By Ashleigh Whittaker and Toby Crockford
The World Science Festival is already causing a buzz around Brisbane’s Southbank, with the event tipped to not only inspire the next generation of budding scientists, but also boost the city’s profile as the “New World City”.
The festival will see more than 100 passionate scientists from around the world descend on Brisbane in all their geeky glory.
The five-day event, beginning tomorrow, promises to bring a galaxy of fun to the River City.
This is the first time the festival has been held outside of New York, with the Southbank strip of museums the perfect location for hundreds of events.
Plenty of families, students and budding scientists are expected to swarm to the various intellectual debates, films, plays and demonstrations.
The festival boasts many acclaimed scientists, including M*A*S*H actor, author, and all-round science enthusiast Alan Alda; astronaut Andy Thomas; Nobel Laureate physicist Brian Schmidt; and accomplished marine biologist Sylvia Earle among others.
Brisbane science entertainer Steve Liddell is presenting the Street Science! events at the festival and said he is “extremely pumped” to see Brisbane hosting the festival.
“[Kids] are going to see professions that they didn’t realise existed … they are going to see science in a really fun way.” Steve Liddell
“To have something on our front doorstep of this calibre is just going to do amazing things for our local community,” he said.
Mr Liddell believes Brisbane’s “amazing network of scientists” combined with the many “minds working in laboratories” are part of the reason the city was chosen to host the festival.
“Science Steve’s” passion for mastering cool tricks and experiments stems from his background as a high school science teacher, where he wanted to see more kids choosing hands-on careers.
The influx of big-name, world-class scientists to Queensland’s capital already has Mr Liddell dreaming of the prospect of finding the next generation of Nobel Prize Winners.
“[Kids] are going to see people and they are going to see professions that they didn’t realise existed… they are going to see science in a really fun way,” he said.
Mr Liddell is expecting his Saturday and Sunday Street Science! shows to be packed to the brim with eager minds of all ages.
Brisbane angling for science tourism market
Queensland Museum’s chief executive and director, Professor Suzanne Miller, is equally excited Brisbane is hosting such a huge international event.
“The reason for doing it here, apart from generating a real buzz and conversation in and around science… is to put Brisbane on the map as the science tourism destination of the world,” she said.
Professor Miller estimated crowds would be huge, with all school programs and ticketed children’s events already sold out.
She said she would be delighted to see festival participation hit an estimated 40,000.
Brisbane Greeters Program to offer new tours inspired by the festival
The popular Brisbane Greeters program has chosen to run specialised science-themed tours to show off Brisbane’s world-class facilities.
Stacey Brant from Brisbane Marketing said bookings for the tours are expected to fill up very quickly.
She said the long-term goal of the specialised tours was to not only show off the city, but to “attract more major events and conferences in Brisbane”.
“Internationally recognised events lead to global profiling, international network creation, cultural and business development, innovation and foreign investment,” she said.
“Staging festivals, events and conferences of this calibre will enhance Brisbane’s reputation as a competitive and innovative city that makes an impact on an international stage.”
The World Science Festival kicks off this Wednesday, March 9, and runs until Sunday.