VC’s Update – Crinkling News, internships, stargazing and more

24 March 2017

Children have an innate sense of curiosity about the world so it's great to encourage them to continue asking questions.

Hi everyone,

As promised, this week's blog includes some details about the upcoming stargazing events involving our staff at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

On Monday I was put through my paces in an interview with Turner School Year 4 student Ishan Biddle for the children's publication Crinkling News. Produced by professional journalists and editors, Crinkling News presents news tailored to children aged 7 to 14 years in hard copy and online on a weekly basis. It also occasionally gives children and young people a chance to be junior reporters. It was my pleasure to speak to Ishan about astronomy, astrophysics, being a Vice-Chancellor and where I see university education going. Children have an innate sense of curiosity about the world so it's great to encourage them to continue asking questions. Keep an eye out for the story - I'll be sure to share it via social media when it's published.

On Wednesday I addressed Members of Parliament, members of the diplomatic corps and business leaders at the Semester 1 function of the Australian National Internship Program (ANIP). ANIP is an opportunity for our students, and those from around the country and the world, to work with policymakers to co-design research projects that are supported by the University. The Program enjoys bipartisan political support and is a great example of our commitment to educational innovation and helping to shape Australia's future. More than 80 students are enrolled in ANIP this semester, making it one of the largest groups of students to participate. Well done to all enrolled!

This weekend I head to the World Science Festival in Brisbane where on Friday I'll be moderating a session with four young 'geniuses' (they really are a lot smarter than me) called The future is in good hands. The next day I'll be on a panel discussion that will look into whether we need to find a new home for the survival of the human race - a light topic to finish my whirlwind trip up north.

On Sunday I return to Canberra in time for the 12th International Alliance of Research Universities Presidents' meeting with the presidents of universities such as Berkley, Peking and Copenhagen. It's an honour for ANU to be hosting the meeting, especially as we are one of the founding members of the IARU. The meeting and our discussions come at a time when interesting changes are afoot in political spheres around the world. Together with other members of IARU, we have unique opportunities to shape and influence the world.   

ANU is involved in two significant stargazing events from our Siding Spring Observatory at the end of this month and the beginning of next. These events, mark the completion of the mapping of the southern skies by the SkyMapper telescope and involve two separate broadcasts by the BBC and the ABC. The events also coincide with the launch of citizen science projects that will use the SkyMapper to investigate the Universe. It's an opportunity for ANU to demonstrate our facilities, talents and expertise to the world. Special guest scientist Professor Brian Cox will host the events. More information about the stargazing events and how you can get involved can be found here.