In summary

Swinburne invites you to take a journey through the cosmos in a series of fun and interactive activities as part of National Science Week.

For this year’s National Science Week, Swinburne invites you to take a journey through the cosmos in a series of fun and interactive activities.

Women in Space

We will launch into the week with two special events. On Monday 17 August, the Swinburne Space Office will host a Women in Space panel, moderated by Swinburne Dean of Science Professor Virginia Kilborn, where women in roles across the space sector in Australia will share all the exciting things they do in space. The panellists include:

  • Kim Ellis is the discipline co-ordinator for Space Technology at Swinburne. Kim is an international lawyer and space research professional with a background in metals, mining and mineral processing. She is a specialist in designing and delivering Lunar, Interplanetary, Space Resource Utilisation, Innovation and International Space Law workshops in collaboration with NASA and ESA and STEM activities for students in the US and Australia and online technical education programs.
  • Dr Deanne Fisher, whose research at Swinburne is characterising the properties of galaxies and determining how they relate to galaxy evolution.
  • Anu Rajendran is a PhD researcher at the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation at Deakin University. Anu’s research focuses on the human factors of going to space and using technology as a tool to assist astronauts mitigate risk, manage emergencies and monitor physiological and psychological health of the crew for long duration missions.

Register here to receive the link to the event. 

A Flash of Discovery

Later in the day, the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing will present its annual State of the Universe talk virtually.

To join Dr Jielai Zhang online for an interactive lecture uncovering the State of the Transient Universe, please register here.

SciVR livestream event

We will end National Science Week with a bang with the SciVR live-stream talk by Dr Rebecca Allen and Professor Alan Duffy.

Through the immersive medium of virtual reality, the two astrophysicists will guide participants on an exploration of the origins of mysterious and energetic phenomena, tracking events as they occur.

“The Universe is waiting to be discovered – from special global events using dozens of telescopes to daily monitoring of the radio sky in Australia,” says Dr Allen. “We will take you on the hunt for things that go boom!”

Dr Allen and Professor Duffy will share research using Australian facilities, like the CSIRO Parkes telescope, to reveal more about the nature of these extreme and transiting objects.

You can join them live on Friday 21 August at 8.00pm AEST for the online streaming talk for adults and on Saturday 22 August at 11.30am AEST for the online streaming talk for families.

SciVR is available free for Apple or Android, on whatever smartphone you have, and is best enjoyed through our foldable headsets or through google cardboard. If you don't have a headset, don’t worry, SciVR will still let you explore the cosmos in non-VR mode.

Download the free app at

Astro in the Home

Throughout the week, you’ll be able to try your own astronomy experiments at home through the new Youtube series Astro in the Home, being launched by ASTRO 3D, the ARC Centre of Excellence in All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions, of which Swinburne is a member.  

Find out how to measure the speed of light in your kitchen or explore the colours of galaxies using cleaning supplies.

One new video will be posted every day during National Science Week (15-23 August).

Each video will feature an astronomer taking you through a space activity you can do within your own home, while explaining how it relates to their own ASTRO 3D research.

“Our astronomers are searching to understand the evolution of the matter, light and elements from the Big Bang to the present day. With this series, you can do the same,” says series creator Emma Barnett.

You can learn how to break light into a rainbow, model the Universe in your own backyard and make a mini light-bending galaxy.