Scientists to focus on the stars at Byron festival

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (AAP)

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (AAP)

A ‘supergroup’ of Australia’s leading scientists will be bringing their expertise to Byron Bay at a two-day festival being planned for June.

The festival will explore science, space, astrophysics and astrophotography, with speakers included television personality Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Dr Alan Duffy of Swinburne, who will be hosting a VIP dinner and keynote presentation at the Elements of Byron Resort.

‘We humans will become a space going race. We have to for our survival,’ Dr Kruszelnicki said. ‘But more than that, astronomy has given us clocks, calendars, GPS navigation and poetry.’

The festival, which will be called Star Stuff, is being organised by Celestron, Bintel and DNA Digital.

Other speakers include astrophysicist Dr Katie Mack, a highly regarded scientist and presenter known for her work on dark matter and global science outreach from her adopted city of Melbourne.

Mark Gee (NZ), 2013 astrophotographer of the year, will also be taking the stage to share his aspirational story of success travelling the world and sharing his remarkable photos of the Sun, Moon and Milky Way.

Dr Duane Hamacher (Monash) is also on the bill to present an overview of his work decoding the ancient secrets of Australian aboriginal astronomy including such work with local indigenous groups.

Dr David Malin, whose name is literally synonymous with the highest echelon of scientific and photographic excellence (The Malin Awards) will bring his perspective on advancements in digital photography since he pioneered colour space photography in his early career.

Also on the line up is Dr Fred Watson, also known for his work at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO), engaging presentation style and continuous work as a dark sky advocate. Watson was instrumental in the recent declaration of Australia’s first Dark Sky Park in Warrumbungle National Park – the first in the Southern Hemisphere.

Byron Bay astronomer Dylan O’Donnell will share his work as will Gilmour Space Technology’s Jamie Anderson whose work in rocket propulsion on the Gold Coast hopes to kickstart Australia’s private space travel industry.

Australia’s largest telescope and astronomer vendor Bintel will also be on site demonstrating consumer astronomy equipment, and the Southern Astronomical Society will facilitate day and night telescope viewings, photography workshops and sky tours if weather permits.

‘Star Stuff brings together top scientists who are out of this world in one of the most beautiful locations on earth,’ Dr Alan Duffy said. ‘I can’t wait to hear from these experts, never mind me being onstage, I’ll be listening to them!’

Claire Fell, event liaison officer for Byron shire council said it was ‘the perfect event for our shire.”

Ticket sales and event information can be found at :


2 responses to “Scientists to focus on the stars at Byron festival”

  1. Len Heggarty says:

    Reading from the text just above:
    “… television personality Dr Karl Kruszelnicki …”
    Is there any mention that he is a scientist?
    Why not?

    • Craig says:

      Interesting point. Does Dr K actually do any ‘science’?. You know, formulating hypotheses, running experiments and analysing data. While he is highly credentialed in Physics, his Wiki page lists him as an author, a science communicator and a science populariser. Do you need to be doing science to be a scientist?

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