The Sydney Science Festival returns in 2018 with a program of astronomical proportions. Taking place from Tuesday 7 – Sunday 19 August, the Festival rockets into venues around Sydney and is overflowing with hands on science experiences for all ages.

Featuring 13 days jam-packed with over 200 events across 90 venues, the Sydney Science Festival brings together some of the greatest minds in science today, including Sydney Science Festival Ambassador and astronomer, Lisa Harvey-Smith, Indigenous Astronomer Kirsten Banks, leading Artificial Intelligence expert Ellen Broad, A.I. researcher Toby Walsh, comedian and public health practitioner Alanta Colley, former Greens leaderBob Brown, and 2018 Australian of the Year quantum physicist Michelle Simmons.
“Innovation is an essential part of any growing city. The Sydney Science Festival gives industry leaders and emerging talent a unique opportunity to both share and showcase their vision for a smarter future. With such a diverse line-up of speakers and exhibitions hosted across some of Sydney’s most iconic venues, including the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo, I’m confident that this year’s Festival will be our most ambitious and successful to date,” said Minister for the Arts, The Hon. Don Harwin.
Now in its fourth year, Sydney Science Festival is produced by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) and the Australian Museum as part of National Science Week, in partnership with Inspiring Australia.
“Last year saw 70,000 fans attend over 180 events, presented by 60 partners at the Sydney Science Festival. The incredible program for this year’s Festival provides an opportunity for the general public, both young and old, to come together to understand and marvel at how science influences every aspect of our lives. As STEAM disciplines become increasing important to future economies museums such as MAAS have a key role to play in engaging and educating students in real-world applications of STEAM subjects,” said MAAS Director of Programs and Engagement, Tristan Sharp.
On Thursday 9 August, after-hours favourite MAASLive Lates: Science returns to the Powerhouse Museum to celebrate the launch of the Festival. This free event is your chance meet experts, get creative with a range of hands-on activities, tour exhibitions and chat with curators in a huge night of science.
Program Highlights
What happens when galaxies collide? It might sound like an abstract question, but it’s one that our descendants might need to worry about. Sydney Science Festival Ambassador,Lisa Harvey-Smith presents a lively talk on how a future collision between our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and its nearest neighbour will bring dramatic changes to our night sky. Lisa Harvey-Smith Keynote: When Galaxies Collide will take place on Friday 10 August, the possible galaxy collision on the other hand wont be for at least 3.8 billion years!
Get set for some outdoor fun with Science in the Swamp at Centennial Park. The FREE day is a favourite among families and this year’s theme “Dinosaur vs Superpower” will combine two of kid’s favourites. With roving dinosaurs and scientists on hand to point out amazing super powers found in nature, it’s an action packed day of fun. And don’t forget to come in your superhero outfit!
More family-focused events include the hands-on Super Science Saturday at the Australian Museum and Big Science Day at the Powerhouse Museum where interactive science shows and demonstrations will have the museum buzzing with science action.
A highlight of the Festival will be a new exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum. Art, science and speculation converge in Human Non-Humanan exhibition that asks “what makes us human and how might humans adapt in the future?”  The exhibition features four art commissions that incorporate architecture, design, robotics, biotechnology, chemistry, animism, film and performance to consider the entanglement between humans and technology. Featuring artists Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Lindsay Kelley, Ken Thaiday and Liam Young, Human Non-Human explores the themes of food, work, sex and belief.
Sit back and enjoy a special screening of the landmark documentary The Living Universe – It’s Time to Meet the Neighbours. The film is an extraplanetary search for life on other planets. After the film, a panel of eminent scientists, space engineers, biologists and philosophers will answer the audience’s burning questions. The Living Universe will take place on Thursday 9 August at Event Cinemas, George Street.
Take a look into the future with Good Robot/Bad Robot – Living with intelligent machines/living with artificial intelligenceLeading Artificial Intelligence expert Ellen Broad, A.I. researcher Toby Walsh and MIT Media Lab technologist Hae Won Park will try to answer the question “if robots can be everything from carers to warriors, what does this mean not just for human lives, but for the way we understand human intelligence, human values, and humanity itself?”
Celebrate the women of science in GenWomen: Scientists Smash the Glass Ceiling where six women from six generations of science, including Indigenous Astronomer Kirsten Banks, share their experiences and challenge the stereotypes and preconceptions about what being a scientist means.
Alanta Colley: Parasites Lost combines science communication, storytelling, and comedy in a parable on parasites. Join comedian and public health practitioner Alanta Colley as she takes audiences on an adventure, across the world and through her intestine; and learn about some of the world’s cheekiest micro-organisms, and how she contracted each of them. Alanta Colley: Parasites Lost takes place on Thursday 9 – 12 August.
Established in 1999, the Jack Beale Lecture Series provides an opportunity for a prominent individual to examine Australia’s environmental responsibilities, opportunities and performance within a global context. On Wednesday 15 August at the University of NSW, the series invites former Greens Leader and environmentalist Bob Brown to share his insights.
Five years ago, 2018 Australian of the Year Professor Michelle Simmons and her team developed the world’s first transistor made from a single atom, as well as the world’s thinnest wire. Now she is looking to build a quantum computer capable of solving problems in minutes, which would otherwise take thousands of years. Join Professor Simmons for an insightful discussion on her work launching Australia into “the space race of the computing era” in The Einstein Lecture: The Quantum Computing Revolution by Australian of the Year 2018 – Michelle Simmons. The lecture takes place Tuesday 14 August at the University of NSW.
This year Sydney Science Festival features 25 events in suburban libraries throughout Sydney. From Castle Hill, to Liverpool, Sutherland, Blacktown and Parramatta there are 25 scientists are ready to meet local communities and talk about their research. The libraries have experts on everything from women’s brains, robots, technology of the future, gut health, Antarctica, bilingualism and children’s brains.
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki tackles the big issues in the universe today, like how air conditioners are sexist and whether there could be life on one of Saturn’s moons in Dr Karl Out West on Wednesday 15 August.
Innovation Games is a free event full of new ways to taste, touch and see science in action. At Innovation Games on Saturday 18 August, Sydney Olympic Park will be buzzing with interactive displays, an augmented reality treasure hunt, live stage shows, games, gadgets, film and food.
The MAAS Indigenous Sciences Symposium 2018 is dedicated to honouring the next generation of Indigenous scientists and those who are supporting their development. Join in on two days of events to celebrate 60 000 years of technological advancement and eco-sustainable practices. Presenters include recipients of the CSIRO Indigenous STEM and IDX awards for their exceptional contribution to the advancement of Indigenous sciences and technology locally, nationally and globally.
The full Sydney Science Festival program is available online at For more information about National Science Week events visit