The festival that spends 10 days exploring the fascinating nexus of arts and science is back.

The World Science Festival Brisbane (March 15 to 24) is the only global spin-off of the World Science Festival New York, founded by renowned physicist Professor Brian Greene and Emmy Award-winning journalist Tracy Day.

Professor Greene will feature at the Brisbane event with three shows of Beyond the Stars at QPAC,  taking us on a multimedia journey across the cosmos.

This festival has a mix of more than 50 free and ticketed events, including two world premieres, one Australian premiere and more than 10 events exclusive to Brisbane.

Intriguing exhibitions and performances will stretch out from the host venue, Queensland Museum, down the river to South Bank and west to the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.

This year’s festival program will embrace the theme Thinkers and Dreamers as it delves into vast realms of knowledge and pushes the boundaries of our understanding to reveal the impact of science, whether it’s transforming medicine or technology or our understanding of the natural world.

The festival will ask questions such as – can machines read minds? Neuroscientists in Australia and the US have made remarkable strides in harnessing the power of AI to read the brain’s electrical signals, translating them into natural language.

Machines that can read minds and can give voice to the voiceless sounds incredible but what does this mean for people? Leading researchers and privacy experts join Professor Greene to explore the function and ethical implications of this technological breakthrough in Decoding Thought: AI’s New Breakthroughs and Boundaries.

The prospect of a moon landing in 2025 will be explored in Space Rocks to Moon Rocks: NASA Frontiers, following NASA’s successful Osiris Rex mission which returned samples of an asteroid to Earth after a seven-year mission. The samples will make their way to Australia as top scientists join Professor Greene to discuss the revelations of Osiris Rex, the new Artemis mission and Australia’s involvement in both.

Planet advocate and environmental provocateur Craig Reucassel will present Dream on: The Waste and Climate War, as he leads a battalion of scientists on a quest to uncover practical solutions that empower all of us in the battle against waste.

ABC’s weather expert Nate Byrne will set out on a journey to the beating burning heart of volcanoes to reveal how they have shaped the landscape and life on our planet in Everything You Need to Know About: Volcanoes.

And there is so much more including an arts component, which  has always been important to the festival. This year we see the Australian debut of Karina Smigla-Bobinski’s interactive sculpture ADA using a post-digital drawing machine. It promises to be a festival highlight at South Bank’s Cultural Forecourt. With cutting-edge technology, the artist explores one of the most primal forms of communication, that of mark-making.

Using an enormous floating orb Smigla-Bobinski creates much more than a drawing, but also a conceptual artwork at the intersection of art and computer science.

First Nations knowledge is also a key part of the festival, with the Australian premiere of The Earth Above: A Deep Time View of Australia’s Epic History – exploring Australia’s past 140,000 years in a movie-length full-dome experience at The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.

Talks on First Nations food and astronomy and the impact and recovery from the Black Summer Bushfires of 2019 also features in a busy speakers’ program.

The large-scale immersive installation Ghost Nets of Pormpuraaw intimately shows the impact of pollution on our environment and First Nations culture. The artists from Pormpuraaw Art and Cultural Centre on Cape York have created a community hub on Country on the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria, which is now world renowned for recycling dumped washed up fishing nets known as ghost nets into stunning large-scale colourful sculptures.

Their artistic skill transforms the plastic fishing nets from rubbish illegally dumped by commercial fishers at sea and collected along their beach into moving sculptures representing their totems and, in the process, showing us all how to transform what burdens us.

The exhibit Tectonic Resonance reinvents the Pelican Ponds in the Cultural Precinct with 3D printed sculptures and sound works that explore parallels between ancient geological formations and new modes of fabrication.

Queensland Museum CEO Dr Jim Thompson says the festival highlights how important science is as a cornerstone of progress for society.

“This year’s program promises to captivate and inspire, bringing science to life in ways that will get people excited about the science and innovation taking place,” Dr Thompson says.

“This festival presents a unique mix of scientists, science communicators, academics, artists, musicians and comedians to remind us that while science is educational it can also be a lot of fun.”

To prove this, the festival brings back Night of the Nerds with comedian Mark Humphries leading two all-star teams of scientists, tech heads and funny people as they face off in a series of challenges to lead their team to the ultimate nerdy triumph.

ABC super nerd Tegan Taylor, News Breakfast weather presenter Nate Byrne, The Chasers’ Craig Reucassel, astrophysicist Kirsten Banks and the house super band fronted by Patience Hodgson (The Grates), alongside Georgie Browning (Velociraptor, Babaganouj), Jen Boyce (Ball Park Music), Paul Furness (Ball Park Music) and Simi Lacroix will add a touch of razzle-dazzle to the fun and frivolity of the night.





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