Science Snippets

Did you know that on March 30 in 1791, after a proposal by the Académie des sciences, the French National Assembly finally chose that a metre would be a 1/10 000 000 of the distance between the north pole and the equator, setting in place the metric system which is a central part of our everyday lives?

On the same date 162 years later in 1953, Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist and one of the most well-known scientists of the 20th Century, announced his revised unified field theory equation. This theory in physics is a type of field theory that allows all of the fundamental forces between elementary particles to be written in terms of a single field. Above is an image of the article titled “Einstein Offers New Theory to Unify Laws of the Cosmos”, that was published in the New York times on this day 64 years ago.

Although these events occurred long ago, science is still progressing. You can easily get involved with all the different events happening in Brisbane this April!

  • On Wednesday 12 April is the 8th Annual Steve Irwin Memorial Lecture, which is presented by The University of Queensland and Australia Zoo. The lecture recognises the legacy of Steve Irwin and highlights the work of enthusiastic and outstanding conservationists. The 2017 speaker is Brad Norman, director of ECOCEAN Inc, the non-for-profit group dedicated to whale shark conservation. For more information and to register click here.
  • As mentioned in the previous Science Snippets, ‘Careers That Shape the World’ will be on Wednesday 19 April. It is being held at the UQ Centre, University of Queensland St Lucia campus and involves various interactive sessions to help discover possible career options for you, whether that involves science or not. This is an exciting experience for all Year 11 and 12 students. For more information and to register click here.
  • Applications for the National Youth Science Festival will also be closing on  Wednesday 31 May. The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) is a 12-day residential program for students entering Year 12 in 2018 who are passionate about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The NYSF program aims to show participants the wide variety of study and career options in STEM fields. Click here for more information. Mathilda Saunders (UQ Science Ambassador of 2016) attended this forum last year and had a fabulous experience.
  • Queensland Junior Physics Olympiad (Monday 26 June – Friday 30 June, 2017). The Queensland Junior Physics Olympiad (JPhO) is a five day (non-residential) program for Year 10 students with an interest in science and mathematics. By presenting physics in a manner that complements senior physics, JPhO aims to develop problem solving skills as well as an appreciation and understanding of physics. JPhO is about doing physics and having a lot of fun. The week is filled with lectures, tutorials, experiments, forums, workshops, and interactive discussions with your tutors. JPhO students are taught by current University lecturers, and enjoy a student-tutor ratio better than four to one. This extremely high tutor ratio ensures that there is always assistance available, students can work at their own pace, and still have time to ask questions about what they’re interested in.
  • Students who enjoy the Queensland Junior Physics Olympiad are encouraged to sit the National Qualifying Exam for the Australian Physics Olympiad (APhO). More information can be found on the Australian Science Olympiads web site.
  • The ‘Aspiring Women in Science Conference 2017’ is aimed at exposing young women to a variety of opportunities available in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The conference is designed to engage girls in Years 9 to 12 from around Australia who wish to continue their education in STEM.  During the conference, there will be opportunities to hear from inspiring female scientists who are part of the dynamic local and international scientific community and to discover the world-leading scientific research being conducted throughout Australia. Female scientists working in areas of Engineering, Genetics, Pharmacology, Physics, Psychology, Technology and Zoology will present not only their research but deliver a personal insight into their career. Date and Times:  Friday 5 May 2017 (7–8.15pm), Saturday 6 May 2017 (9am – 4pm); Age group: Year 9 – 12 female students; Cost: Student Ticket $85 (includes attendance for both Friday night and Saturday; catering provided on Saturday – morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea). RSVP by Wednesday 3 May 2017 Registration: visit and search for “St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School”

Finally, if you’re in need of some holiday fun be sure to check out for some cool science experiments that you can do at home! A personal favourite of mine would have to be the classic diet coke and Mentos geyser eruption.

Tessa Buzzo
UQ Science Ambassador 2017


Above are pictures of the Year 7 girls enjoying the Green Hearts Future BNE Challenge last Friday (as part of the World Science Festival). They were tasked with designing a solution to secure Brisbane’s water feature.