science communication and education

The Masters of Science Communication and Education was launched yesterday afternoon by Professor Robyn Owen, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Research Training) and Professor Lyn Beazley, Chief Scientist for Western Australia.

Professor George Stewart, Dean, Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences was the MC for the event, and other speakers included Dr Nancy Longnecker, Teaching and Learning Co-ordinator/Science Communication Courses Co-ordinator, Rich Weatherill, Director Outreach, Scitech, and there was one other whose name escapes me at the moment. He was either representing the education side of the new masters degree, or the administrative process or committee that got the programme up.

Rich did the sugar in champagne demonstration, followed by the menthos in pepsi, which unfortunately didn’t hit the roof and was a bit of a fizzer.

I found all the talks of interest. Mostly they were re-iterating how few school students go on to do science, mathematics or engineering and emphasised that this was because there were a diminishing number of suitably qualified and enthusiastic science teachers.

I do wonder what is going to happen to Western Australia once we no longer have anything to dig up, as does Professor Dong-ke Zhang from the Curtin University of Technology at the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering’s 30th Annual Symposium “Resources Boom: Opportunities and Consequences” this week.

Science Communication students (current and previous) had red dots on their name tag. The only eek! moment was when Nancy encouraged those without dots on their name tag (most guests) to go and talk to those that did. All of the people that came and spoke to me were very nice and seemed genuinely interested in science communication and the new masters degree.

The event was very pleasant as I got to catch up with colleagues and fellow students some from other cohorts, over a drink and abundant nibbles.

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