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  • Open today 9am–5pm
  • Free general admission

Conversations Across the Creek

Friday 12 October 2018, 1–5.30pm | Free | Registrations essential | Visions Theatre

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Conversations Across the Creek is an initiative by the Humanities Research Centre and the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University to stimulate research and teaching collaborations across different fields of research.

Join us for the fourth ‘conversation’ for 2018 on the topic ‘Creators of Culture: Scientists in Australian Fiction’. The speakers will explore the representations and dynamics of scientists in Australian fiction, and why they matter.

Special guest: Peter Goldsworthy AM, award-winning poet and writer

Glassblowing performance by Mark Eliott





1.15–1.30pm Introduction Official welcome by the curator, Will Christie, with Anna-Sophie Jürgens
1.30–2.15pm Talk: Heroic scientists in Antarctica Elizabeth Leane on the role of the heroic scientist in the Australia–Antarctica connection, with a particular focus on Mawson and Antarctic thrillers.
  • Elizabeth Leane, University of Tasmania
  • Anna-Sophie Jürgens, convener
2.15–2.30pm Short break  
2.30–3.45pm Lecture: Honk if you love science Lecture by Peter Goldsworthy followed by a round table discussion on scientists in Australian fiction and language and/as science and culture.
  • Peter Goldsworthy, award-winning poet and writer
  • Anna-Sophie Jürgens, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University
  • Rebecca Hendershott, Biological Anthropology, CASS, Australian National University
  • Catherine Travis, School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, CASS; Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, Australian National University
  • Elizabeth Leane, University of Tasmania
  • Will Christie, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University
3.45–4.15pm Book signing  
4–4.30pm Performance: The wonders of cloud essence In this demonstration exceptional Australian scientist Mark Eliott will discuss his vitally important research into ‘cloud essence’, a mysterious and sublime substance purported, since ancient times, to exist between the molecules in water vapour. Then witness, and possibly even participate in, the blowing of a miniature glass cloud.

Glassblowing performance by Mark Eliott

4.30–5.30pm Talks:

Science, science fiction and Australia

Fact and fancy: The uses of real-world science in science-fictive settings

Accuracy or inspiration: Portrayals of science in popular fiction

'Science, science fiction and Australia' will explore strategies deployed in science fiction literature to develop imaginary concepts of science and technology: the fictionalisation and spectacularisation of scientific knowledge, its accuracy and data – and the power of fiction to stage scientific innovation.

Rebecca Hendershott, convener

Sabrina Caldwell, Computer Science, Australian National University

Brad Tucker, Cosmology and Extragalactic Astronomy

5.30pm Conclusion Anna-Sophie Jürgens, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University

Please note the program is subject to change

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