Out&About: Sydney’s Ultimo Science Festival 2013


Listen up Sydneysiders, it’s that time of the year again where we get to celebrate the brilliance of science. From 20130914_132920September 12-22, you can attend various science shows, exhibitions, lectures, and events at the Ultimo Science Festival!

Yesterday, we got the chance to attend one of the major exhibitions at the Ultimo Science Festival: ‘Playing with Light’. This exhibition is not to be missed as it’s highly recommended for school kids and families who appreciate science.

Playing with Light is a full-body interactive exhibit that takes you into the bright and colourful world of lights, lasers and lenses.

20130914_135411Become a ninja for the day as you get to weave through a maze of lasers, dodging lasers (and people) without setting off the security alarms.

You will also get the opportunity to freeze your shadow, experiment with the adjustable concave-convex mirror, and create colourful artworks by painting Infared light on a virtual canvas.

Want to relax before heading off to other parts of the science festival? Sit back at the Kaleidoscope workshop station

If that’s not enough science for you, you must head down to the Powerhouse Museum this upcoming weekend (September 21 and 22) as the Family Science Weekend will be on!and build your very own kaleidoscope that you can later keep. You can also relax at one of the gaming stations where you can play retro games like Pacman & Space Invaders with your mates. During this fun-filled weekend of science show fun, attendees will be able to explore the impact of extreme cold with liquid nitrogen, and harness the power of steam.

For more information about the different shows and exhibitions of the Ultimo Science Festival, head over to

          7 random facts about light and lenses


1) Visible light (commonly referred as ‘light’) is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye. Visible light has a wavelength of approximately 380 – 740 nanometres — between the longer wavelengths of invisible infrared and the shorter wavelengths of invisible ultraviolet.

2) The study of light and the interaction of light and matter is called ‘optics’.


3) Issac Newton observed that a thin beam of sunlight hitting a glass prism on an angle creates a band of visible colors that includes red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet (ROYGBIV). This occurred because different colors travel through glass (and other mediums) at different speeds, causing them to refract at different angles and separate from each other.

4) Light travels very, very fast. The speed of light in a vacuum (an area empty of matter) is around 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometres per second).

5)images Italian scientist Galileo Galilei (aka Father of modern observational astronomy) played a major role in the Scientific Revolution and developed telescopes with around 30x magnification. These telescopes later helped him discover the four largest moons orbiting Jupiter.

6) Photosynthesis is a process that involves plants using energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into food.

7) Many animals with eyes that do not require lenses (such as insects and shrimp) are able to detect ultraviolet, by quantum photon-absorption mechanisms, very much the same chemical way that humans detect visible light.

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