QM brings WSF back for 2021
A liquid nitrogen explosion at Sunday’s launch of World Science Festival Brisbane 2021 at the Queensland Museum.
Toby Crockford, World Science Festival back with a bang in Brisbane, Brisbane Times, 7 February 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has focused the world’s attention on science like never before, and Queensland will celebrate the field when the World Science Festival returns next month.
The festival, which started in New York before launching in Brisbane five years ago, fell victim to COVID-19 last year, when the virus reached Queensland just a matter of days after the official launch.
Having attracted more than 700,000 visitors since 2016 and injected $32 million into the state’s economy, WSF 2021 is on track to run in Brisbane and extend out to regional areas.
Queensland Museum chief executive Dr Jim Thompson said there would be something for everyone, with more than 120 events across 10 Brisbane locations – from auditoriums to city streets.
“One silver lining from the pandemic is we all have to acknowledge that science is now much more relevant and important to us than ever before,” he said. “More than ever, the world needs science to provide the answers to the big problems.
“[We will cover] everything from combating pandemics to natural disasters, tackling climate change, Australian bushfires, planning truly smart and connected cities, and navigating the future of the universe.”
Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch said there would be changes to this year’s popular City of Science program.
“For the first time, the City of Science will make the festival accessible across 10 Brisbane precincts, with 86 events,” she said.
“[There will be] live performances, conversations and experiences bubbling away across suburbs from Mount Coot-tha to the Queen Street Mall, Kingston to Carindale, West End to Fortitude Valley, the Queensland Cultural Centre and more.
“Regional Queensland will also have the chance to get hands-on throughout the year, with the World Science Festival travelling to Chinchilla, Gladstone, Toowoomba, Townsville and Ipswich.”
Last year’s festival launch came just days before Queensland declared a health emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s hard to imagine that 12 months ago we were getting ready for WSF in 2020 and, of course, we know the events of 2020 and the impacts they had on festivals across the state,” Ms Enoch said.
Deputy Mayor Cr Krista Adams said apart from Brisbane, New York was the only place to see the World Science Festival, but the United States continues to struggle with COVID-19.
“It is fantastic to see that Brisbane can host events like this – and why not? Our history as a medical and scientific city is growing,” she said.
“We’ve got fantastic leaders like Professor Dorothy Hill, the first female president of the Australian Academy of Sciences, Professor Ian Frazer, the inventor of the human papillomavirus vaccine, and Brisbane company Ellume, which just supplied mass kits for [COVID-19] testing to the United States.”
Presenter, author and science communicator Dr Karl Kruszelnicki returns to impart his wisdom in 2021, having been a fan favourite in previous years.
“Science is not a bunch of facts, science is a way to not get fooled. So science tells us that vaccinations work, fluoride is good for your teeth, and global warming is real,” he said.
World Science Festival Brisbane runs from March 24 to 28. For more information and tickets, visit worldsciencefestival.com.au.