Humans are a species of creative thinkers, problem solvers, and ambitious dreamers. Together we have achieved the seemingly impossible from curing diseases, extending the average lifespan, inventing air flight, harnessing the power of the Earth’s resources to connect people all over the world, to sending people into space. What does the future hold? Will we resurrect extinct species, figure out the hard problem of consciousness, and primarily eat lab grown meat? Are time travel, invisibility, telepathy, and suspended animation ultimately possible? Will climate change, ageing, waste, and food insecurity be oh so 21st century?
Welcome to an online series of events and activities where we explore the frontiers of possibility, and ask what’s next for the human species.
From sautéed spider to seaweed cocktail, facial recognition to de-extinction, post-apocalyptic cakes to deepfakes, we investigate, taste, make and bake the future.
Wild speculation! Educated guess making! Join us this National Science Week for Possible Impossibles, where the boundary between the possible and impossible blurs.
Possible Impossibles Q&A with experts
Read about geneticists working on resurrecting extinct species, and biologists working to prevent species from becoming extinct in the first instance. Technologists creating an enhanced future reality and friendly robot assistants, or nanotechnologists discovering new treatments for chronic pain and devices that will allow us to get just the right amount of sun to keep us healthy. Agriculturalists growing the food of the future, and sports scientists using technology to create super human athletes. Climate scientists mapping our climate past to help us predict our climate future, or material scientists ensuring that future generations can colonise Mars.
We asked a selection of scientists and other experts what impossible challenge they are working to solve, and what’s next for their field? Read More
Possible Impossibles Tales
Are time travel, invisibility, telepathy, and suspended animation ultimately possible? Will climate change, ageing, waste, and biodiversity loss be oh so 21st century?
In this series our Possible Impossibles writers speculate on discoveries and technologies that might just become possible through future scientific advancement rather than remain the purview of science fiction. Read More
Immerse yourself in the wildest places on earth and meet the humans protecting our most precious wildlife. Explore the great savannahs of Kenya, discover the ancient jungles of Borneo and dive into the rich coral reefs of Raja Ampat. Encounter elephants, orangutans, manta rays and some incredible humans, all in stunning cinematic Virtual Reality (VR).
ecosphere is a VR nature documentary series by award winning studio PHORIA. Produced in partnership with Oculus, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Silverback Films Ltd, this groundbreaking series is narrated by Emmy Award winning actress Anna Friel. More information and free download.
Imagine if we could determine the health of a river system just by listening? How many species of fish, eels, underwater insects, sea grasses, crustaceans and birds are having dialogues we can’t usually share?
Join Ros Bandt and Vicki Hallett, two environmental sound artists and performers, as they uncover the little-known sonic world the much loved Barwon River in the air, under water, underground. Exploring the river from their kayaks and using hydrophones and other recording devices, they track its voice from its source in the Otways to the estuary where fresh water meets salt water at Barwon Heads.
In this ongoing project for continued observation and reflection of the river, a range of sonic mixed media works continue to be created, performed, and shared on line. Science and art eclipse through the magic of sound and the act of listening in place.
More activities coming soon ….
PI Bake Off!
All ages (parental supervision recommended for young bakers)
Fancy yourself a wizard with the spatula, or a budding kitchen chemist?
Take up our Possible Impossibles challenge of creating a Science Week morning tea treat without wheat flour, eggs, dairy, or sugar. Can you bake an eggless pavlova, or a cheeseless cheese cake? How about a deliciously light sponge minus wheat flour? We promise it can be done! Read More
Rosetta Tomorrow Challenge
Once upon a time the Rosetta Stone gave western scholars a key to unlocking the writings of ancient Egypt. Now the Whittlesea Tech School is running a competition for students (and encouraging adults to share their designs for fun) to create the next legendary artefact to help future generations understand the world we’re living in today. You can design it by yourself or students can join the Tech School on Wednesday the 19th of August for a live-stream introduction to TinkerCAD to help you on your way. More information and to enter the Challenge.
Sensory Science Exhibition
All ages (parental supervision recommended for young makers)
Imagine if we could see, touch, and hear viruses without the use of specialised scientific equipment?
Artists Dr Erica Tandori and Stuart Favilla plunge us into a virus’s world with Sensory Science Exhibition. Make your own virus model with couscous and chicken wire, and listen to sounds inspired by the activity of viruses.
Activities are informed by the research conducted in the Rossjohn laboratory at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, and designed to be easily accessed by everyone with instructions for people with low vision.
Possible Impossibles – Facial Recognition
Kids and kids at heart!
Turn yourself into an animated character, and learn about the latest facial recognition technology, what it is used for, and how it could be used in the future with this short video created by the Gippsland Tech School.
Making For All
All people in Australia should have the opportunity to take part in scientific activities in a creative and hands-on manner, including people with disabilities. Delight your budding maker with a Making For All kit produced by Dr Kirsten Ellis from Monash University, which is custom-designed to engage participants who have sensory disabilities, significant motor or cognitive disabilities in the fun of science. More details will be available shortly on how to order a kit.
More activities coming soon ….
Possible Impossibles Online Forum
The Victorian Parliament will partner with the Royal Society of Victoria to host a live online community forum exploring how science can help create the sort of future Victorians want. To be held on Sunday 23 August 2020 as part of National Science Week, the Possible Impossibles online forum will be hosted by award-winning ABC journalist Natasha Mitchell.
Fake Out: citizen science challenge
Do you believe what you see? Did Obama really say that (he probably did but not on video)? What are Spiderman and Iron Man doing in Back to the Future? Deep fakes, like YouTuber EZRyderX47’s Back to the Future deepfake video (image featured here), are getting better and better and humans remain the best judges of the truth despite the efforts of AI. Can you tell real from fake? And if you could, would you share it? Take the ‘Fake Out’ challenge and find out
Fake Out has been created by Dr Simon Cropper, Dr Gergely Nyalasy, Sarah Lorenz and Jennifer Nguyen from the University of Melbourne and citizen scientist responses will help inform their research into deep fakes.
A Taste of Tomorrow: fake meat, sautéed spider and lobster lollies?
This series of events by our friends in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Nutrition and Physics at La Trobe University will explore what foods you might eat in the future, how they will be produced, and showcase both the technologically enhanced and the downright bizarre.
Are you willing to try fake meat, insect flour, seaweed snacks, farm-to-plate disease-free animals or bioengineered crops? Then sign up for the Taste Tomorrow taster box!
For more information and to register your interest in receiving a taster box visit the Taste Tomorrow website.
Adults – strictly 18+
Join us from the comfort of your living room as Jon Seltin, Head Brewer from Brick Lane Brewery, winds the clock forward on beer brewing. How will climate change and advances in sensory science affect beer production? How might our beer tastes change in the future?
On this behind the scenes brewery tour, bring your curiosity and engage your palate to discover emerging brewing technologies and trends while sampling some great brews and important brewing raw ingredients.
This is an online event only. Tickets include a Brewing Futures tasting kit which will be posted to you prior to the event for consumption during the event, and a link to join the event via Zoom. More information and tickets
A speculative algal bloom of ideas! Has the pandemic lockdown got you rethinking how we live our lives more sustainably? Well, seaweed could be the answer!
Join us for Seaweed Salon – a two-part workshop series by the Seaweed Appreciation Society International and presented by Science Gallery Melbourne that invites you on a field trip to another world – an alternate seaweed reality, where edible algae bioplastics are mixed up alongside refreshing seaweed cocktails.
By speculating on a radically sustainable seaweed future, we will be asking if you can welcome this delicious solution into your everyday life. Dive into the videos available all through National Science Week, and join the artists Lichen and Jessie on Science Gallery Melbourne’s Instagram account for special Q&A sessions @scigallerymel
Proudly supported by BASF. Image credit: Jessie French. More information about the event
Body / Insect / Machine
Could an insect, human and android communicate through dance?
Body / Insect / Machine is a movement experiment between Prue Lang’s choreography, artist Mathieu Briand’s androids and a Phasmid (stick insect). The work explores the body/androids/artificial movement/intelligence on the one side and the body/human instinct/natural movement/nature on the other.
Videos available all through National Science Week, and join the artists Prue and Mathieu on Science Gallery Melbourne’s Instagram account for special Q&A sessions.
Body / Insect / Machine: Prue Lang & Mathieu Briand is presented by Chunky Move in association with Science Gallery Melbourne. Body / Insect / Machine is part of the ACTIVATORS program and is supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program. With thanks to Professor Mark Elgar, Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Animal Behaviour at University of Melbourne. Image credit: Mathieu Briand.
Our Resilient Future: Water, Agriculture & Biodiversity
Enormous changes and transitions are already upon us, and we find ourselves unprepared. This summer’s devastating bushfires and the unprecedented disruption to industries and the business of government here in Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic have given us a disquieting insight to the sustained uncertainty we’ll be facing under a rapidly changing climate in the decades to come.
It seems impossible, but there are success stories we can learn and build from. Join us for a series of six-minute presentations across the disciplines that consider the formation of localised resilience strategies for regional Victoria, drawing on the experience and unique challenges of the Goulburn Murray region as a case study.
Our Resilient Future is presented by the Royal Society of Victoria, featuring Mr David McKenzie, Ms Claire Flanagan-Smith, A/Professor Lauren Rickards, Professor Brendan Wintle, Professor Richard Eckard, Dr Briony Rogers and Professor Sarah Bekessy. MC: Mike Flattley, CEO of the RSV. More information
More activities coming soon ….
WE WELCOME FEEDBACK
Did you have fun participating in these activities? Tell us what you thought of the Possible Impossibles activities by filling in a short Possible Impossibles survey
Possible Impossibles is presented by the Royal Society of Victoria for National Science Week 2020 in collaboration with: Brick Lane Brewery, Gippsland Tech School, Parliament of Victoria, PHORIA, Scienceworks, Science Gallery Melbourne, Whittlesea Tech School, and scientists and experts from CSIRO, La Trobe University, Monash University, RMIT, Swinburne University, the University of Melbourne, and Victoria University.