World Science Festival Brisbane returns in March

Tuesday, 23 February, 2021

World Science Festival Brisbane returns in March

World Science Festival Brisbane is back from 24–28 March 2021, celebrating science and human resilience in an unprecedented era of global change.

World Science Festival Brisbane is the only global extension of New York’s acclaimed science-meets-arts event, injecting more than $32 million into Queensland’s economy since 2016. Hosted by Queensland Museum, the 2021 program aims to answer one of the biggest questions facing humanity: how does science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) hold the key to overcoming current and future challenges for the good of all people and our planet?

With the theme of ‘Extremes and Adaptations’, this year’s program reach has been supersized thanks to the introduction of an innovative series of digital events in tandem with live programming. As noted by Queensland Museum Network CEO Jim Thompson, there’s no better time to inspire and inform people of all ages about the wonders of science and positive implications for the future.

“Without doubt, science, in all its wisdom and wonder, has become the silver lining of the global COVID-19 pandemic, unlocking and expanding human capabilities on a scale not witnessed before,” Dr Thompson said.

“What’s also encouraging is the boundaries of science have been pushed to a meaningful new level, tapping into transformative technologies, like artificial intelligence, to keep the world safe, connected and entertained during difficult times.

“Most exciting of all, global interest in and appetite for STEM solutions has soared to an all-time high. That’s something to be celebrated!”

World Science Festival co-founder and renowned physicist Professor Brian Greene will premiere his new cinematic journey, Until the End of Time, live from New York on the festival’s opening night. Professor Greene will take audiences on a journey from the Big Bang to the end of time, exploring how lasting structures formed, how life and mind emerged, and how we grapple with our existence through narrative, science, the quest for truth and a deep longing for the eternal. ABC Science Editor Jonathan Webb will also host a live discussion with Prof Greene following the premiere of the film.

As well as championing internationally renowned science research there will be plenty of jam-packed fun STEM-inspired activities and talks for all ages, with shows exploring extreme environments, sustainable cities, the science of happiness and the crazy world of dinosaurs. There will also be a number of Curiocities (interactive installations), throughout the City Botanic Gardens, South Bank, South Brisbane’s Cultural Precinct and the Brisbane CBD, inviting visitors to explore and engage with a range of digital and physical attractions.

Highlights of the 2021 World Science Festival Brisbane include:

  • The Pulse of the Pandemic: Join a discussion among Australia’s top experts as they examine the COVID-19 outbreak, the near misses that came before it and the likely scenarios of another pandemic.
  • Why Trust a Scientist? Dr Karl Kruszelnicki leads a panel discussion on how the world we live in today has been largely shaped by science and why humans are so sceptical about advances in medicine and technology.
  • Hunting the Cosmic Dawn: Join a constellation of astrophysicists and their celestially inclined counterparts as they shine new light into the cosmos to determine what the first stars looked like, the nature of dark energy and the future of the universe.
  • Cities 2060: What can be done to keep cities sprawling outwards? How can technology be used to create a better place to live? And will the COVID-19 pandemic leave a lasting impression on our future city blueprints?
  • Running the Planet Without Costing the Earth: Energy experts explore the path to a sustainable future and reveal some of the groundbreaking solutions that just might save our planet.
  • The Nucleus: This purpose-built marquee, located at River Plaza, Queensland Cultural Centre, features a combination of late-night variety shows with trivia, comedy and science stuff that will stimulate the senses while you listen to some cool tunes.
  • The Turtle Hatchery: Visitors to the Queensland Museum will have the opportunity to view baby loggerhead turtles hatching from eggs that are incubated onsite and timed to emerge during the festival. Plus, you can tune into a 24-hour live stream of turtles hatching.
  • City of Science: Taking science out of the lab and onto the streets of Brisbane, attendees will see scientists doing experiments in the Queen Street Mall; learn about chemistry, space, biology, weather, animals, technology and more; and connect online with new digital programs, podcasts and audio tours.

The festival’s regional program will also provide communities in Chinchilla, Gladstone, Toowoomba, Townsville and Ipswich with the opportunity to explore innovation, science and technology throughout the year. Programs designed to engage community members in stimulating and inspiring experiences will be unique to each location, and will offer a selection of science activities and discussions with leading scientists, as well as workshops.

For more information about the festival, visit

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