Sydney Science Festival presents a day of demonstrations, talks and hands-on activities at Parramatta – designed to inspire people of all ages. The theme Revival is applied to diverse scientific topics and brings attention to sustainability, environmental rejuvenation and recovery.

This free family-friendly event invites participants to engage with a range of scientific disciplines including medicine, ecology, climate change and astronomy.

Family Science Day is presented by Powerhouse as part of Sydney Science Festival in partnership with Western Sydney University and City of Parramatta.

Activities located in the Western Sydney University building are limited by capacity and are only accessible via elevator.  Indoor events are currently sold out. Outdoor events will be available for those registered.


Parramatta Square Stage Performances
Parramatta Square
Western Sydney University Level G
Western Sydney University Level 4
Western Sydney University Level 9



Parramatta Square Stage PROGRAM

10am The Vegetable Plot (Music)
11am Street Science (Show)
12pm The Vegetable Plot (Music)
1pm Street Science (Show)
2pm Lucky Lartey’s African Drums and Dance (Music)
3pm Street Science (Show)

The Vegetable Plot (Music)
Vegetable Plot uses the power of music and storytelling to help kids fall in love with veggies. Their songs are filled with jokes and puns to show kids that language is more than an instrument to pass a test, it’s something that can be used to play and create.

Lucky Lartey’s African Drums and Dance (Music)
African musicians, true drumming experts, will perform traditional rhythms and run workshops for children and adults. Participants will learn some drum techniques and discover how complex polyrhythms work.

Street Science (Show)
Experience a range of reactions as we investigate combustible fuels, create clouds and learn about weather patterns. There will be coloured fire, nappy science and plenty of fun for all ages!



Parramatta Square

10am – 4pm Planting Seeds & Bush Care (Drop in)
10am – 3pm Sydney Bats (Drop in)
10am – 4pm The Skeptics’ Mystery Investigators (Roving)
10am – 4pm Soul Street Brigade (Roving)
10am – 4pm Western Sydney University Solar Car (Drop in)
10am – 4pm FIZZICS (Drop in)
10am FIZZICS (Show)
12pm FIZZICS (Show)
2pm FIZZICS (Show)

Planting Seeds & Bush Care
Hear about all things biodiversity, pollination and citizen science at these talks! Get ready to contribute to global data that you can support from your own backyard. Learn about the vital role you, your family and your school community can have in helping threatened species to survive. Play spot the pollinator, make an observation or a blue-banded bee home and even grab a free plant too.

Sydney Bats
Parramatta has its very own huge Flying Fox camp on the river at North Parramatta where thousands of these alluring flying mammals live. At these flying fox talks, bat-expert ecologists will tell you all about these fascinating Australian native animals, why they’re important and how to live alongside them. Meet their special ‘education bats’ who are accustomed to being near people – it’s the closest you will ever get to bats!

The Mystery Investigators
The Mystery Investigators unlock the secrets behind strange and mysterious phenomena in this fun interactive show. Young sceptics will be encouraged to think beyond pseudo-science, learn how to bend spoons, try water-divining, and see a real bed of nails!

Soul Street Brigade
Soul, jazz and pop classics – experience music on the move with fun feels and funky vibes.

Western Sydney University Solar Car
The Western Sydney Solar Team is a group of 25 undergraduate students from Western Sydney University. The team pushes the boundaries of engineering design and manufacturing to build cars to compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The student led team strives to advance solar technology awareness and compete at the top of their challenges. Come see the solar car up close and ask the engineers questions.

From super cold liquid nitrogen to the quirky science behind toys, be amazed and get involved with some science that the whole family will love with the scientists from Fizzics Education. The Fizzics team will run experiments demonstrating scientific reactions with liquid nitrogen.

Powerhouse Parramatta
See designs for our new landmark museum Powerhouse Parramatta (under construction).



WSU Level G

Robots and Rovers
See demonstrations with our quarter scale replica of NASA’s 2011 Curiosity Mars Rover. The replica rovers were built by the Powerhouse workshop team using open-source schematics from NASA. Learn how small robots can be controlled using a visual coding language.


WSU Level 4

Room 1
10am – 4pm ArtBomb (Drop in)
Room 2
10am – 4pm Science Reading Nook (Drop in)
Room 3
12.30 – 1pm Speed Meet a Scientist
1.30 – 2pm Speed Meet a Scientist
2.30 – 3pm Speed Meet a Scientist

Fluffy is a playful sensory event for you and your little ones (0-5 years). This is a smaller version of the Fluffy that played Sydney Festival earlier this year. Come and discover the city’s shredded paper turned into a swirling, playful and gentle event.

Story Nook
Come and join us in this cozy little reading nook, full of fun science stories for families to read together.

Meet and Greet a Scientist
Come meet and find out about the incredible work these Scientists do. Each of the Scientists will talk about what they do and will be followed by a Q&A. Ask all the questions you have ever wanted answered on astronomy, health and medicine, climate change, and environmental science.

Gita Rahardj
Gita Rahardj is a molecular imaging biology research scientist in ANSTO. In her work, she uses nuclear technologies to show the characteristics and distribution of various molecules. Using these techniques, we can better understand how drugs work, the mechanisms of various diseases: what causes them and what we can do to cure and prevent them. She can also use her skills to better understand the impact of pollution in our environment.  Gita joined ANSTO in 2007 as technical officer whilst finishing her Master of Science research degree. Since then she has worked in the research industry, honed her skills overtime and have become an expert in the field of molecular imaging.

Dr Vipul Agarwal
Biomaterials and polymer expert, Dr Vipul Agarwal is a lecturer at the University of New South Wales who is developing implants to reverse paralysis in injured spinal cord patients. Another research interest is developing technology to solve the problem of plastic waste. Dr Agarwal is a chemist who has studied at three universities on two continents. He has travelled to 22 countries to explore local cuisines.

Associate Professor Wei Deng
Associate Professor Wei Deng from the UTS School of Biomedical Engineering is an expert in the application of nanotechnology in cancer treatment. She leads the UTS Cancer Nanotherapy Group, a pioneering transdisciplinary research team that spans nanobiotechnology, oncology, gene engineering and medical science to create new technologies for cancer and genetic disease treatment.

Dr Manuel Esperon-Rodriguez
Dr Manuel Esperon-Rodriguez is a Research Fellow Urban Transformation and Climate Change at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University. Manuel is interested in species’ responses to climatic and environmental changes, and his current research mainly focuses on urban and landscape ecology, vulnerability and climate change.

Dr Jiao Jiao Li
Biomedical Engineer Dr Jiao Li received a PhD from the University of Sydney and is currently a Lecturer at University of Technology Sydney and Research Team Leader. Li’s current research in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine focuses on repairing or regrowing damaged tissues and organs, with particular interest in bones and joints.

Dr Jasmin Martino
Dr Jasmin Martino is an environmental scientist at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). Jasmin uses isotopic and nuclear techniques to address current challenges for sustainable ecosystems, aquatic life, and food traceability. Her background is in marine ecology with a focus on developing and applying geochemical tracers and her work has contributed to the conservation and sustainable management of fish and octopus. Jasmin’s current research at ANSTO uses innovative analytical techniques to investigate food fraud by validating the origins of goods, such as seafood and indigenous foods.

Professor Zhenguo Huang
Hydrogen economy expert, Professor Zhenguo Huang is leading the Hydrogen Energy Program at the University of Technology Sydney. He was awarded a Discovery Early Career Research Award and Future Fellowships by the Australian Research Council. His research is centered on boron chemistry for energy conversion and storage. Interests include hydrogen storage materials, electrolytes, and two-dimensional boron-containing nanosheets.



WSU Level 9

10am – 4pm Rocket building (Drop in)
10am – 4pm Telescope viewing and planispheres (Drop in)
Conference Room 1
10am – 4pm The MARCS Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Development (Drop-in)
Conference Room 2
10am Surfing Scientist: The Alphabet of the Universe (Talk, 30 mins)
11am Surfing Scientist: Food 101 (Talk, 30 mins)
12pm Surfing Scientist: James Webb Telescope (Talk, 30 mins)
1pm Surfing Scientist: The Alphabet of the Universe (Talk, 30 mins)
2pm Surfing Scientist: Food 101 (Talk, 30 mins)
3pm Surfing Scientist: James Webb Telescope (Talk, 30 mins)
Conference Room 3
11 am Future Space Panel (Talk, 60 mins)
12 – 4pm Street Science Meet and Greet (when not on stage)
Conference Room 4
10am – 4pm 3D Printing and modelling (Drop-in)
10am – 4pm Sound Sandwiches (Drop-in)
10am – 4pm Coding electronics with ThinkerShield (Drop-in)

The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development is an interdisciplinary research institute of Western Sydney University. Hear from experts from three of their teams.

Robotics: What can robots teach us about humans, and vice versa? Interact with robots to learn more about social sentient and capable machines, as well as research in this field.
Neuroscience: Using a range of hands-on science experiences such as a EEG system, identify your brain’s hidden superpower.
Baby Science: How does your baby learn about the world? Come find out in the BabyLab with MARCS researchers.

Surfing Scientist: Ruben Meerman
Ruben Meerman, better known as the Surfing Scientist, is a surfer with a physics degree and a passion for all things scientific. He has appeared on ABC Television’s flagship science program, Catalyst, Studio 3, Sleek Geeks, Roller Coaster, Triple J’s Super Request and we the first ever resident scientist on Play School. He visits hundreds of primary and high schools every year.

The Alphabet of the Universe
The periodic table is one of the most important discoveries in all of science but what does it mean? Why does it have that shape and what are the elements hanging below the main table doing down there? Find out why scientists call it the ‘periodic table’ and why others call it the ‘Alphabet of the Universe’.

Food 101
What is the difference between a vitamin and a mineral? Why do you inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide? Where did the carbon atoms in the CO₂ you’re exhaling come from? What are macronutrients and what is a metabolic pathway? This presentation demystifies your metabolism by tracing every atom you eat, drink and inhale into and back out of your body.

James Webb Telescope
The James Webb Telescope beamed its first images back to Earth in July and is already blowing scientists’ minds. So what’s the big deal? Why are its mirrors made of beryllium, why are they hexagonal and why are they coated with gold? How much bigger is it than Hubble? Where is it right now, what can it see and what is it looking for? This presentation explains the science behind the most amazing telescope ever built.

3D Printing
Look at ways 3D printing is contributing to various scientific fields such as sustainability, engineering and medical research. Practice designing a snowman using some basic 3D modeling techniques.

Sound Sandwich
Using craft materials participants will create a sound sandwich, a small musical instrument that demonstrates the science behind music and vibrations.

Learn how to turn on a light using code. ThinkerShield is a unique combination of microprocessor (brain) and electronic components including inputs (buttons, sensors), and outputs (lights, sounds) all controlled by computer code based on C++.

Future Space
An intergenerational panel will discuss the inspiring and engaging opportunities for young people to participate in Australia’s space future. Hear from space industry professionals, educators and students talk about their own education and research pathways as well as what continues to inspire them.

Street Science Meet and Greet
Meet the Street Science team, Steve and DJ. Participants will have some hands-on fun while learning more about scientific principles.

Look through a telescope at the wonders of the Solar System and learn how to use a planisphere or star map to see what the sky will look like on your birthday.

Rocket making
While waiting for your turn on the telescope, make your own rocket using recycled materials. How many thrusters will you need? How do you make your rocket aerodynamic?