2017 Science Festival Highlights

Keynote Event - Feed the World: Q&A Panel and Exhibition

Billions of people struggle every day to get enough food to meet their basic energy and nutrient requirements, while those of us in wealthy countries generally eat too much and waste huge amounts of food. Add the impacts of climate change and the situation looks grim. How can science, technology, and society work together to solve these interconnected problems?

An expert panel of researchers and activists from the university and not-for-profit sectors, including OzHarvest and World Vision discuss how we might feed the world now and into the future, and answer questions about the future of agriculture, food distribution, nutrition and consumption.

Panel moderated by Professor Uma Kothari, Director of the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester and Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Melbourne. Panel members:

  • Ronni Kahn – CEO of food rescue charity OzHarvest
  • Professor Herbert Kronzucker – Global agriculture researcher and Head, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne
  • Tony Rinaudo – Natural Resources Management Specialist, World Vision Australia
  • Dr Seona Candy – Future city researcher, CRC for Low Carbon Living, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne

Public Lecture - The Anthropocene: How humans are changing the geological behaviour of Earth
Presented by A/Prof Mark Quigley

Our planet is more than 4.5 billion years old. It has operated without human intervention for almost all its life. The spread of human influence on landscapes expanded greatly throughout the Holocene, and exploded in the mid 20th century. We now have created a distinct global stratigraphic layer that uniquely fingerprints our impact on Earth. We re-distribute masses in our continents at a scale that influences the heights of mountains and changes the frequency and severity of earthquakes. This talk discusses the emergence of the Anthropocene as a new geologic epoch.

Melbourne Graduate School Dean's Lecture Series 2017 - Opportunities and Obstacles for STEM Education
Presented by Professor Jan van Driel

Although the acronym STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has gained substantial traction around the globe in the last decade, its educational implication is much debated. Interpretations of STEM education differ in their emphases, for instance, on interdisciplinarity or integration, on developing skills such as critical thinking or creativity, or on introducing contemporary content (e.g. robotics, virtual reality). In any case, there is an expectation that STEM education will boost student interest and achievement, and that pursuing STEM studies will enhance students’ employability. Yet, implementation of STEM education poses serious challenges for schools and teachers in terms of curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and organisation. This presentation explores the longitudinal research needed to determine the impact of STEM education on students, teachers and schools.