21 January 2008

More than 200 high school students from Queensland and northern New South Wales will converge on The University of Queensland tomorrow to discover the wonders of science and technology.

The Siemens Science Experience, which runs from January 22 to 24, will be a fun three days of hands-on science activities for students about to enter Year 10, including a group of indigenous students from as far away as Doomadgee, in far north Queensland.

Students will help catch a fiendish criminal using forensic osteology techniques; discover how computational science can be used to explore some of the hows and whys of plant growth; investigate the human brain and its building block the neuron; extract DNA; locate animals using radio-tracking; and examine how game show contestants maximise their winnings.

UQ director of The Siemens Science Experience Dr Adrian Bradley said the university environment would provide enriching science experiences not normally available in schools.

“The students will get the opportunity to experience the wonder of science while demystifying what goes on at a university,” Dr Bradley said.

“Often the bridge between school and university is a large one to cross and the Siemens Science Experience aims to change that while giving students a hands-on opportunity to learn from various experts and find out what careers are available within the scientific field.”

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield will deliver the welcoming address at the opening ceremony on Tuesday, January 22 at the Steele Lecture Theatre at 9am followed by Alexandra Pelvin from Biotechnology Australia who will speak on emerging areas and careers in biotechnology.

The Siemens Science Experience has run at UQ since the early 1990s and has seen thousands of school students exposed to areas including anatomy, quantum physics, engineering, chemistry, computational science, robotics, mathematics, neurophysiology, materials science and biology. The program began in Melbourne in 1990 and now runs at 34 universities throughout Australia.

The event is supported by Rotary, Biotechnology Australia and the Queensland Museum, and will conclude on Thursday, January 24, when another 210 students from similar programs at Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology will come together at UQ for the closing ceremony.

Media inquiries: Dr Adrian Bradley (3365 3386 or 0419 796 553) or Andrew Dunne at UQ Communications (3365 2802 or 0433 364 181).