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Science festival raising the bar

HAVING returned for its third year, Tasmania’s unique pop-up science bar BeakerStreet@TMAG presented two mind-expanding nights of talks, debates, drinks and live music at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) during National Science Week.

More than 150 scientists and artists from across Australia took part in the festival’s biggest and most ambitious program to date.

Beaker Street director Dr Margo Adler said the two-night event expanded to utilise a number of different spaces around Hobart.

“Part of the festival was that we showed people the science behind everyday life and gave them an inside look into things – one part of that was an inside look into some of Hobart’s iconic buildings like the Town Hall and Town Hall Underground,” she said.

Along with the events happening within TMAG, Beaker Street also featured a series of ticketed, hands-on workshops in the Town Hall Underground where participants leant about topics from the science of brewing and winemaking to scientific illustration and astronomy.

Four world-leading scientists also presented a series of talks at Town Hall on the Friday, with the speaker and audience being escorted to TMAG by a group of lively musicians following the talk.

Other events included a half-day guided walk following the footsteps of Charles Darwin on kunanyi, scientific storytelling at the Story Bar at MACq01 Hotel, Antarctic tales at Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum, and a special tasting and workshop at Federation Artisan Chocolate on the science of chocolate making.

“There were all sorts of things for people coming to the event who aren’t necessarily into science,” Dr Adler said.

“I just wanted to expand people’s minds a bit so they could discover the science in everyday life.”

Notable features of the event included a Mona invasive species cocktail bar, a Tasmanian Whisky Week Distillers’ Bar, and a Retro Video Game Arcade where guests could play games from decades past and talk to tech experts about how gaming technology has changed.

There were also seven bars scattered around TMAG for guests to taste Tasmania’s finest food and drink.

“I’m constantly amazed by the outpouring of enthusiasm and support from the community for this festival,” Dr Adler said.

“We had so many incredible local and visiting scientists involved – it’s pretty astounding to get them all together in one place at the same time, and such a fantastic opportunity for the public to chat with scientists in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.”

Caption: From left, wine scientist Peter Dredge, BeakerStreet@TMAG director Dr Margo Adler and McHenry Distillery brand ambassador Kayne Blazely-Kelly.