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Students learn about stars, space and sharks

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Six local primary schools collaborated with the School of Science at Curtin University to host the inaugural ‘Space, Stars and Sharks – Eminent Speakers Event’ last week.

The evening event offered families an exciting and rare opportunity to hear from and meet eminent Western Australian scientists who are leaders in their fields.

Saint Johns Primary School students (Scarborough) Luke Ranalli, William Hunt and Joseph Singleton

Families were able to discover the amazing science that is currently happening in WA, be inspired about the world around us and find out how they can become involved. The event was aimed at parents and students from years 5, 6 and 7, though the general public were welcome too.

Speakers included world renowned scientists and WA residents Professor Steven Tingay and Dr Brad Norman.

 “Outreach events like this are a great way to showcase WA science to young people, and perhaps ignite a spark to study science more in the future,” Dean of Science at Curtin University, Professor Jo Ward said.
Professor Steven Tingay specialises in radio astronomy. His research includes study of astronomic phenomena including super massive black holes, exploding stars and jets from binary star systems. Professor Tingay is also involved in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA is the next generation radio telescope and will be the largest in the world. It is currently in the planning stage with WA short-listed to host this amazing scientific instrument.

L to R) Ric Johnson (Rostrata PS), Steven Tingay (Curtin Astronomy), Lyn Beazley (Chief Scientist), James Arcus (12 year old from West Leeming PS and very keen scientist), Brad Norman (Ecocean and whale shark expert), Sherryl Crouch (MC and Burrendah PS Science Teacher), Emma Donnelly (Curtin Science Outreach Coordinator and organiser)

Brad Norman is an expert on whalesharks (the largest living fish species on Earth). While whale sharks are huge, they are gentle giants and not much is known about them. This lack of information prompted Brad to begin the ECOCEAN project. Through this project, he has been able to find out a lot more about whalesharks, their movements around the world’s oceans and how to make sure they are protected.

An introductory address was given by WA Chief Scientist, Professor Lyn Beazley.

This was a joint initiative between School of Science at Curtin University, Brentwood Primary School, Brookman Primary School, Burrendah Primary School, Parkwood Primary School, Rostrata Primary School and Willetton Primary School that are connected through their science network.


Emma Donnelly, Science Outreach Coordinator, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 1021, Mobile: 0408 955234; Email:

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