The Australian Museum Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize presented by the University of Sydney is offered to primary and high school students nationally. If you have a passion for science and for communicating ideas, then enter this competition by telling a scientific story via a short video piece. The theme for 2023 is 'green'. Take a look at Dr Karl’s ideas for this year’s theme below.
Visit the Australian Museum Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize for details about the competition.
The idea is to communicate a scientific concept(s) in a way that is accessible and entertaining to the public while painlessly increasing their science knowledge or, as the Sleek Geeks like to say, “learn without noticing”.
Recognised by teachers for its relevance to the primary and high school curriculum, the competition has become a staple activity in the classrooms of many schools across Australia.
Every year the judges are overwhelmed by the creativity and quality of entries, and the Faculty of Science congratulates all students who participate in the competition.
Brain scanning technology shows that the human brain can adapt throughout our lives. In his film Neuroplasticity - You Can Change Your Brain, Iestyn uses colourful graphics to explain how neurons connect via synapses. Through everyday examples, he shows that when connections become crowded with data, learning prompts an editing process that makes space for new information.
Aidi, Tara and Ellen tell the story of COVID-19 variants through song. Changing Corona describes how virus mutations are caused by errors during reproduction. Although this means that mutations will appear for as long as the virus reproduces, the filmmakers remind us that humans can also change and adapt to manage new variants.
Finding Nemo is a fun movie but in Sex Change in Clownfish, Marissa shows the science is a little fishy. Combining expert opinion with graphics to map their complex reproductive hierarchy, she explains that all clownfish have male and female reproductive organs. This means if a breeding female is lost, the dominant male can switch sex to replace her.
In Adaptation: Now That's Change! Genevieve examines how animals fit into their environment and what they must do to survive if their habitat changes. Combining graphics and close encounters with cuddly — and not-so-cuddly — creatures, she shows how adaptations happen over time and the sort of features that develop to help animals thrive.
Cattle farming produces large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane, but a possible solution might live in the sea. In A More Polite Belch, Charlotte uses humour and engaging graphics to show that by adding the red seaweed, Asparagopsis, to animal feed, the digestion of cows and sheep can be modified to drastically reduce their methane output.
In Stem Cells - Changing the Way We Heal, Zara uses colourful animations, expert interviews and an original experiment with a flatworm called Bob, to demonstrate the regenerative capacity of stem cells. She explains how pluripotent stem cells can become any type of cell in the body, with potential to promote growth and healing.
In Rewilding Earth, Jonathan discusses the implications of climate change and investigates how enhancing biodiversity could help address this pressing issue. Through a series of interviews, he shares community concerns about the future of climate change then draws on research to explain the process of rewilding.
Have you ever contemplated what life would be like on Mars? In How to Get to Mars - A Big Question, Sonya uses clay modelling to explore a series of obstacles that humans would need to overcome before they could live on the Red Planet and proposes some practical solutions for each.
The square-cube law states that as an object increases in size, its mass grows at a faster rate than its surface area. After considering whether it would be possible for Godzilla to exist, Isaac, Ethan, Reuben and Alex apply this principle to explore how large an animal could realistically get. Their film Square-Cube Law is a comprehensive presentation of the group’s findings.
If a super volcano erupted, the impacts would be widespread and catastrophic. In their film Super Volcanoes, Scarlett and Scarlett demonstrate the science behind these high magnitude eruptions and explain how they could be used as a source of power, providing green energy for future generations.
Big Problem: Coral Bleaching is an entertaining investigation into one of the most widespread issues affecting coral reefs. Inspired by her passion for the ocean, Zara sets out to educate viewers on some of the main causes of coral bleaching, the scientific process behind it and ways that everyone can work together to help minimise the issue.
A self-proclaimed car enthusiast, Leon was fascinated by how his tiny toy cars defied gravity and travelled upside down around a loop track without falling to the floor. In Tour de Force, he uses a delightful combination of demonstrations, illustration and performance to examine the role of centripetal force in this natural phenomenon.
Look at your windowpane on a rainy day and you’ll almost certainly see tiny water droplets move closer together until they merge. In The Secret Life of Droplets, Himalaya uses a lively combination of song and animation to explain the science behind this phenomenon.
In Rebellious Water, Jessica and Zacharie examine why water seemingly defies the rules of chemistry. They use animation to illustrate the forces at play between water molecules, known as hydrogen bonds, and describe how this impacts the physical properties of water in its different states.
Synovial Fluid and Subatomic Particles is an investigation into how quantum effects in water help our joints move. Taking to his local sports field, Aneirin explains the important role of synovial fluid in the human body and reveals how recent scientific discoveries have transformed scientists’ understanding of how this fluid behaves.
Super Cooled Science examines how water turns into ice and explains ‘supercooling’, the process of chilling a liquid below its freezing point, without it becoming solid. Using claymation and dance, Scarlett and Scarlett illustrate the role that energy plays in this transformation and describe one of the ways supercooled water is being used by scientists.
The Leidenfrost Effect investigates what occurs when a liquid heated past its boiling point doesn’t evaporate, but instead glides across the surface it’s resting on. Levi demonstrates this effect using water droplets in a hot pan and shares a series of diagrams to explain what takes place at a molecular level.
Have you ever wondered why some bugs can walk on water? In Stretching the Tension, Clara explores the role of surface tension, revealing how water acts like an elastic membrane that stretches when forces are applied to it — just like a trampoline.
What do cosmetics, clothing and toothpaste have in common? They all contain microplastics. In Fish Fiasco, Ellie and Tsambika investigate how microplastics might end up in the ocean. They interview scientific experts, visit a wastewater treatment plant and even study fish stomach contents to uncover how society's use of plastic impacts the environment.
Neutrinos are subatomic particles that come from stars and nuclear reactions, and as Jonathan shows in Neutrinos – The Sky’s the Limit, they are all around us. Jonathan’s film uses creative multimedia techniques to reveal the implications that neutrinos have for physics and human life as a whole.
In April 2019 history was made when astronomers revealed the first ever image of a black hole. In How Was the Picture of a Black Hole Taken? Aiden and Thomas explore the physics of event horizons, the mechanics of cameras, and how Very Long Baseline Interferometry works, to understand how a black hole was imaged.
Inspired by the book Jurassic Park, Finn ponders what life would be like today if a dinosaur species were to be resurrected. In his film, Can We Bring Dinosaurs Back to Life?, Finn explores the science and biotechnology critical to this notion and explains the challenges scientists would face.
In their film, Polar Bears Need their Ice, Ice Baby, Evelyn and Lucy explain how the use of air conditioners in Australia may be damaging the habitats of polar bears. They conduct experiments to demonstrate global warming and offer practical ideas for living more sustainably.
Ella Woods and Emily Woods, St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, QLD
It's estimated that two out of three people in the world are not able to consume dairy products without experiencing gut discomfort and gas. In Gas Busters, Emily and Ella explain the science behind lactose intolerance, explore its evolution and present a simple solution that allows everyone to enjoy cow's milk.
Eliza Dalziel and Claire Galvin, St Monica's College, QLD
Making A Splash examines the important role that sea cucumbers play in protecting our coral reefs. Eliza and Claire assess the potential role of the species in raising calcium carbonate levels in these fragile ecosystems, which helps to rebuild reefs, increase nutrient recycling and counteract the harmful effects of climate change.
Abby Hambleton and Owen Kelly, Warrandyte High School, VIC
Abby and Owen were stunned when they heard astronomer Carl Sagan claim that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on Earth’s beaches. In their film Stars Beat Sand, the students put this claim to the test and are so amazed by the results, they decide to sing about it.
Amelia Lai and Caitlyn Walker, Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney, NSW
It is estimated that bees pollinate one third of the food we consume each day, making them an integral part of our environment. In Bee Aware and Care, Caitlyn and Amelia explain the major causes of bee population decline and share some practical strategies for saving these important insects.
Ellie Cole and Tsambika Galanos, Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney, NSW
In their film Dust Detectives, Ellie and Tsambika set out on a mission to understand the 'Tyndall effect', which explains why small dust particles are only visible in sunlight. They demonstrate how this unseen dust can end up in our lungs and, through experimentation, reveal that some chores generate more dust than others.
Manure You Know - Eliza Dalziel, Claire Galvin, Georgia Hannah and Anna Hardy, St Monica's College, QLD
One Small Step for a Cat - Josh Langman, Westminster School, SA
Third place: Dream On - Meg Paterson, The Scots School Albury, NSW
Cold But Toasty Warm – Amelia Lai and Caitlyn Walker, Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Sydney, NSW
A Portrait of a Serial Killer - Charlie Carroll, Brayden Eyles and Lachlan Ginger, Oxford Falls Grammar School, NSW
Owl Pellets: A Postal System to Scientists by Claire Galvin and Anna Hardy from St Monica's College Cairns, QLD
No Place for Race by Tom Downie and Harry Bebbington from Warrandyte High School, VIC
Sniffles by Meg Paterson from The Scots School Albury, NSW
The Secret of the Appendix by Paige Bebee from Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School, VIC
Why are Concussions Bad for You? by Luke Cadorin-Taylor from St Aloysius' College, NSW
Gravity Sucks by Tom Downie and Harry Bebbington from Warrandyte High School, VIC
Cry Stoppers by Georgia (Gigi) Souyave-Murphy and Ella Woods, St Margaret's Anglican Girls School, QLD
Why is Seaweed Brown? by William Martin from Trinity Grammar Junior School, NSW
Phantom Limbs by Jackson Huang from Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology, QLD
Epigenetics by Jackson McDonald from Varsity College, QLD
The Mystery of Lichen by Mikali Anagnostis from St Philip's Christian College, NSW
The Spectacular Spider by Brandon Gifford from Casino High School, NSW
The Stories in the Rock by Alex Jaeger from Mornington Secondary College, VIC
Proving Charles' Law by Brandon Conway-Rusk from Devonport High School, TAS
What is Friction? by Nathan Gori, Reuben Shepherd, Billy McLeod, Jack Dougall and Sacha Balme from Beauty Point Public School, NSW
Splendid Steam by Kezia Sanders and Lucas Trewin from St Joan of Arc Primary School, VIC
WINNER: The Legendary Lizard by Brandon Gifford (Year 11) from Casino High School, NSW
Second place: Natural Selection: It's Pretty Random by Greer Clarke (Year 10) from All Hallows' School, QLD
Third place: The Colour of Water by Martin de Rooy Year 11) from Pimlico State High School, QLD
Finalists with Adam Spencer and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki at the University of Sydney campus. L-R: Iggy Fox, Luca Pona, Martin de Rooy, Adam Spencer, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Brandon Gifford, Greer Clarke
2010 Sleek Geek film comp winner in the Primary School category, Lily Colmer, with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Professor Trevor Hambley (Dean of Science), and Dr Michael Spence (Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney)
2010 Sleek Geek film comp winners with Professor Trevor Hambley (Dean of Science), Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, and Dr Michael Spence (Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney)
2009 Sleek Geek film comp winners with Professor David Day, Dean of Science, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, and Dr Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney
2008 Sleek Geek Finalists with Dr Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Julius Sumner Miller Fellow and Professor David Day, Dean of Science
2007 Sleek Geek Finalists with Professor David Day, Dean of Science, and Professor Gavin Brown, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney
Sleek Geeks 2006 - Budding science communicators with the University of Sydney’s Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Dean of Science, Professor David Day