Science Weeks and Years

Parliament house flag post

Science Weeks and Years

Posted 11/08/2011 by Matthew James

National Science Week, 13-21 August 2011
National Science Week (13-21 August) is now upon us, with more than one thousand events across the country. Also unfolding, with perhaps less publicity, is the International Year of Chemistry. Both foster public awareness of science and technology and associated careers.

International Year of Chemistry 2011

The United Nations declared 2011 the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) under the unifying theme ‘Chemistry—Our Life, Our Future’. Here, the International Year of Chemistry celebrates the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind, with opportunities for public participation (particularly for young people and women), at the local, regional, national and international levels. The IYC Opening Ceremony was preceded by the first IYC 2011 global activity celebrating women in chemistry.

The Year also celebrates the 100th anniversary of Madame Marie Curie’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry and the founding of the then International Association of Chemical Societies. During the IYC, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry is led by its first female president. As part of the IYC, prominent scientists highlight advances in chemistry and its role in solving major problems faced by humanity in energy, food, water and health.

For Australia, a coordinating body is the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI). As well as supporting the professional needs and interests of its members, the Institute advocates the importance of chemistry to the public, to educational institutions, to industry, and to government. Each year in July, the RACI produces National Chemistry Week, a campaign that promotes chemistry to the general public, and this year’s week has recently concluded.

When launching the IYC in Australia during February, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr noted that the Excellence in Research for Australia 2010 National Report confirmed that chemistry is an area of notable strength for Australia. According to the report, of the research units assessed in this area, 86 per cent were rated at world standard or above. The Australian Academy of Science through the National Committee for Chemistry also promotes the IYC.

International Week of Science and Peace

Globally, the International Week of Science and Peace has been observed every November since 1986. The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 43/61 in December 1988, which proclaims the “International Week of Science and Peace”, to take place each year during the week in which 11 November falls. The associated “World Science Day for Peace and Development” is on 10 November 2011. However, there appears to be minimal local commemoration.

National Science Week 2011 and Inspiring Australia

On the other hand, Australia’s National Science Week (13–21 August 2011) provides many public events across the nation with ongoing support from the Federal Government and key science industry bodies like the CSIRO, with the ABC and the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA). The Week aims to take science into schools, workplaces, cultural organisations, community groups, shopping centres and public spaces. The event will engage people across Australia with scientific displays, shows, theatrical events, debates, workshops, and projects with an aim to celebrate science in all its forms and benefits.

National Science Week now serves as part of the Inspiring Australia program, which received 2011–12 Budget funding of $21 million over 3 years. In February 2010, the report Inspiring Australia: a national strategy for engagement with the sciences was launched by Innovation Minister Carr. The report was the first national strategy for science communication in Australia. The Australian Government’s Science portal website provides details of our national capabilities. Also note that the Royal Institution of Australia has programs in public science education, akin to a national science exchange that support Science Week.

Despite the important ideas behind National Science Week, and its undoubted successes, there remains the question of whether it is essentially ‘preaching to the converted.’ Those who are already in some way interested in or knowledgeable about science take advantage of what is on offer, but how is Australia’s general science education faring? And how good is the public’s level of scientific awareness, at a time when scientific findings underpin many political decisions and areas of national discourse? These questions may form part of the Inspiring Australia agenda into the years ahead.

(Image source: Australia's Chief Scientist)

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament elections climate change social security women welfare reform taxation Indigenous Australians Australian Defence Force welfare policy school education higher education private health insurance health financing emissions trading Middle East Senate Australian Bureau of Statistics employment people trafficking Asia statistics illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 Australian Public Service income management Medicare disability Sport United Nations environment industrial relations constitution transport politics criminal law Afghanistan health forced labour food public service reform aged care aid Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget Carbon Pricing Mechanism dental health international relations governance regulation Fair Work Act voting law enforcement electoral reform OECD Australian Electoral Commission WADA child protection poker machines Australia in the Asian Century steroids National Disability Insurance Scheme detention 43rd Parliament slavery health system leadership domestic violence parliamentary procedure International Women's Day accountability defence capability multiculturalism ASADA Australian Federal Police labour force people smuggling debt New Zealand Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme political parties coal seam gas Human rights crime China Census election results UK Parliament Papua New Guinea banking corruption pensions children's health Aviation federal election 2013 foreign debt gross debt net debt Senators and Members ALP Newstart Parenting Payment Youth Allowance sea farers United Kingdom energy food labelling Australian economy violence against women vocational education and training military history by-election High Court skilled migration mental health Federal Court terrorist groups science social media Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations youth paid parental leave same sex relationships customs planning doping health risks Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy ANZUS Rural and regional trade unions Foreign affairs election timetable Indigenous royal commission Productivity firearms public policy Population ADRV terrorism transparency research and development welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union family assistance United Nations Security Council forestry Drugs welfare systems Indonesia children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report social inclusion paternalism environmental law US presidential election nutrition ODA Defence sitting days electoral divisions Southeast Asia administrative law universities TAFE Ireland citizenship asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity standards NATO Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse World Trade Organization Australia public health housing affordability bulk billing water health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation public housing expertise climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution Turkey Syria marine pollution sustainability prisons police deaths in custody electoral margins electoral pendulum electoral redistribution redistribution NSW redistribution WA redistribution ACT electoral boundaries ASEAN Sustainable Development Goals Double dissolution Senators safety vehicles MYEFO Pathology tertiary education Taiwan Xi Ma meeting family violence government financial advisers financial planners Financial System Inquiry Murray Inquiry China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers First speech defence budget submarines workers Somalia GDP world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office work-life balance

Show all
Show less
Back to top