The Adelaide Planetarium at the University of South Australia – Celebrating its 45th Anniversary in 2017 in conjunction with NAIDOC Week presents


Aboriginal Skies


Thursday 6th of July & Friday 7th of July 2017 (Hurry Friday night session last 7-seats – book now!)

7:30pm – 9:30pm

Adelaide Planetarium,

Mawson Lakes Campus,

University of South Australia


Paul Curnow

Adelaide Planetarium

University of South Australia


Abstract: Aboriginal Australians have been looking at the night sky for thousands of years. During this time they have been able to build up a complex knowledge of the stars and their movements. Come and learn how to find the different constellations (stellar patterns) as seen by indigenous groups throughout Australia. Hear about the Dreaming stories that relate to the night sky, and learn about how constellations like the Southern Cross and Orion are seen by Aboriginal Australians. The evening is strictly designed for the adult beginner, with little or no astronomical knowledge who would like to know more about the night sky and the constellations, as seen by the Aboriginal Peoples of Australia.


Bio: Paul Curnow [B.ED] is the Vice President of the Astronomical Society of South Australia (member since 1991) and a former council member of the Field Geology Club of South Australia. He has been a lecturer at the Adelaide Planetarium since 1992 and was the recipient of the ASSA editor’s award for 2000; 2010; and then again in 2013. In 2002, he served as a southern sky specialist for visiting U.S. and British astronomers who were in Australia for the total solar eclipse. He is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on Australian Aboriginal night sky knowledge; and in 2004, he worked in conjunction with the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center Planetarium in Ohio, on the creation of a show that features Indigenous Australian stories of the night sky. In addition, Paul runs a number of popular courses for the general public that focus on the constellations, planetary astronomy, historical astronomy and ethnoastronomy, which primarily deals with how the night sky is seen by non-western cultures. He appeared as the keynote speaker at the inaugural 2010 Lake Tyrrell Star Party in Sea Lake, Victoria and in 2011 was a special guest speaker at the Carter Observatory in Wellington, New Zealand. Since 2012 Paul has taken the role of Lecturer for the Astronomy & Universe course (EDUC2066) for the School of Education at the University of South Australia. Paul appears regularly in the media and has authored over 50 articles on astronomy.


To be held at the Adelaide Planetarium (upstairs), Building P, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes Campus. Mawson Lakes Boulevard, Mawson Lakes SA 5095. BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL. Cost $30.00 per person. Enrolments are subject to the seating capacity of the planetarium, so book early to avoid disappointment – to make a booking or for further information phone 8302 3138; or BOOK ONLINE at: or email the planetarium at To make general course content enquiries only; contact Paul Curnow at




The Field Geology Club of South Australia presents the Brian Daily Memorial Lecture


Southern Limestone’s Under Western Eyes:

The Thinker on the Rock


Thursday 3rd of August 2017 at 7.45pm
Mawson Lecture Theatre
Department of Geology

University of Adelaide


Dr Brian McGowran
School of Physical Sciences

University of Adelaide


Abstract: In 1868 Thomas Henry Huxley gave a lecture on a piece of chalk to the working men of Norwich. In his simple and compelling prose Huxley took his audience down-scale to the multitudinous microscopic skeletons of planktonic organisms making up the chalk. He took them up-scale to the chalk mass exposed in “that long line of white cliffs to which England owes her name of Albion”, and signifying the sea flooding across much of Europe and lands beyond during the age of dinosaurs and giant marine reptiles. He went further—he drew a bold comparison of the ancient chalks on the continent with the recently discovered Globigerina ooze carpeting extensive tracts of the modern, deep Atlantic Ocean. Huxley’s agenda was that the world was much older than the years allotted biblically, that there was a genuine continuity in the stream of environments and life from geological epochs past to the present day without vast catastrophes, that life on earth has evolved (this was less than a decade after Darwin’s On the origin of species), and—most importantly!—that the excitements of evolutionary theory and deep-ocean exploration were quite accessible for the interested population at large, such as the working men of Norwich.


Huxley’s lecture became famous and exemplary. It’s pretty much my agenda, too. In Dreams of a final theory, the physicist Steven Weinberg carried that same piece of chalk into the big why?-questions in several branches of modern science, appealing in each to a blend of history and universal principle, all the way down to particle physics. Sternly resisting the metaphor of Salome’s dancing the seven veils before King Herod, I identify seven surges in two centuries of harassing a limestone—in the field, in the laboratory, in the library, in the pub. It is all about deep history—geo-history and bio-history.


Bio: Brian McGowran PhD DSc is a retired academic. In retirement he has led an international conference Sydney-Adelaide, written a book (Biostratigraphy), edited the papers of a conference in Austria on chronostratigraphy, fought and lost the good fight not to cripple the Neogene Period, written up in longform his heroes Martin Glaessner, Reg Sprigg and Charles Darwin, with three colleagues done a sumptuous excursion guide for the Willunga Embayment, and, too infrequently, imparted some passion for rocks and fossils to primary school children. I get the double thumbs-up in the yard at lunch time, and positive reports filter in from various Mums. They ask “how long have you been a scientist, Brian?” and I say, “how long ago was 1957?” which causes an urgent huddle in mental arithmetic producing an answer that they can’t believe—a reaction with which, come to think of it, I tend to empathise.

IF THE DOOR IS LOCKED, PLEASE RING THE FGC DOORBELL FOR ADMITTANCE. Please note however that the doorbell will be removed at 8.00 pm in order not to interrupt the lecture. Latecomers will need to contact university security 8313 5990 for admittance.

Members and visitors are warmly invited to attend, and to stay for refreshments after the meeting.


Members and visitors are warmly invited to attend. There is no charge for admittance and no need to book. If the door to the Mawson Building is locked, please ring the FGC doorbell for admittance. Please note however that the doorbell will be removed at 8.00 pm in order not to interrupt the lecture. Latecomers will need to contact university security 8313 5990 for admittance. For further information visit:




Australia’s Science Channel presents


SCINEMA International Science Film Festival 2017


Wednesday 7 June 2017 6.30-8.30pm

Palace Nova Cinema, Rundle Street

booking required at


SCINEMA International Science Film Festival is the largest science film festival in the southern hemisphere; celebrating the power of moving image to tell stories about the world, how it works and our place in it. Now in its 14th year, SCINEMA will showcase science features, shorts, documentaries, animated and experimental films from filmmakers around the world and premieres in major cities across Australia, starting in Adelaide at Palace Nova Cinemas on June 7.

See for details on the full screening program of the eight winning films from the 2017 Festival.




The Royal Institution of Australia and The Royal Society of South Australia presents


Antarctica – Past, Present and Future


Wednesday 21 June 2017, 6.00-7.30pm

The Science Exchange, Adelaide

FREE but booking required at


Antarctica has a wild attraction unlike anywhere else on earth.  Whether it is the rich history of heroic exploration, the important research into climate, ecology and geology, or as a place to inspire and foster creativity, it has a lasting impact on all who travel there.


Join Paleontologist John Long, writer and 2017 Ancarctic Arts Fellowship recipient Sean Williams, and Director of the Royal Institution and Antarctic eco-tourism guide Paul Willis as they share their perspectives on the continent that has captured the minds of explorers for generations.


Proudly sponsored by the Adelaide Festival of Ideas




The Backyard Universe presents


Ediacaran Skies Tour


23-26 June 2017

Alpana Station, Flinders Ranges


The magnificent Flinders Ranges are one of Australia’s most awe inspiring landscapes ‐ bright and inviting majestic quartzite‐capped peaks during the day, brilliant and enchanting sunsets at day’s end, and absolutely awesome night skies, that make you want to reach up and touch the stars.


Join us as we explore the world renowned geology and fossils of the Flinders Ranges by day, and then explore the superb dark skies above our heads at night. Utilising state of the art telescopes, we’ll explore the magnificent southern skies from one of the darkest places on the planet. The dates for this tour were chosen especially to take advantage of the exceptionally dark skies during the New Moon period. And what sights there are to see! The Milky Way is high overhead and you’ll be able to gaze directly at its centre. The bulge of the Milky Way will be at its biggest here, as we are looking towards the centre of our galaxy, towards the constellation of Sagittarius. Today, we recognise this band of light for what it is: the edge‐on view of our own galaxy of stars. Galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae all shine brighter in the dark velvet skies of Alpana Station. A venue with a million star rating! The 4-day/3-night self‐drive & self‐catered tour will be packed full of interesting activities, including:


-a guided underground tour of the 19th century Blinman Mine

-tour of a working woolshed

-a guided 2WD tag‐along tour of geologically significant Parachilna Gorge. It’s much more than just a scenic drive!

-see the debris layer from the Acraman meteorite impact 560-million years ago

-enjoy sunset drinks with spectacular views to Wilpena Pound and Lake Torrens

-see Ediacaran fossils ‐ evidence of the first large & varied multicellular animals on the planet

-explore the awesome night sky with the aid of large computerised telescopes


Cost: 4 days/3 nights from $400  (for twin share)


Places are limited. For further information & bookings, visit our website or contact us.

Phone:  0488 705 224






Ethiopia: Geology, History and Culture


16th January to 11th February 2018


Frances Williams
Tour leader, geological specialist

and contact person


Ethiopia is a land of contrasts, contradictions and surprises. To begin with, it is the only place on earth where the earth’s crust is splitting apart in three directions and a new ocean is forming on land! This unique geological setting has resulted in breathtaking scenery – from majestic mountains rising over 4000 m to salt-encrusted lava deserts more than 100 m below sea level. It is one of the oldest Christian countries in the world, has a history reaching back to Old Testament times and a pre-history to our earliest human ancestors. It is the only African country not to have been colonised by a European power, and its rich, vibrant culture is unlike that anywhere else in the world. As a bonus, a quirk of the Ethiopian calendar enables you to be seven years younger as soon as you set foot in the country!


I am planning a trip early next year to introduce travellers to this fascinating, yet relatively little visited, country. It will include the rock churches of Lalibela, the ancient city of Axum, the magnificent scenery of the Western Highlands, volcanic landscapes of the Rift Valley, the Blue Nile gorge (Africa’s “Grand Canyon”), music and dance in local venues, the colourful celebration of Timkat (“Epiphany”), and much more! The overall theme is to observe the relationship between the country’s geology, scenery, history and culture and to conclude that everything depends ultimately on the geology!


The trip is aimed toward the traveller who enjoys adventure but is unable or reluctant to engage in long treks or camping. It is conceived rather as a group of friends travelling and enjoying an adventure together than as a formal tour. Participants will be limited to nine. We will stay in comfortable hotels and lodges, and travel by private bus with plenty of opportunity for easy to moderate walking, and optional side trips by mule or horse. Dates are January 16th to February 11th 2018, and the cost approximately US$3900 inclusive of all meals, accommodation and travel within Ethiopia (but excluding cost of airfare from Australia to Ethiopia). The cost in Aus$ will depend on the prevailing exchange rate.


If you are interested and would like further information please contact me on or phone 0403 153 726, as soon as possible as places are limited.


Frances Williams Author of “Understanding Ethiopia: Geology and Scenery” Springer International Publishing, 2016




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