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Martians and fireballs descend on Gladstone for World Science Festival

It’s the only festival of its kind in the entire Asia Pacific region, and it is all starting in Gladstone this year, with talks from a Mars One astronaut candidate and street science demonstrations featuring fireballs and liquid nitrogen concoctions. 

This year’s World Science Festival is launching-off in Gladstone and marks the beginning of a month-long extravaganza of science activities across Queensland.

In Gladstone to launch the World Science Festival regional program, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said this one-of-a-kind event in the region, which was expected to attract more than 4000 people, took science out of the laboratories and onto the streets.

“It’s wonderful we are able to launch this year’s World Science Festival regional program in Gladstone,” Ms Enoch said.

“As part of this year’s program, this community will be able to immerse themselves into the humorous journey of Mars One astronaut candidate, comedian and physicist Josh Richards, whose presentation is inspired by his new book, Becoming Martian.

“Josh is in the running for Mars One, which hopes to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars.

“We’ve also got Street Science Steve and his team here in Gladstone, who are bound to blow the audience away with fireball, explosion and liquid nitrogen demonstrations.”

The World Science Festival has had its home in USA for 11 years, and in 2016 the Palaszczuk Government was proud to secure the festival in Queensland.

“It’s the only festival of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region and it will help enhance Queensland’s international profile as a leader in science, technology, engineering and maths.”

Queensland Museum Network Acting CEO Dr Jim Thompson said the festival’s regional program gave Queenslanders an excellent opportunity to have fun while gaining better insight into the latest scientific advancements shaping our world.

“Science is a bit of a mystery to most people, involving foreign concepts and occurring behind closed doors, but this festival is designed to allow science to be enjoyed by everyone,” Dr Thompson said.

“Feedback from previous regional events has been overwhelmingly positive, with more than 4000 people attending Gladstone events alone last year.

“I encourage our communities to take advantage of the opportunity to be inspired and surprised through the activities and events on offer as part of our regional program.”

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said he was excited this year’s regional program was launched in Gladstone.

“This is great for our region and puts us on the map as a leader in the science and technology industry,” he said.

“It is fantastic Gladstone is once again able to experience the variety of activities World Science Festival has to offer.”

Minister Enoch also thanked QGC, the community partner in Gladstone, for their support of the regional component of the festival and for the company’s efforts in promoting STEM learning as part of its Future Makers partnership with Queensland Museum.

The World Science Festival Brisbane regional program visits Chinchilla on 9-10 March, Toowoomba 16-17 March, Ipswich 22 March, and Townsville 25-26 March, with the main festival program staged in Brisbane 21-25 March.

For more information on the World Science Festival 2018 program, including regional activities, visit

Photo: Street Science Steve courtesy of World Science Festival Brisbane, Queensland Museum.