CSIRO Discovery toasts its best and brightest

CSIRO Discovery Centre has something to crow about, so its director Cris Kennedy tells us.

While Canberra is busy toasting its 101st birthday over the weekend, CSIRO Discovery will be highlighting the discoveries of our local heroes of science and the arts with a weekend program that “begins with our founding fathers and ends with the next generation of local Einsteins”.

csiro-discovery 2This Saturday at noon, for instance, local finalists in the BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards will present their inventions and projects. These, Kennedy says, are considered Australia’s most prestigious school science awards, rewarding young people who have undertaken practical research projects showing innovative approaches and thorough scientific or engineering procedures.

Gungahlin College student Jake Coppinger, for instance, will be seen demonstrating the invention that earned him third place in Engineering and will also see him represent Australia at the ‘Intel’ International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May.

Coppinger developed the Swirlesque glove, a new and unique form of human-computer interaction. It recognises natural hand gestures and performs actions, communicating through smartphone apps.

Three Lyneham High School finalists will also appear – Angela Liao presenting her project “Something to chew on: Effects of gum’s flavour on salivary flow rate and pH levels, Ian Arachi with his project “Ultraviolet protection and clothing” and Sanjog Chintalaphani with his project “Performance of commercial photovoltaics”. Daramalan College teacher Colin Price, a finalist in the Teaching Awards section, will also be speaking.

The awards are managed by CSIRO in partnership with BHP Billiton and the Australian Science Teachers Association, and are also supported by Intel Corporation.

That’s not all. This Sunday at noon, local vision-impaired author Leonie Pye will read from her new children’s book “The Little Shell” at the Discovery Centre, and discuss working with her guide dog Franklin.

Copies of her book will be for sale with 20 per cent of sales going to Guide Dogs ACT. The celebrations continue into Monday when at 1pm they’ll be screening “Microbes to Macrobes”, a poignant documentary about Canberra’s science pioneer, Prof Frank Fenner. All weekend, art buffs can view can visit the “Capturing the Cosmos” exhibition, featuring works by members of the Artists Society of Canberra, inspired by the CSIRO’s local telescopes and Deep Space Communication Complex.

As a special birthday present, CSIRO Discovery Centre is offering free admission this weekend only – 11am to 3pm  from Saturday to Monday inclusive March 8-10. All events are for all ages and admission is free.

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