7 Decades in 7 Days

Tuesday 10 August - Sunday 22 August

About the Event

2021 is the 70th Anniversary of the NSW Science Teachers Association. During 7 Decades in 7 Days, we’ll be showcasing advances in science and education from across the last 7 decades, events will include exhibitions and forums on women trailblazers, panel discussions on the advances in medical sciences and environmental education, talks that encourage critical thinking about pioneering science and exploring the diverse environment within which we live.

Behind the scientists that drive innovation and progress for a better world are the science teachers, who believe in inspiring their students, who support them to reach further and higher and remain curious about the world in which we live.

Event Details

Tuesday 10 August, 2021
 12.30pm - 1.00pm
Official Opening
Our virtual 7 Decades in 7 Days will be officially opened by our current President and Vice President of the Science Teachers Association NSW.

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work and live, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community and we pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging, as part of our opening ceremony we look forward to being Welcomed to Country.

Venue: Virtual Auditorium

President Margaret Shepherd

Margaret Shepherd is currently President of the Science Teachers Association NSW and has worked for 6 years as Science Adviser at Sydney Catholic Schools. Her expertise is in the field of adult learning, working with teachers to support professional learning in areas of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. She is also the lecturer in charge of Science Curriculum and Teaching at The Australian Catholic University supporting pre-service science teachers. She is very passionate about using inquiry in the classroom, assessment for learning, feedback, PEEL and engaging students in their learning. Margaret is a long standing member of Council, having been involved since 2001 working in a range of positions including Councillor, Secretary, Vice-President and Treasurer and President.

Welcome to Country
Rowena Welsh

Rowena Welsh is a Dharrawhal woman born on Gadigal land. She’s a proud member of both the Redfern and La Perouse Aboriginal communities bloodline links to Gadigal, Bidjigal, Gweagal, Wangal and other Sydney basin clans. Her maternal grandmother is from the Timbery family of the La Perouse community. In 2012, Rowena graduated from the University of Technology Sydney with a BA in Community Management and Adult Education. She continues to work in her community in various roles and has a major passion for Aboriginal women’s cultural empowerment. She is currently enrolled in a graduate Diploma of Local, Family and Applied History at the University of New England.

 Expo: 11.00am - 2.30pm
Speeches: 1.30pm - 2.00pm
Science in the House
Given the important role of Science Education in the public discourse, we want to celebrate and showcase some exemplary examples of science education initiatives with policy makers.

We have teamed up with the Minister for Education and the Shadow Minister for Education to create an opportunity for Members of the NSW Parliament to come together on the cusp of National Science Week to recognise the great work being done by Science Teachers and Educators in this state.

Science Education Initiatives have been invited to showcase in a virtual expo on Tuesday August 10.

The virtual event will include an address by the Minister for Education, the Hon. Sarah Mitchell, the Shadow Minister for Education and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Ms Prue Car and NSW Chief Scientist, Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte.

This event kicks off 7 days of celebration as part of 7 Decades in 7 Days, a week-long celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Science Teachers Association for NSW in and around National Science Week.

Join us in the Virtual Auditorium to hear from our speakers and join us on social media throughout the day to raise awareness of the importance of science education.

Venue: Virtual Auditorium and Exhibition Hall

Hon Sarah Mitchell
Minister for Education

The Hon. Sarah Mitchell is the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning and member of the Nationals. Since entering parliament in 2011, Sarah has served on numerous committees, as Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health and Western NSW and in 2017 appointed the Minister for Early Childhood Learning, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Assistant Minister for Education.

Sarah is the youngest Member of the Legislative Council and the Leader of the NSW Nationals in the Upper House.

Ms Prue Car
Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Education

As a long-time Western Sydney local, representing the suburbs of Sydney has always been Prue’s Number 1 priority. Prue served as a Councillor on Penrith City Council before being first elected as the Member for Londonderry at the 2015 election. Having been elected Deputy Leader of NSW Labor in 2021, Prue is proud to be part of NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns’ team, developing a positive vision for the future of NSW. As the Shadow Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Prue is committed to ensuring NSW has a strong and well supported teaching profession. Prue wants to ensure every child in every school gets a world-class education.

Professor Hugh Durrant Whyte
NSW Chief Scientist

Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte is the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer and Natural Resources Commissioner. Hugh is a world-leading authority on machine learning and robotics, and applications in areas including cargo handling, mining and defence. He has published over 300 research papers, graduated over 70 PhD students, and has won numerous awards and prizes for his work, including being named 2010 NSW Scientist of the Year and 2008 Engineers Australia NSW Engineer of the Year.

In his career he has worked with many major companies and has co-founded three successful start-up companies. He is particularly well known for his work with Patrick in delivering the automated container terminals in Brisbane and Port Botany, and for his work with Rio Tinto in pioneering and delivering the automated “Mine of the Future”. He is an honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia (HonFIEAus), a Fellow of the IEEE (FIEEE), Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (FRS).

Sunday 15 August, 2021
 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Aboriginal Astronomy Lesson
Tribal Warrior and the Science Teachers Association NSW will be bringing you a virtual Aboriginal Astronomy lesson as part of 7 Decades in 7 Days, a week-long celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Science Teachers Association for NSW in and around National Science Week.

First Nations People have a long history with the land, waters and skies of this continent that stretches over 60,000 plus years. They observed and mapped the sun, the moon and stars to inform navigation, calendars and predict weather patterns long before European settlement on these shores.

The knowledge handed down from generation to generation through song, dance and oral tradition has kept alive the lessons learnt from ancestral elders.

Join us for an Aboriginal Astronomy lesson as we are offered a glimpse into the knowledge held by the oldest astronomers in this world.

Venue: Virtual Auditorium

Aunty Jo Selfe

Aunty Joanne Selfe is a Gadigal woman born in Sydney. A founding member of Warringa Baiya (the NSW Aboriginal Women’s Legal Service) she sat on the Youth Koori Court as an Elder for a number of years. Joanne has extensive experience working across the public sector, private enterprise, community-based organisations and higher education working in areas as diverse as health, women, information technology, sport, economic development, criminal, social and economic justice. She was the first Aboriginal Director of the Indigenous Services Unit in Corrective Services (NSW), in the mid 1990’s, Deputy Chair of the NSW State Reconciliation Committee (1995-2000) and Chair of the Reconciliation Events Committee (1999-2000) Corroboree 2000.Today, Aunty Joanne works on the NSW Judicial Commission’s Ngara Yura program. The Ngara Yura program was developed in 1990’s as a response to the final recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody that judicial officers should receive instruction and education on matters relating to Aboriginal customs, culture, traditions and society. Aunty Joanne grew up with the stories of the night sky carried by her mother, Elders and Community Knowledge Holders. She works with the Museum of Applied Art and Sciences on the development and delivery of the Australian Indigenous Astronomy program.In her spare time, she continues to work with young people in her community sharing the very knowledge systems and skills, she learnt from her mother, Elders and community knowledge holders, she is also a master grass weaver, a cultural practitioner.

Wednesday 18 August
 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Celebrating Strong Women
In association with the Garvan Institute, we celebrate all the strong and inspirational women, who have dedicated their lives to medical research. Recognising some of our great female trailblazers and reflect on how we support the development of our next generation of pioneering thinkers. Speakers include Professor Susan Clark FAA, Head of the Epigenetics Research Lab at Garvan. Sarah Alexandrou, PhD student in the Replication and Genome Stability Lab at Garvan. Associate Professor Elissa Deenick is Head of the Lymphocyte Signalling and Activation Laboratory at Garvan.

Venue: Virtual Auditorium

Sarah Alexandrou

Sarah is a Phd student in the Replication and Genome Stability Lab at Garvan. She is studying how cellular abnormalities could contribute to the development of therapeutic resistant in breast cancer. Sarah's work has won many awards at Garvan and she is passionate about the need to identify and develop novel therapeutic strategies to improve patient outcomes.

Professor Susan Clark

Professor Susan Clark FAA is Leader of the Genomics and Epigenetics Research Theme and Head of the Epigenetics Research Lab at Garvan

Professor Clark is a worldwide pioneer of epigenetics - the study of the additional layer of instructions on DNA that organises and regulates gene activity. Her search has helped revolutionise the field through new technologies that profile DNA changes in early development and cancer, and has laid the groundwork for using epigenetics to detect and monitor cancer progression.

Associate Professor Elissa Deenick

Associate Professor Elissa Deenick is Head of the Lymphocyte Signalling and Activation Laboratory at Garvan. Her research is focused on lymphocyte activation and differentiation, and how this is controlled to ensure protection against infection while avoiding harmful immune responses like allergy and autoimmunity.

Thursday 19 August
 5:00pm - 6.00pm
Propelled by Science a Provocative Talk Fest
Teaming up with MAAS at The Powerhouse Museum, this event is an opportunity to network with fellow teachers and explore where scientific advancement pushes social boundaries. What are the implications of space exploration and digital manufacturing and how can science shape the future of our climate change conversations? Moderated by Professor Fred Watson, Australia’s first Astronomer-at-Large, with speakers including Matthew Connell: Acting Director of Curatorial, Collections and Exhibitions and Dr Sarah Reeves, Science Curator at the Powerhouse Museum who will be focusing on the areas of astronomy and space. They will be joined by Nina Earl, a curator and science communicator.

Venue: Virtual Auditorium

Matthew Connell

Matthew Connell is currently the Acting Director of Curatorial, Collections and Exhibitions but he has been a curator at the Powerhouse since 1991 working in the fields of computing and mathematics, information technologies, physical science and engineering. Before becoming a curator, he studied physics and mathematics and worked in exploration geophysics and microelectronics research. Matthew’s research and curatorial interests include computing history, mathematics history, media art and design, interaction design, STEM education and learning, and curatorship. He has curated and co-curated several exhibitions at the museum, most recently Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital in 2016 which examined the industrial and cultural implications of digital manufacturing technologies; and in 2017, The Mabo Decision 25th Anniversary. He currently a partner investigator in a research project exploring interactive immersive systems. Matthew is an Adjunct Professor at the iCinema Centre for Interactive Cinema Research at University of New South Wales.

Dr Sarah Reeves

Dr Sarah Reeves is science curator at the Powerhouse Museum, focusing on the areas of astronomy and space. Sarah holds a PhD in Astronomy and for her thesis she studied the evolution of galaxies using radio telescopes like 'The Dish'. Before joining the Powerhouse, worked for several years as an astronomy guide at Sydney Observatory. At the Powerhouse she has co-curated a wide range of science exhibitions, and in 2019 curated the highly successful Apollo 11 exhibition, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. Sarah is passionate about sharing her knowledge about science and technology with the public through the Museum's collection and exhibitions.

Nina Earl

Nina Earl is a curator and science communicator who works at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. She holds a Master’s of Science Communication and has extensive experience in STEM education and community outreach. As a curator she works across the Museum’s science collections with a focus on managing the health and medical collection. Her recent work involves the delivery of many successful cross-disciplinary exhibitions, such as Linear in 2019 and Design for Life in 2020. She is particularly interested in how interdisciplinary exhibitions can help new audiences access complex scientific information and build trust in the research process.

Professor Fred Watson Moderator

PROFESSOR FRED WATSON is Australia’s first Astronomer-at-Large in the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. He is a graduate of the universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and worked at both of Britain’s Royal Observatories before joining the Australian Astronomical Observatory as Astronomer-in-Charge in 1995.

Recognised internationally for helping to pioneer the use of fibre optics in astronomy during the 1980s, Fred is best known today for his award-winning radio and TV broadcasts, books, music, dark-sky advocacy and co-hosting the Space Nuts podcast. He holds adjunct professorships in several Australian universities, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010. He has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson), but says that if it hits the Earth, it won't be his fault. Fred’s latest book is Cosmic Chronicles – a user’s guide to the Universe, published by NewSouth Press in October 2019.

Friday 20 August
 6:30pm - 9.00pm
Virtual Friday Night Drinks with the Museum - and some 70s fun!
The Australian Museum and the Science Teachers Association NSW have teamed up to present to you Virtual Friday Night Drinks as part of 7 Decades in 7 Days, a week-long celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Science Teachers Association for NSW in and around National Science Week.

Pull on your best 70s clothes (we will be) and join us online for a fun evening exploring science education in Australia - where we have come from, where we are at, and where to next. Our keynote address will be delivered by Federal Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley, we’ll hear from Director of Research from the Australian Museum Dr Kris Hegel and later be entertained by Australia’s most loved Dr Karl.

Whilst a 70s Dinner Party in person would be much more fun, we’re recreating as much as we can in this virtual world, so with your 70s threads on, come join us at the end of the evening for ‘guess that 70s’ tune’.

Venue: Virtual Auditorium

Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM

Dr Foley commenced as Australia’s ninth Chief Scientist in January 2021. Dr Foley was appointed to the role after a lengthy career at Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO; she was appointed as the agency’s Chief Scientist in August 2018, the second woman to hold that role.

Dr Foley’s career in physics began with her PhD at Macquarie University on the semiconductor indium nitride. She and her colleagues were one of the first groups to carry out pioneering research that examined the properties of indium nitride in light-sensitive devices, the best-known application being white light emitting diodes used for household low energy lighting. Dr Foley’s scientific excellence and influential leadership have been recognised with numerous awards and fellowships, including being elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2020, along with an Order of Australia for service to research science and to the advancement of women in physics. She was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering in 2008 and was elected as an honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics in 2019.

Dr Foley has a passion for advancing scientific research and has held various roles, including member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, President of the Australian Institute of Physics, President of Science and Technology Australia, Editor-in-Chief of Superconductor Science and Technology journal and Council Member for Questacon.

Dr Foley is an inspiration to women in STEM across the globe and is committed to tackling gender equality and diversity in the science sector. Throughout her career she has strived to create an environment that embraces the full human potential of both men and women for wellbeing and economic benefit and for equality.

Professor Kris Helgen

Professor Kristofer M. Helgen is Chief Scientist and Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI), as of June 2020. As Chief Scientist and Director, he is responsible for the AMRI team of more than 80 staff, including research scientists, collection scientists, collection officers and more than 100 associates, fellows and students, who research and explore the natural world.

Helgen was most recently Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide. He has focused his research primarily on fieldwork with living animals and research in museum collections to document the richness of life, understand global change, and contribute to important problems in biomedicine. Originally from Minnesota, Helgen gained his undergraduate degree in Biology at Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Zoology as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Adelaide. From 2008-2017 he served as Curator-in-Charge of Mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

A favourite in Australian science

A master of all trades, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki is a qualified scientist, doctor and engineer whose fun-loving personality led him to become a well-known author and science communicator.

In addition to his degrees in Physics and Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, and Medicine and Surgery, he has studied several non-degree years at various universities in Astrophysics, Computer Science and Philosophy. He speaks at secondary and tertiary institutions, and corporate events.

In the media, he was a writer and presenter for the first series of ‘Quantum’, and has been a science commentator on TV ever since. In radio, he speaks on-air for about five hours every week. This includes a national weekly, one-hour science talkback show on triple J – attracting over 750, 000 listeners in the five mainland capitals. The ABC, triple J and weekly ‘Great Moments in Science’ podcasts together have 4.5 million downloads a year.

Dr Karl has won a number of prestigious and unique awards throughout his career, including Australian Apple Masters, Ig Nobel prize awarded by Harvard University in the USA, Australian Father of the Year, Member of the Order of Australia Award, Skeptic Of The Year Prize and in 2012 Karl was delighted to have Asteroid 18412 named after him. Asteroid Dr Karl/18412 was discovered by Robert H. McNaught.

Saturday 21 August
 10:00am - 12:00pm
Family Fun with Taronga Zoo
Taronga Zoo and the Science Teachers Association NSW have teamed up to present to you a Family Fun Day with the Zoo as part of 7 Decades in 7 Days, a week-long celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Science Teachers Association for NSW in and around National Science Week.

We will explore advancements in animal conservation over the past 7 Decades with Dr Phoebe Meagher, following which the Taronga Zoo Education Team have prepared online activities for you to watch and do with the kids - Whose Poo in the Zoo and Echidna Enrichment Feeder.

Explore at your leisure links to Taronga TV and get an insight into what the animals are doing when no-one is around. Join us for a family fun day with the Zoo as we celebrate 7 Decades of supporting science teachers and gain an insight into the future of conversation.

Venue: Virtual Auditorium

Dr Phoebe Meagher

Phoebe Meagher works as a Wildlife Conservation Officer at Taronga Conservation Society Australia in Sydney. As a conservation biologist, she manages recovery programs as well as population management for native mammals and aquatic animals. Phoebe also undertakes research into threatened species and how best to protect them from illegal wildlife trading, marine debris pollution, and other threats. Phoebe leads the way forward in the emerging field of conservation forensics. Her recent groundbreaking work was accepted for publication and subsequently received media attention, including an Australian Geographic cover story.

Sunday 22 August
 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Propelled by Science - The Future of Energy
The Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum and the Science Teachers Association NSW have teamed up to present 'Propelled by Science' as part of 7 Decades in 7 Days, a week-long celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Science Teachers Association for NSW in and around National Science Week.

'Propelled by Science' is a provocative talk fest exploring the future of energy, audiences will hear how scientific advancement in energy production has propelled our progress and discover what the future has in stall for us.

Venue: Virtual Auditorium

Sam Riggall

Sam Riggall is Chief Executive Officer of Sunrise Energy Metals Ltd, an ASX-listed company focused on development of Australia’s largest base metals project - the Sunrise Battery Materials Complex in central NSW. Once built, Sunrise will be one of the world’s largest integrated battery material plants and establish Australia as a key supplier into global electric vehicle supply chains. Sam is also a director of VRB Energy, a global leader in vanadium redox flow battery technology.

Sunrise Energy Metals is a world leader in hydrometallurgy, employing ion exchange technologies to selectively extract metals at extremely high efficiency. Sam brings significant insight to the impact of disruptive technologies on metals markets, and has a strong track record of identifying and building value through innovation. He is also a Steering Committee Member of the World Materials Forum, was recently appointed to the Commonwealth Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Initiative for Critical Minerals and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy.

Dr Mark Ho

Dr Mark Ho works at ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation), specialising in reactor cooling systems analysis. He’s interested in reactor design, computational fluid dynamics, coding and boiling dynamics. He supervises undergrad, masters and PhD students on the topics of advanced reactors & nuclear systems and is active in IAEA discussions on the topic of SMRs (Small Modular Reactors). Mark also serves as Vice President of the Australian Nuclear Association, a professional organisation promoting the peaceful, safe and effective use of nuclear science and technology.

Our Partners


As we have moved 7 Decades in 7 Days to the Virtual World, we would like to offer the opportunity for everyone to join us online for free.

Please register here to receive details on how to celebrate online with us.

If you purchased tickets previously for the in-person events, you will have received a reimbursement, if you have any questions please contact accounts@stansw.asn.au

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you will need to register Here.
No. You do not need to download or install any software to participate. You only need to have access to the internet, so you can participate wherever that is.
You can use your email address that you have entered during registration to login on the day of the event.
The event will remain open 24/7 for 30 days! Therefore, you can attend whenever it is convenient for you during that period of time.
Send an email to 7decades7days@getvfairs.io for any technical assistance. If you are logged into the event you can navigate to the information booth and we will be able to help you there.
Yes. Like a physical event, we will have a swag bag for you! You can add all of the documents available to the online swag bag in your account and then email them to yourself or share items with your colleagues simply by entering their email.
This is an online event. You do not have to travel to any specific location. You can participate anywhere that you have Internet access.
No this is a free virtual celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Science Teachers Association NSW.
We are an Association of Science Teachers who formed to support the advancement of science education in NSW.

We exist to advance the teaching and learning of science in NSW through:
  • Growing authentic community to support teachers of science
  • Being leaders of excellence in science education
  • Being a voice to advocate for science education

Our Vision is a dynamic community of science educators equipping future scientists and citizens
Becoming a member of your state Science Teachers Association opens the door to a collegiate, passionate and knowledgeable community of science teachers, and access to hours of discounted accredited professional learning. You can join up here.

Additional Stock Footage Provided By Videezy

External Lobby Image by berenice melis on Unsplash