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World Science Festival Brisbane 2019 kicks off with Martians, forensic science, particle waves and more

31 January 2019

Advancing Medical Science; Life on Earth and beyond; The Story of Space, the coolest jobs in science, the world of wearable tech and celebrating women in science are just some of the events on offer announced today as part of the fourth World Science Festival Brisbane from 20 -24 March 2019.

Presented by Queensland Museum the festival brings some of Australia’s and the world’s most eminent scientists and educators out of the labs and into Brisbane’s Cultural Precinct and regional Queensland.

The 2019 program focuses on brave new ideas as panellist’s debate the colossal challenges confronting humankind in the face of over-population and escalating climate change.

Experts from around the globe will discuss the changes to the Great Barrier Reef, the wonder and fragility of Antarctica, endangered species and the confrontational experimentations in  de-extinction, and the most fundamental challenge: feeding the world in the future.

The centrepiece of the festival this year will be the gala event, a unique fusion of science and art aptly named ‘Time and the creative cosmos’ that celebrates the human spirit of exploration and discovery. 

An impressive line-up of international and national performers will join Brian Greene World Science Festival co-founder on stage for one show only at QPAC on Saturday 23 March.

Brian Greene, will also bring his new show ‘We will be Martians: Our Future on the Red Planet’ to the mainstage when he explores the challenges of sending humans to Mars.

Using projection, sound and lighting, audiences will be able to experience life on another planet through a virtual Mars on stage, as we contemplate what it will take to become a space-faring species.

Participants include Yvonne Cagle (US) NASA astronaut and physician who now works on preserving historic NASA space legacy data and Australian born NASA astronaut and the first Australian to fly in space Andrew Thomas.

Other key note speakers joining the festival line up in 2019 are Tim Flannery palaeontologist, explorer, conservationist, and 2007 Australian of the Year who will be presenting the ‘SCIENTIA ADDRESS’ alongside frequent collaborator and science enthusiast John Doyle.

The history of science in Antarctica and the impact of climate change on wildlife conservation, tourism and Southern Ocean fisheries will be examined in a powerful presentation of ‘ANTARTICA: What happens there matters everywhere’ lead by Gwen Fenton, Australian Antarctic Division Chief Scientist and Tas van Ommen, Program Leader, Antarctica and the Global System at Australian Antarctic Division.

Internationally renowned Virginijus Siksnys, Head at the Institute of Biotechnology at Vilnius University in Lithuania, and part of the team who won the prestigious 2018 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience for their discovery of the powerful new gene-editing technique CRISPR-Cas9 will headline an international panel explaining CRISPR: The Modern Creation Story.

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is a technology allowing scientists to edit genes in living cells and can be used as a treatment for many genetic diseases, detecting and treating cancers, and bioengineering new crops and plants.

Be prepared to be amused and amazed as Australia’s favourite science communicator Dr Karl Kruszelnicki returns for Extreme Moments in Science. Dr Karl will once again take you on an excursion around a scientific landscape from the sublime moments of deep thought to the arcane and bizarre.

One of the most popular attractions back again at the festival is ‘The Hatchery’, showcasing and supporting turtle conservation, where visitors will have the opportunity to view baby loggerhead turtles hatching from eggs that are incubated onsite and timed to emerge during the festival.

The popular and FREE Street Science! extravaganza, will also return and change Brisbane’s Cultural Forecourt into a massive science experiment for two days (23-24 March), with free hands-on activities for everyone, including robots, drones, and explosive science shows on the Osmosis Stage.

World Science Festival Brisbane Regional Program

The festival will increase its reach beyond Brisbane with its 2019 regional program including Gladstone, Townsville, Ipswich, Toowoomba and Chinchilla.

The programs are designed to bring a sense of wonder, imagination and creativity together to further engage regional communities in science and STEM-related activities such as discussions with leading scientists, workshops, and hands-on activities. 

  • Gladstone: 1 and 2 March 2019
  • Townsville: 8 and 9 March 2019
  • Ipswich:  17 and 18 March 2019
  • Toowoomba: 22 and 23 March 2019
  • Chinchilla: 29 and 30 March 2019

For more information and to purchase tickets visit



Media contacts:

Kylie Hay, Senior Media Officer, Queensland Museum
M: 0434 565 852 or P: (07) 3842 9388

Christine Robertson, Senior Media Officer, Queensland Museum
M: 0417 741 710 or P: (07) 3840 7789