STEM 2022

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(Duration: 1 minutes 39 seconds)


[Red and blue logo revealed reading ‘STEM 2022 on demand’.

[Adam Spencer is standing inside a classroom. Behind him are tote trays, a pinboard and a poster showing the STEM process. Text on the screen reads, ‘Adam Spencer. TV and Radio Personality, Author and Math Geek’.]

Adam Spencer:

Hello, everyone. Adam Spencer here coming to you from the Centre of Innovation and Excellence, that is Porters Creek Public School on the Central Coast.

[Screen shows the front of a school with a gate sign that reads, ‘Welcome to Porter’s Creek Public School. This is followed by a series of shots inside the school grounds showing colourful buildings and Aboriginal artwork of a platypus on a green exterior wall.]

I am so excited to be your virtual master of ceremonies for STEM 2022 On Demand – education for a rapidly changing world. Now many of you would know that STEM 2022 On Demand is an initiative of the New South Wales Department of Education’s STEM Industry School Partnerships Program and brings together some of Australia's and indeed the world’s foremost experts on creativity, innovation, education and STEM.

[Screen reads, ‘’.]

During this online on demand event, you will have a front row seat for our series of awesome ed-talks and STEM inspired practical workshops on a range of exciting topics, including space exploration and education, quantum computing, cyber security, environmental education, surveying and geo-spatial engineering, agri-tech, food science, computing science, and much more.

Video content will be released progressively from today, July 18, on the New South Wales Department of Education's website to coincide with important events on the STEM calendar, such as National Science Week and World Space Week. But best of all, the resources can be accessed at any time from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

So, what are you waiting for? Manipulate your mouse, tickle your trackpad and get your geek on with STEM 2022 On Demand.

[End of Transcript]

STEM On demand – Space week

To celebrate Space Week we bring you Dr Christyl Johnson from NASAs Goddard Space Flight Centre, discussing how their team are addressing the challenges we face in the future.

We also welcome back Emily Calandrelli, "the Space Gal" to share how she wants to make science relatable, easy to understand and more exciting today than ever before in history.

New videos will be released here on important dates in the STEM calendar from 18 July 2022 to 23 December 2022.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Dr Christyl Johnson explains how NASAs STEM innovations are addressing the challenges of the future (11:32).

Want to know more about Goddard Space Flight Center? Watch last year's Goddard Space Centre keynote address, where a panel of experts discuss their roles in areas such as Astrophysics, Planetary science and Heliophysics!

Dr Christyl Johnson, Deputy Director For Technology and Research Investments

(Duration: 11 minutes 32 seconds)


[Red and blue logo revealed reading ‘STEM 2022 on demand’.

Screen shows images of space and the NASA logo. Screen reads, ‘NASA’s Innovative Engine – addressing the challenges of the future. Christyl Johnson, Goddard Space Flight Center, Deputy Director for Technology and Research Investments.]

Dr Christyl Johnson:

[Dr Johnson appears on screen.]

I'm Christyl Johnson, and I'm excited to share with you a slightly different perspective of NASA.

[Screen reads, ‘NASA’. Screen shows images inside a spacecraft and of an astronaut in space.]

So many times when someone says the word NASA, the first thing that comes to mind is an astronaut floating inside the International Space Station or in a full space suit working outside of the space station.

[Screen shows images of air crafts in the sky.]

Some people are aware that the first A in NASA stands for aeronautics, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, so they're familiar with the research we do in streamlined aircraft bodies, quieter jet engines, techniques to prevent icing, and software tools to help with air traffic control.

[Screen reads, ‘Operating and Future Science Fleet’. Screen shows planets, a galaxy and the sun marked with various names, colour coded green for earth science, yellow for heliophysics, purple for planetary science, blue for astrophysics.]

And most people know that NASA has a fleet of hundreds of science missions studying the earth and understanding how we can thrive here, heliophysics or studying the sun and its effects, astrophysics and other planetary bodies. And yes, it's all true. Our astronauts, our scientists, our engineers, and the whole NASA family stay quite busy doing these things every single day.

However, I'd like to help you shift your view of NASA and what it is that we do. For those of you still thinking about your future and what kind of career might excite you, pay close attention because a career in STEM may be more appealing than you realise.

From this day forward, when you hear the name NASA, I'd like for you to think about innovation, ‘In my world, NASA is an innovation engine.’

[Screen reads, ‘NASA in your life’ and shows images that Dr Johnson goes on to explain.]

You may not know it but you're all seeing the benefits of NASA investments in just about every aspect of your lives today: in consumer goods, environment and resource management, public safety, transportation, health and medicine, and computer technology.

[Screen reads, ‘Consumer goods’ and shows images that Dr Johnson goes on to explain.]

To highlight just a few of the consumer goods you're enjoying right now, the same command and control concepts that we had to develop to remotely control experiments on the International Space Station have brought you the programmable ovens so that you can put your food in a refrigerated oven before you leave in the morning, send the command home to start cooking your meal just as you're about to leave work, and then send another command after it's done to keep it warm if you have errands to run on the way home.

NASA physiology experts used research into how to monitor astronauts on the International Space Station to help an industry company to improve the company's wearable vital sign monitors which are now used to monitor the health and fitness of soldiers, first responders, professional athletes, and the average consumers looking to just get in shape.

Because of NASA's experience in studying the forces of friction and drag, Los Angeles-based Speedo, USA asked us to help them design a swimsuit shortly after the 2004 Olympics. The LZR Racer reduces skin friction drag 24% more than previous Speedo racing suits. And the research seems to have paid off. In March of 2008, the month after the suit was released, swimmers wear the LZR Racer broke 13 world records. Amazing.

[Screen reads, ‘Energy and environment’ and shows images that Dr Johnson goes on to explain.]

We are out in front and behind the scenes producing energy efficiency and protecting our wonderful environment. Our dual solar and wind power technologies that we developed for extreme conditions that will be experienced during our extended stay on Mars have been incorporated into durable wind turbines for use at the North Pole. We started with only three of them in remote Alaskan communities saving $201,000 per year. Now there are well over 200 in operation in 25 states and four countries. And it saves a lot in gallons of diesel fuel, over 45,000 gallons of diesel fuel as well.

[Screen reads, ‘NASA algorithm helps track rare animals’ and shows images of a whale shark and polar bears, with a focus on their spots.]

And our algorithms that were designed to map the stars are helping to track rare and endangered animals.

[Screen reads:

  • Growth algorithm invented to map stars for Hubble Space Telescope.

  • Data helps scientists keep track of individuals and monitor fragile populations more accurately.

  • Adapted to recognise unique patterns in whale sharks and polar bears.

  • 47,000 whale sharks reported and more than 9,204 whale sharks identified.]

Apparently, the spots on whale sharks and polar bears are just as unique as fingerprints are on human beings.

[Screen reads, ‘Public safety’ and shows images that Dr Johnson goes on to explain.]

The work that we're doing to contribute to public safety truly warms my heart because it's just so incredibly impactful. The water recovery systems that we develop for the International Space Station make use of available resources by turning wastewater from respiration, sweat, and even urine into drinkable water.

Our carbon Nanomesh, which can remove more than 99% of bacteria and viruses and numerous chemical contaminants, is being used in filtration systems around the world to bring clean water to remote locations.

[Screen shows a group of football players.]

And one other example that I wanted to share with you is our football players and many sports around the United States. In one particular year, we had some college students that were out practising football and it was a very, very hot day, and one of the football players, a college student, ended up having a heat stroke in all of the heat and he died. And of course, everyone was sad, everyone was very concerned about the fact that he's practising and dies of a heat stroke, but that very week, one of the National Football League professional players also had a heat stroke during practise and he also died. So everyone was very, very concerned and even the media got really engaged and everyone was asking, "What are you doing? Why are you having these people outside practising in all of this heat?" And of course the coaches are saying, "Well, how in the world would we know? How do we know when someone is in danger of having a heat stroke or any other kind of medical situation?" And so they came to NASA and they said, "Could you please help us with this?"

[Screen shows a close-up image of a hand holding a white capsule with the thermometer beside it.]

And so we used the ingestible thermal monitoring system technologies that we developed to remotely monitor the body temperature of our astronauts during flight to create a thermometer pill which you can swallow and then when it goes down into the core of your body, it constantly sends us readings of what your core temperature is. And now these are being used by professional football teams around the United States to prevent heat strokes and other elevated body or lower body temperature illnesses.

And when I say elevated body, it's a wonderful thing that even our firefighters can use these thermometer pills, and when they go into a major fire and they get surrounded and the firefighter body temperatures start to elevate, we know that it's time for us to send in extra services to be able to extract those firefighters.

It also works on the extreme opposite, in cold, cold climates. If you have a deep sea diver that swallows this little pill and goes down deep into the water, sometimes you get to a place where you get confused and you're not able to respond and to get back up to the surface quickly, so when we see that body temperature lowering, lower than it's supposed to, we know that it's time to help that person get up to the surface.

[Screen shows an image of a helicopter at sea with a person on a rescue cord. On the left-hand side of the screen, a box contains a close-up image of a hand holding a yellow box that reads, ‘Micro PLB, Personal Locator Beacon’,]

And the Search And Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking, or SARSAT system, that we develop to improve distress signal communications for astronaut recovery is now being used to locate emergency beacons activated by aircraft, ships, and backcountry hikers in distress. The SARSAT requires that only one signal burst is received by four satellites, and then we can find you anywhere you are in the world. We've saved tens of thousands of lives since the system went online in 1982.

[Screen reads, ‘Transportation’ and shows images that Dr Johnson goes on to explain.]

In the area of transportation, anti-icing formulas that NASA developed to keep ice from sticking to the surface of aeroplanes was licenced to a private company for use in train tracks and switches, which has now significantly improved incidences of train delays in increment weather.

NASA also funded the design of a simple and reusable patch repair system for servicing structural components in space. These patch systems are now widely used in the race car industry. You'll probably see 'em many times when they have those crashes and they come into the pit and they're able to make those repairs very, very quickly.

[Screen reads, ‘Health and medicine’. Screen shows Dr Johnson indicate with her hand to an image of large honeycomb shaped mirrors.]

And in health and medicine, some of the algorithms developed to test the James Webb Space Mirrors, which are these big mirrors right over here that we are actually developing at my centre, Goddard Space Flight Centre, they've been spun off to help develop an ophthalmology system that can do a complete mapping of the eye in only three seconds to obtain four different measurements for conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and others.

[Screen shows an image of a machine in the top-left. Below this is a translucent image of a person’s chest, with a machine connected to their heart. To the right of this image is a picture of two doctors and a patient in an operating theatre.]

A collaboration between NASA engineers, two doctors, and a private company has resulted in the development of a cardiac pump that keeps patients alive while they so desperately wait for their transplant.

[Screen reads, ‘What does the future hold?’]

So we have thousands of these kinds of examples of NASA in your life today, but what does the future hold?

[Screen shows an image of planet Earth in space. Screen reads, Earth reliant, now – mid 2020s:

  • International Space Station operation through 2024

  • commercial development of low-Earth orbit

  • development of deep space systems, life support and human health.’]

The global space community envisions going from being totally reliant on planet Earth, operating the International Space Station at least through 2024 while we develop deep space systems,

[Screens shows an image of the moon in space, surrounded by satellites. Screen reads, ‘Proving ground, 2018 – 2030:

  • regular crewed missions and spacewalks in cislunar space

  • verify deep space habitation and conduct a yearlong mission to validate readiness for Mars

  • demonstrate integrated human and robotic operations by redirecting and sampling an asteroid boulder.’]

to using the moon as a proving ground where we test out technologies and we verify deep space habitation in preparation for a human journey to Mars

[Screen shows Mars surrounded by satellites. Screen reads, ‘Earth independent, now – 2030s and beyond:

  • science missions pave the way to Mars

  • demonstrate entry, descent, and landing and in-situ resource use

  • conduct robotic round-trip demonstration with sample return in the late 2020s

  • send humans to orbit Mars in the early 2030s.’]

with the ultimate goal to become earth independent with the ability to have sustainable human habitation on Mars sometime in the 2030s.

Just imagine all of the innovation that will have to happen between now and then for us not only to survive but also to thrive on another planet so far away from Earth, power systems, the internet of things around Mars, we'll have to harvest food in extreme conditions, and we'll have to survive the extreme radiation that we will experience on the surface of Mars. We'll have to invent technologies that may not even exist today.

[Screen reads, ‘How do we get there?’]

And how can we make that happen?

[Screen reads, ‘We need you!!’]

Innovation requires diversity. We need people with different backgrounds different exposures, different life experiences to bring their different solutions to the table. Only when you encourage out of the box thinking, can you make revolutionary change. We need you to bring your uniqueness to the table to help achieve the impossible and to make this vision a reality.

[Screen shows the NASA logo. Screen reads, ‘’]

You can get more information at or the website of the space agency in your country. Thank you.

[Video concludes by displaying the NSW Government logo.]   

[End of Transcript]   

Emily Calandrelli, The Space Gal

Emily Calandrelli is an MIT engineer, also known as 'The Space Gal'. In this video she talks about her career as a science communicator, women in STEM, and the power of media (21:03).

Emily Calandrelli is an MIT engineer, also known as 'The Space Gal'. In this video she talks about her career as a science communicator, women in STEM, and the power of media.

(Duration: 21 minutes 3 seconds)


[Screen shows Emily Calandrelli, she is wearing a jumper that reads, ‘Fly me to the moon.]

Emily Calandrelli:

Hi everyone, my name is Emily Calandrelli. On the internet I am known as The Space Gal and I am so excited to talk to you all today. Today I'm going to talk to you a little bit about my career as a science communicator, women in STEM, or really the lack thereof, and the power of media.

So, first and foremost, I am known as The Space Gal mostly because I studied science and engineering for eight years with a focus on aerospace. I went to West Virginia University and got an undergrad degree in mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering. And then I went to grad school at MIT where I studied aeronautics and astronautics engineering for my master's and then got a second master's in another program called the Science and Technology and Policy Program.

But today I am a science TV show host, a science communicator, a children's book author and we're going to go through all of that but it all started with me becoming the host of a show on Fox on Saturday mornings called ‘ Xploration Outer Space’ where I get to travel all around the country to different NASA centres and private space companies and universities and highlight the coolest things that are happening in the space industry today.

[Screen reads, ‘Xploration Outer Space’ with a background showing planets and nebula. In the bottom left corner of the screen is a circular image of Emily in a space suit.]

So that's everything from rockets and spaceships and rovers on Mars and searching for aliens and everything in between. For a space nerd like myself, it is quite literally a dream job and I get to have so many fun adventures through that show.

After I started doing ‘ Xploration Outer Space’ , we've been doing that for seven years now, but after I started doing that I became a children's book author of the ‘ Ada Lace Adventures’ .

[Screen shows Emily pick up 5 books and hold them up to the screen, fanning them out to reveal the covers. The books are titled, ‘Ada Lace’.]

Ada is a third grader who loves science and technology, and she goes on these adventures to solve mysteries with technology and gadgets that she builds herself.

[Screen shows 5 Ada Lace books appear along the bottom of the screen, titled, ‘on the case’, ‘sees red’, and the important mission’, ‘take me to your leader’, ‘and the suspicious artist’.]

It's kind of like a girl after my own heart and really a girl that I kind of wished that I was like when I was younger.

[Emily holds up the book titled, ‘Ada Lace, take me to your leader’.]

The fun part about that one is the third book in this series, this book, actually went to space through this wonderful programme called the Story Time From Space program.

[Screen shows a picture of the Ada Lace character on the right-hand side of the screen, wearing an astronaut suit and waving. On the right-hand side of the screen is the Ada Lace book floating inside a rocket.]

It was launched on a rocket, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and sent to the International Space Station and read aloud by astronaut Anne McClain. So if you go to you'll be able to see an entire video of an astronaut floating in the space station reading my book with the image of sometimes the inside of the International Space Station in the background but sometimes the image of the Earth in the background. It's very surreal, very, very cool. That's a highlight of my life for sure.

After I started doing that, I became a correspondent for the one and only Bill Nye and ‘ Bill Nye Saves the World’ on Netflix. That one is a little bit different than ‘ Xploration Outer Space’ because it's way more international. That one, it's on Netflix so it's in like 38 different countries or something like that. And so for that programme, I got to travel to India and cover a number of science stories in India for Bill Nye which obviously as you can imagine was very, very cool.

[Screen shows an image of Emily holding a balloon, with two children on either side, they are all wearing brightly coloured overalls. The screen reads, ‘A Netlix original series, Emily’s Wonder Lab’.]

And then most recently I got my own Netflix show called ‘ Emily's Wonder Lab’ where I get to share my love of science and experiments and explosions with kids all around the world. That is, it's probably my proudest project that I've ever worked on. It's a way that we can make science feel more accessible to kids all over and it's just a really, really, really fun show.

Fun fact, I was also nine months pregnant when I filmed that entire series. So now there's a nine-month pregnant woman on Netflix talking about science and I just think that's really cool.

One thing that I think is important to point out though is that this is not the career that I envisioned for myself when I was a kid especially when I was in high school. I did not consider myself one of the smart kids in high school. And that was because I grew up in a college town and the kids who were considered the smart kids in my high school were ones who had parents who were professors at the local university. They were kids who had parents who had PhDs, who were scientists and engineers. These were kids who had tutors for their SATs. They had all of the right help to apply to colleges and they applied to all the great colleges and they got into the them. And I was just not one of those kids. And so it took me a while to kind of build that confidence in myself to learn that you can make yourself smarter.

You can make yourself gain knowledge and skills and most importantly confidence over time. But I didn't know this secret until a little bit later in life. When I was a high school senior the way that I chose the major that I was going to major in in college was I Googled all of the majors one could major in and I looked up their starting salaries. And I found that engineers often made the most money. And so I chose to go into engineering thinking these are going to be the worst four years of my life, that it's going to be hard and it's going to be awful, but I'm going to end up with a good job at the end of it and it's all going to be worth it. And so I learned that actually I'm good at this, and secondly, it was actually a lot of fun. I had really, I had so many adventures throughout college because I had chosen to go into STEM, because I had chosen to go into engineering.

[Screen reads, ‘Do your homework weightless!’ beside an image of Emily and another person wearing coveralls and floating inside a craft.]

And so when I get to West Virginia University, I know that I want to do engineering, but I don't know what type of engineering. And I'm walking down the hallways and I see this poster on the wall that has a student floating weightless and it says something on the poster like, ‘ Do your homework weightless.’ And I was like, what is this? Is this a nerdy metaphor or something? What does that mean? And it turns out that it was a class that you could take, if you studied aerospace engineering, to fly on something called the Vomit Comet. And if you don't know what the Vomit Comet is, let me blow your mind. It is the coolest thing you will ever learn about. The Vomit Comet is a plane that flies in the air like an 8,000-foot rollercoaster. And it does this so that the people and the experiments inside this plane float weightless like astronauts. And so when it goes over the hump like this, everything feels weightless for about 25 seconds, and then when it goes under and it starts diving back up, everything feels really heavy for about 25 seconds. And so you feel weightless and heavy and weightless and heavy and weightless and heavy and weightless and heavy for an hour and a half, which is why they call it the Vomit Comet. Because if you rode a ride that intense for that long you might get sick.

And so this was the reason I chose to go into aerospace engineering because I had to ride on the Vomit Comet, and let me tell you, it was the best decision I've ever made. It was the coolest experience of my life and I just want to show you a few short clips of what that was like.

[Music playing. Screen shows a series of clips of Emily and others inside the Vomit Comet. Emily is walking in what looks like zero gravity, before spinning, eating while floating and juggling.]

Before we land, I have a few things left on my Zero-G bucket list, a space walk. Plus some acrobatics. Oh my god! Eating like an astronaut. Snacking. And even juggling. I can actually do it on the moon.

[Screen shows Emily holding a hula hoop while Sam floats through, then Emily floats through the hula hoop. They do this a few times before opening their coveralls to show a superman shirt underneath.]



Emily Calandrelli:

Here's another experiment, jumping through a hula hoop.

Now that I've seen Sam's attempt, it's my turn.


Hey, hey!

Emily Calandrelli:

Yay! She's a pro, she's a pro!



Emily Calandrelli:

Let's face it, if you're going to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you might as well have some fun.

[Screen returns to Emily wearing a jumper that reads, ‘Fly me to the moon.]

Emily Calandrelli:

So that's my story of how I got into engineering but I'm a bit unique because while women make up 57% of the US workforce, we only make up about 29% of STEM jobs. And when you get to the higher positions in STEM companies, the executive positions, it's much worse. And to highlight this discrepancy, we can look at those who make it to the highest positions in the space industry and check out the demographic of people who have been to space.

[Screen is titled, ‘Women in space’. Below the title reads, ‘in 1963 Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, just two years after the first man Yuri Gagarin. But since her pioneering flight, how many other women have followed?’. At the bottom of the screen is a graph using figures of people, one woman is represented by an orange person, of which there are 59 women. One man is represented by an aqua blue person, of which there are 429. Text above the graph reads, ‘Since 1961 almost 550 people have been to space* but less than 11% have been women.’ Beside this text is an arrow with a text box above it that reads, ‘Updated 2021 (now 12%)’.]

Out of the 560 some people who have been to space, only about 12% of them have been women. And one of the reasons this is a big deal is because going to space is a very unique experience. The astronauts who have gone to space talk about how they've experienced something known as the overview effect.

[Screen shows an image of the earth from space.]

Now the overview effect is this cognitive shift in perspective of how you think about our planet and the humans on that planet. From that vantage point it becomes immediately clear that we as a species are all living on this tiny, fragile ball hanging in the void of space.

And these astronauts who experience this, they come home and their lives are changed. They want to be a better neighbour to each other. They want to be a better steward of the environment. They write books, they give talks about all their experiences, but all of these powerful stories are from a very limited perspective, mostly male, mostly white, mostly American, mostly scientists and engineers because these are the people who have gone to space. So I want you to consider how might the world change if more people from diverse backgrounds experienced the overview effect?

What art, music, or poetry would be created? What education plans would be put in place? What laws would be written? What new Justin Bieber song would be created?

And I say that only half as a joke because if more diverse people from diverse backgrounds could have this perspective and create new things, they would reach a different audience, an audience that's not traditionally reached. And I personally think the world would change for the better.

Now, NASA in particular is doing a much better job of selecting female astronauts, but that wasn't always the case. And back when they sent their first female astronaut, Sally Ride, into space, the NASA engineers on the ground weren't that diverse either, and here's a story that really drives that point home.

So back when NASA was sending Sally ride into space in 1983 there was some question about what to put in her personal kit. And the NASA engineers on the ground had to figure out how many tampons Sally Ride would need for a seven-day mission in space. Seven days, keep that in mind, seven-day mission in space. And they asked her, ‘Is 100 the right number?’ For a seven-day mission in space. And she said, ‘No, that would not be the right number.’ For anyone listening who has not had the, let's say, wonderful experience of having a period themselves, that number is too high. That number is too high. And so Sally Ride said, ‘No, that would not be the right number.’ And so the engineers responded and they said, ‘Well, we know that that's more than you need ‘but failure is not an option.’ And so she said that you could easily cut that number in half and still be wildly, obscenely safe.

Now, of course, this is just a silly example of what happens when your team is not very diverse. But unfortunately this is just one example of lack of diversity leading to inefficiencies. Here are some more.

If you've ever been in an office that felt just a little too cold, that might be because the formula to determine standard office temperature was developed in the 1960s around the metabolic resting rate of the average man. This has resulted in office temperatures feeling like five degrees too cold for the average woman. I'm sure we all have stories like this. But when I went to visit my mom at her office when I was a kid during the summers, it was always freezing in her office. And her and all of the other women who worked in the office had a little space heater under their desk in the middle of summer. In the middle of hot, humid summers, they all had space heaters under their desk, kind of like their way of sticking up for themselves or something. It was all wildly inefficient.

If you've ever waited in a long line in the women's restroom and noticed that there was absolutely no line in the men's restroom, the reason for that is likely because when civil engineers and architects, both male-dominated fields, are designing restrooms, they often allocate the same amount of space for both men and women's restrooms. That seems fair, right? A few problems with that. So one, in men's restrooms, there are both urinals and stalls, meaning more people can relieve themselves in the same amount of space. Also, women need about twice as much time in the bathroom. And the majority of elderly and disabled are women. They need more time in the restroom. Children are more likely to accompany women to the restroom, they need more time. All of this adds up, right? And so it's not as simple, is it really fair to allocate the same amount of space for both men and women? How would bathrooms look different if more women were in the room when we were designing them?

These examples of not including women in design are a little bit annoying and inefficient, right? But not including women in design and technology can also will be dangerous. So personal protective equipment like body armour for police and even face masks have typically been designed for the average man. And because there are differences in chest, hips, and thighs between women and men, women can often end up with ill-fitting protective equipment. There's a story of female police officer, of this female police officer who had breast reduction surgery simply because her body armour was too uncomfortable for her to wear. And when her story came to light, 700 other women in the same force stepped forward to state that their standard-issue protective equipment was ill-fitting for them as well.

Cars have traditionally been designed using car-crash dummies based on the average male. Because of this, women, when they are involved in a car crash, are 47, 47% more likely to be seriously injured and 71% more likely to be moderately injured. And it wasn't until 2011, 2011, it's like really not that long ago, that the US government required car manufacturers to even use female test dummies for their safety tests. And even sometimes the female test dummy is just a scaled-down version of the male test dummy. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as that. Women are not scaled-down versions of men. We have different muscle mass distribution, lower bone density, different vertebrae spacing, and all of this influences how we might be injured in a crash. And now, unfortunately, this is an inefficiency that I think about every time I step into a car.

And finally, lack of female representation can also be found in the medical industry. A new study that just came out from UC Berkeley and the University of Chicago looked at 86 different medications approved by the FDA and found that women experience adverse drug effects nearly twice as often than men. This is because drug dosages have historically been based on clinical trials conducted on men alone. For decades, women were excluded from clinical drug trials based in part because of unfounded concerns that female hormone fluctuations rendered women difficult to study. Excluding women from clinical trials comes at a cost, the health of women.

Now these are just a few samples but you can see that when you don't have women involved in various stages of design for science and technology, it leads to problems. At best, it's just inefficient and annoying, like too many tampons in space. But at worst, it's deadly, it's affecting our health. This isn't good for companies, it's not good for our country and it's definitely not good for women.

So what can we do about it? Well, here are three main areas that I think have a lot of room for improvement. And the first is the representation of women in STEM in media. hat's books and TV shows and movies and anywhere that we consume media because at a young age, we use this media that we consume to figure out what image to formulate in our brain when we think of the word scientist or engineer. And two, we can make STEM more welcoming to people who want families, particularly women who want families. Right now that's not necessarily the case. And three, we can market STEM careers a little bit better to little kids. And I think we can do that by highlighting the altruistic aspects of STEM careers, meaning the parts of STEM careers that help make the world a better place, the jobs that help people through science and technology. And that will work a little bit better because studies have shown that women and that little girls and minorities prioritise that altruistic aspect when deciding what to be when they grow up.

So we've talked about my career as a science communicator. We've talked about women in STEM or the lack thereof and the problems that that causes and a few key areas that have room for improvement. But I want to end this talk by talking about the power of media, because a lot of people, they see me and they see degrees from MIT and they see that I now do stuff on TV and they're understandably confused by that. So I want to talk about the influence that media, social media or otherwise, has on our society and why I think it's really important.

First up, the Jolie Effect. You may remember that back in 2013, Angelina Jolie announced that she had the BRCA gene and went ahead and got a preventative double mastectomy. That's because people who have the BRCA gene have a 50 to 85% chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetime. She was being incredibly brave by being very public about this very hard decision. Well, according to a study by Harvard Medical School, there was a 64% increase in American women getting genetic tests for breast cancer in the two weeks after Angelina Jolie's article came out. Harvard now refers to this as the Jolie Effect.

Next, you may remember ‘The Hunger Games’ and its lead character, Katniss Everdeen, who wields a bow and arrow throughout the book and the movie. Well, when the movies came out and took the world by storm, membership in USA Archery, the governing body for the Olympic sport, more than doubled with most of that membership being driven by little girls. The Archery Trade Organisation saw this as an opportunity. They rode the waves of The Hunger Games success and they shifted their advertising dollars to encouraging more teens and girls to pick up the sport. They really shifted their entire brand due to The Hunger Games success. And NPR, which was for recording on the story, they reported that indoor shooting ranges, which were once taken up by camouflage and hunters, after The Hunger Games were now taken up by little girls in ponytails.

Next, the HBO series ‘Watchmen’ based on the comic of the same name. The show highlights the infamous Tulsa race massacre of 1921 in which Tulsa's affluent Greenwood district, most commonly known as Black Wall Street, was burned to the ground by a bunch of racist white people, killing hundreds of innocent Black people in the process. It's an awful part of history, but as one of the most severe events of racial violence in US history, a very important one to remember. But it wasn't included in Oklahoma curriculum. In fact, many people from Oklahoma, many people from Tulsa even, had no idea. They hadn't even heard of it. That was until HBO's Watchmen came out and now Oklahoma's education department is incorporating the Tulsa race massacre into their student lesson plans across the state. This is an instance where a popular TV show is changing education. It is changing what we decide is important to learn and to remember.

These examples are all to show that we shouldn't underestimate the power of social media, of books, of TV shows, of movies, of our own voice, because these things, they change the collective consciousness of society. They influence what we find to be important, how we see ourselves, how we see others, and they can be used to share things that we are passionate about. For me, that's sharing my love of science and space exploration, and hopefully, changing the demographic of these fields in the process.

[Screen reads, ‘N Series’, below this reads, ‘Emily’s Wonder Lab’, ‘Xploration Outer Space’, ‘the space gal’, ‘Emily Calandrelli’ and ‘’ with a background showing planets and nebula. In the bottom left corner of the screen is a circular image of Emily in a space suit.]

[End of Transcript]  

Biodiversity month

Image: Simone Blom

Southern Cross University: a world beyond the classroom

Southern Cross University are engaging young minds through an education with real world applications and authentic experiences that link to industry, as they step into their future after school. Hear from Simone Blom, who is Associate Lecturer, Faculty of Education. She is joined by Ben Roche, Vice President (Engagement), Southern Cross University along with Zane van den Berg, STEM Project Officer, Rivers Academy of STEM Excellence. Together they highlight the importance of building sustainable futures by delivering learning experiences, at school and university, that go beyond the classroom.

Watch 'Southern Cross University: a world beyond the classroom' (12:58)

Antarctic Week

Image: Dr Hannah Power

Australia's eastern edge: marine landslides and canyons

Did you know that the sea floor isn’t just flat and featureless? The landscape of the sea floor is amazing and is filled with canyons, mountains and all sorts of other interesting things. On the southeast Australian continental margin (SEACM) scientists have discovered giant underwater landslide scars. Dr Hannah Power has gone to sea to examine sediments and identify exactly how old these scars are!

Watch 'Australia's eastern edge: marine landslides and canyons' (03:30)


The Australasian Antarctic Expedition in 1911 was the world's first truly scientific expedition to the white continent, led by Douglas Mawson. The fragile wooden huts that Mawson's expedition constructed and used for two years as their main base are just one of six surviving huts from the heroic era of Antarctic exploration of 1898 to 1922. They are the birthplace of Australia's Antarctic heritage. The Mawson's Huts Foundation, established in 1997 to conserve these fragile buildings, has since undertaken 16 conservation expeditions to save them from being blown into the Southern Ocean.

Watch 'Antarctica' (15:01)

Image: Antarctica

Science week

Image: Future Space Program

Powerhouse Museum's Future Space program

As part of the Lang Walker Family Academy In-Schools Program, Powerhouse and Magnitude.i.o team up to take students on a mission to the International Space Station.
This innovative partnership delivers a world-class STEM program to students across Western Sydney. Students use NASA-inspired design thinking strategies to grow alfalfa seeds and monitor them in an ExoLab, in preparation for a real-life space mission on the international space station. Students will conduct ground trials, compare their seedlings and think about how we can one day take plants to Mars. Students will be connected to local and international experts to inspire them and further develop their thinking.

Watch 'Powerhouse Future Space' (08:09)

Blitzing biodiversity

Student citizen scientists and BioBlitzes are helping the environment by gathering Australia's biodiversity data.
Dr Judy Friedlander explains how schools can contribute to biodiversity data using a smart device, shine the spotlight on threatened species and build STEM knowledge. Showcased through National Biodiversity month and the B&B BioBlitz.

Watch 'Blitzing Biodiversity' (08:14)

Image: Blitzing biodiversity

Education week

Image: Emily Calandrelli

Emily Calandrelli, The Space Gal

Emily Calandrelli is the host and co-executive producer of the hit Netflix series Emily’s Wonder Lab. She is also an accomplished writer and speaker on the topics of space exploration, scientific literacy, and equality. Her chapter book series, The Ada Lace Adventures, centers around an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, math, and solving mysteries with technology. Emily is an MIT engineer who frequently gives talks about the importance of science literacy, the benefits of space exploration, and the challenges for women in STEM careers. Through her work, she wants to make science relatable, easy to understand and more exciting today than ever before in history.

Watch 'Emily Calandrelli, The Space Gal' (21:03)

Learn how to creatively communicate content using infographics with Adobe Express

Having the ability to create infographics is a great way for teachers to communicate important curriculum content and also a creative way for students to consolidate and display what they have learned. An easy and effective way to create infographics is with the new Adobe Express, a free program for all K-12 schools around the world.

Watch 'Making simple infographics with the new Adobe Express' (39:58)

Image: Dr Tim Kitchen

Launch week

Image: Joel Connolly – Blackbird

Unleash creativity in students

During this keynote Joel will share how and why Australia's leading VC firm, Blackbird, valued at $10b, is preparing to develop entrepreneurship and creativity in students nationally and how your students can get involved.

Watch 'Unleash creativity in students' (22:01)

Careers with STEM

Through website and magazine, discover STEM + X, where ‘X’ is your students’ interest. Whatever a student's goals, there’s a STEM + X to match.
Heather Catchpole and Karen Taylor-Brown are co-founders of Refraction Media, a media company specialising in STEM. Refraction Media provides students and teachers with the popular magazine, Careers with STEM.

Watch 'Careers with STEM' (04:49)

Image: Heather Catchpole and Karen Taylor-Brown

More information

This web page will be progressively updated as the event continues.


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