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Pint of Science Festival set to quench thirst for knowledge

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What did the scientist say when they entered the pub for a three-day festival?

It may sound like the start of a good joke, but this is a 12-year-old gathering that has exploded into a world-wide event, held across 24 countries at more than 500 locations.

The Pint for Science Festival will be take place at Newcastle’s Happy Wombat from Monday 13 May to Wednesday 15 May.

The unique event aims to deliver science engagement, build on the Australian public’s appreciation of science, contribute positively to combat inequity and negative stereotypes within the Australia science sector, establish and supports cross-discipline collaborations, and celebrate and champion excellence in the Australian science and science engagement sectors.

In a nutshell, it’s a gathering of science, says Newcastle Pint for Science Festival organiser Paloma Siles.

“Basically, we do a call out and we get different local researchers to come out and share what they’re doing,” she says.

Pint of Science Festival 2024

This year the Newcastle event will feature researchers from the CSIRO, DCCEEW and University of Newcastle.

Topics will include solar innovation, biological secrets, and conservation initiatives.

“We’ve got Doctor Renee Gorman who’s talking about her tech, she’s using nanotechnology to basically create breathalysers for lung cancer, which is pretty cool,” Paloma said.

“And then on Wednesday, we’ve got some local scientists who are from the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water and they’re talking about different local threatened species and conservation initiatives from the central coast up to the Hunter region. 

“We’ve got a really diverse round of different topics but all from the Hunter and Newcastle.

“Local researchers will come to share scientific appliances, that’s the general gist of it.

“It’s for anybody that just wants to know what’s happening in our science world, people with a thirst for knowledge.”

Which leads nicely into how it all began.

This was a brainchild of two English scientists who opened their lab to visitors in London in 2012 and were overwhelmed by the interest.

“They were blown away by how many people rocked up and how much their staff enjoyed it as well,” explains Paloma. 

“So they figured, well, if the public could keep coming to our labs, what if we took our scientists out to the pubs?”

Since its first event in 2013 the Pint of Science Festival has continued to grow.

Pint of Science Festival 2023 presenters (L-R) University of Newcastle’s Associate Professor Xanthe Mallet and Isabella Crebert 

The Newcastle event was a sold-out event in 2023.

“We’re expecting the same thing this year,” says Paloma.

“So we’re encouraging people to grab their tickets now.”

Tickets to Pint for Science Festival Newcastle are available online.

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