Dr Duane W. Hamacher’s work seeks to understand how the first Australians developed and embedded scientific information into their knowledge systems. Working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, students, and knowledge custodians across Australia, he listens to their stories, songs, and traditions to learn about Indigenous astronomical and geological knowledge, and understand the connections between sky, land, and sea.
The journey of La Trobe University’s Dr Courtney Ennis has been complementary to the journey of Cassini. Using the skills and insight learned throughout his journey, he has been able to use the data sent back to Earth by the Cassini space probe to develop experiments that aid our understanding of the chemistry of Titan. From telescopic observations, spacecraft missions, and experiments on Earth, he can piece together a picture of how life came to be on Earth 3.6 billion years ago.
Review by by Helen Gardiner van de Pol
As science communicators, we are always being asked to evaluate our activities and demonstrate impact. Teachers know this well. How do you know which part of what program helped form the adult you see before you today? That science outreach event you planned for 8-9-year-olds some 20 years ago, did it impact those children as intended? Did it contribute to their later decision to choose a career in science? Did it make them more scientifically literate even though they grew up to do art? If we interviewed them today, would they correctly recall your wonderful program and describe how it changed their life or would it just be part of a fog of memories which included fun trips to the museum with their favourite aunt who was a scientist?