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Prof. Brian Schmidt, Nobel Laureate, becomes project Patron

Prof. Brian Schmidt, astrophysicist at the Australian National University's Mount Stromlo Observatory, was awarded a Nobel Laureate in 2011 for proving the expansion of the universe is accelerating, not slowing as previously thought. A strong advocate of the importance of science and maths study for Australia’s future, Brian has become a patron of Space to Grow and shares the following message.

'Science is all about curiosity and this curiosity-based knowledge provides the building blocks of future technological breakthroughs.  It is not necessarily intuitive that technological revolutions are rarely manufactured, but rather emerge chaotically out of the forest of basic research, current technology, as a brilliant idea.  Ultimately knowledge provides opportunity.  Opportunity not just to go on the well-travelled road from point A to B but rather to take a path of discovery to new places. This is the essence of science - a cycle where we learn new things about the Universe, we use this knowledge to transform our own world through innovation, and then use innovations to open up new discovery windows on the world.

Australia's continued prosperity is not guaranteed - it requires strategic science and education policies that will enable our society to adapt to a rapidly changing world, developing innovations to maintain and improve our standard of living. Australia's greatest resource is its people and the education of our children is the single most important investment we can make in the future.

 Prof_Brian_SchmidtPhoto credit:  Australian National University

There is substantial evidence indicating that highly skilled science teachers are critical in determining education outcomes - more important than for example, class size or quality of infrastructure.  We should do our best to skill up teachers through professional development to ensure the science curriculum is taught as well as possible.  This is not just making sure that our teachers know the facts, but are also confident enough in their scientific knowledge to share the excitement of discovery and the power that comes from systematic deduction of fact from evidence.

Teaching science successfully is all about connecting the wonder of nature that surrounds us to our daily lives.  This can come from seemingly unimportant observations of the stars at night to the nature of things like electricity which powers our daily lives.  Kids are naturally curious and most love science if we simply do not kill their interest by making it irrelevant and boring.  In the process, we can teach our children to think through problems and learn the process of critical thinking.  Not only will this provide the next generation of our nation's scientists and engineers but it will also ensure we have a public that can thrive in what is an increasingly technologically driven society.

The Space to Grow project strongly plays to these ideals and vision.  This is why I am delighted to be the patron of this important science pedagogy research project designed to attract and retain more high-school students into science.' 

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Students and Teachers


Newsletter 14

Sandra Woodward, from Oakhill College, is the NSW representative finalist for the 2012 AITSL Awards for Secondary Teachers.  Sandra was Space to Grow's first Feature Teacher.

Newsletter 13

Prof. Brian Schmidt, becomes Space to Grow patron and shares his thoughts on science education and the project.  Lauren Inwood from Bathurst High School is awarded Sleek Geeks Highly Commended for her 'Open Clusters' entry. Ross Cutts has set up a discussion site for teachers to register and talk about their experiences at Space To Grow.

Newsletter 11

Student-led research paper in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (PASA)


Newsletter 10

Students researching astronomical targets, Science Week activities, Nobel Laureate awarded to Astronomer Prof. Brian Schmidt on inspiring science engagement


Newsletter 8

David McKinnon and Lena Danaia joined head teacher Craig Luccarda with his Denison College, Bathurst High School campus Year 10 students, High School students publish K1-6 paper in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (PASA), questionnaire data entry is even easier.

Newsletter 5

Around 100 MacKillop College Year 10 students were introduced to the project via Colour Imaging and Star Cluster Photometry. 

 Students Overview   2students  PosterPresentation


Newsletter 2

Doreen Conroy invited Carolyn Dow and David Frew to join the DETW Principal's Timetabling meeting by VidCon, Lena Danaia joined head teacher Craig Luccarda at Denison College, Kelso High School campus,  Quentin Parker met with Bryan Morgan at Cherrybrook Technology High School, Rob Hollow met with Ed Gomez from LCOGT.N in the United Kingdom.

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Newsletter 9

Various team members met with partners to discuss new training and implementation strategies, resulting in the CEOP 'Clusters Strategy' and combined DETW/CEOB training workshops for July.


Rob Hollow, Michael Fitzgerald and Carolyn Dow joined Paul Stenning to acquaint CEO Parramatta Science Coordinators with the Space to Grow project aims and resources at Aengus Kavanagh Education and Equity Centre, Mt Druitt, 21 June. Lee Middleton and Jim Finn from DET Western region also attended.


Newsletter 1

Chief Investigator, A/Prof. David McKinnon visited in Santa Barbara USA to meet up with Wayne Rosing and talk to staff in early October. 

CEO Parramatta principals and Science Coordinators attended a presentation by Chief Investigator, Prof Quentin Parker and Dr David Frew. 

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