venue: Shine Dome, Gordon Street
Cost: Free, registration required

In this illustrated lecture Dr David Malin, Professor of Scientific Photography, RMIT, describes how and why he made a pioneering series of colour photographs of the southern sky and what the images revealed. Until 2001 Dr David Malin was a photographic scientist-astronomer with the Anglo-Australian Observatory (now the Australian Astronomical Observatory, AAO). Learn more about Malin and his work here: http://www.aao.gov.au/images/general/malin.html

Wednesday 15 August
Title: The Immunity Challenge
Time: 6:00 – 7:00pm
Venue: Shine Dome, Gordon Street
Cost: Free, registration required

Chris Goodnow carries on the great tradition of world-leading Australian immunologists, including Frank Macfarlane Burnet and Frank Fenner, his predecessor as Professor of Immunology at the Australian National University’s John Curtin School of Medical Research. He is also an engaging speaker and in this talk, part of National Science Week, he will talk about his research into how the immune system learns to distinguish ‘self’ from ‘not-self’ so that it does not attack itself while fighting off infections.

Wednesday 15 August
Title: Antarctica – a biography
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Paperchain bookstore, Manuka
Cost: Free, registration required
http://www.paperchainbookstore.com.au/paperchainbookstore/events.cfm?events_id=274&view=detail

David Day (war historian and biographer of prime ministers Curtin and Chifley) will launch his history of Antarctica that covers the explorers of the frozen continent as well as the international battle to claim its resources. To get you in the mood, here’s a recent article on Antarctica by Day http://www.themonthly.com.au/three-portraits-antarctica-ice-works-david-day-4657

Thursday 16 August
Title: Politics, society, self
Time: 6:00 – 7:00pm
Venue: Copland lecture theatre, ANU
Cost: Free, registration required

A talk by another one of Australia’s more interesting and insightful politicians. Geoff Gallop was Premier of Western Australia from 2001 to 2006, he was a Rhodes scholar in 1972 and is currently the Director of the Graduate School of Government at the University of Sydney. He has published a collection of essays in which he focuses on the individual in society: politics, pragmatics, fundamentalism, fairness, and the meaning and importance of well-being for public policy and the person. Listen to a recent interview with Mr Gallop here: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/saturdayextra/democracy-with-geoff-gallop/4058836

Friday 17 August
Title: The Marmalade files
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Paperchain bookstore, Manuka
Cost: Free, registration required
http://www.paperchainbookstore.com.au/paperchainbookstore/events.cfm?events_id=275&view=detail

Veteran Canberra journalists Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann have joined forces to write a novel. About what? Of course it’s a farce about the inner workings of political power! Come along to the cosy Paperchain bookstore for the launch.

Saturday 18 August
Title: Quiet Waters
Time: 12:30pm
Venue: Theatre, Australian War Memorial
Cost: Free, registration required

Join author Brennan Keats for a special presentation about his book Quiet Waters, which tells the story of his brother Russell Keats and his experience aboard HMAS Canberra. Adapted from Russell’s letters home before the Battle of Savo Sound, the book reveals the personal journey of a young Australian. Members of Sydney Male Choir will be dispersed throughout the audience and will contribute to Keats’s presentation with songs from the era. Sounds like fun!

18 August
Title: Duel
Time: 4:30pm
Venue: National Film and Sound Archive
Cost: Ticketed event, adults $11

One of the most thrilling movies ever made! Before making Jaws, young director Steven Spielberg created the template with this terrifying, almost dialogue-free road movie. Travelling salesman Dennis Weaver is terrorised on the interstate highways of the American West by an unseen madman in a semi-trailer.


Sunday 19 August
Title: Pollock
Time: 2:00pm
Venue: Fairfax theatre, National Gallery
Cost: Free

The National Gallery will screen Ed Harris’ film about the U.S. artist, most famous (in Australia) for his masterpiece ‘Blue Poles’.

Tuesday 21 August
Title: Curator’s perspective – Sydney Long
Time: 12:45pm
Venue: Temporary Exhibitions Gallery, National Gallery
Cost: Free

Anna Gray, Head of Australian Art at the Gallery will introduce the new exhibition of works by Australian artist Sydney Long.


Thursday 23 August
Title: A way through – a forum for Rick Farley
Time: 6:00 - 7:15pm
Venue: Theatre, National Museum
Cost: Free, registration required

Authors Susan Boden and Nicholas Brown will discuss their new biography of Rick Farley. If you don’t know much about this amazing Australian activist for aboriginal rights, environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture, you should come to this forum. Read the following article to prepare yourself: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/entertainment/legacy-of-a-healer-and-dealer-20120224-1tra2.html?skin=text-only

Friday 31 August
Title: Senate lecture
Time: 12:15 – 1:15pm
Venue: Senate Theatre
Cost: Free

The next in the series of ‘Senate occasional lectures’ will be presented by Margaret Fitzherbert. There’s no information about the content of the lecture yet, but Fitzherbert is an author and social commentator who has written about women in politics. Here’s a recent opinion piece by her: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/overhaul-overdue-for-succession-to-the-british-throne-20101229-19a45.html



* The information on this site is drawn from the websites of various institutions. The web addresses are supplied. Check the websites to confirm details.

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