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The Al-Zr of the Periodic Table

Our comedic ensemble of quick witted scientists uncover the tales of the Periodic Table
Join us on Wednesday 14 August as our scientists explore the chemical elements to celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table during National Science Week.

This event is sold out. 

Event details
Date and time:
Wednesday 14 August, 6.30-7.45pm.
Doors open at 6pm.
Venue: The Great Hall, Quadrangle, The University of Sydney.

It’s the Periodic Table’s 150th birthday and we’re ready to celebrate by exploring the elements! Who invented the table? And will we ever know if all the elements have been found?

Find out which tiny village has four elements named after it, what the rarest elements on earth are and how to make brand new ones.

Ever wondered which scientist discovered the most elements or where all of the elements in the human body come from? Find out this and much, much more! 

Our ensemble of scientists – including Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Adam Spencer and Dr Alice Motion – uncover weird and wonderful tales of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.

Join us for an entertaining night of science and get up close with the chemical elements to celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table this National Science Week.

Our featured scientists

Alice Motion

Dr Alice Motion
School of Chemistry, University of Sydney.

Alice Motion has studied and worked in the UK, Switzerland and Australia and is currently Lecturer in Chemical Education and Outreach at the University of Sydney. Alice is an open source scientist and director of Breaking Good - a project that empowers young people and citizens to make molecules that matter. Her research is centred on ways to connect people with science. Alice was a finalist in the Google Impact Challenge, Australia 2018, has presented a weekly science segment on FBi Radio since 2015 and is the co-host of the ABC Science Podcast Dear Science.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Image credit: Ross Coffey

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
Julius Sumner Miller Fellow, University of Sydney.

Dr Karl’s media career spans more than 30 years, talking about Science in radio, TV, newspapers, and books – 44 to date with more on the way.

His accolades range from the Ig Nobel Prize from Harvard University for his ground-breaking research into belly button fluff and why it is almost always blue, to being one of Australia’s 100 National Living Treasures.A lifetime student, Karl has earned degrees in Physics and Maths, Biomedical Engineering, Medicine and Surgery.

Since 1995, he has been the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at Sydney University, where his ‘mission’ is to spread the good word about science and its benefits.


Adam Spencer

Adam Spencer
Mathematics and Science Ambassador, University of Sydney.

Adam Spencer was completing a PhD in Pure Mathematics when he happened to win the national Triple J Raw Comedy championship in 1996. From there, a television and radio career beckoned, and Adam completed 15 years as one of Australia’s most respected, wittiest and thought-provoking breakfast radio commentators across Triple J and later ABC 702.

In 2014 Adam was appointed University of Sydney’s Ambassador for Maths and Science and his latest books include THE LITTLE BOOK OF NUMBERS, THE BIG BOOK OF NUMBERS, WORLD OF NUMBERS, TIME MACHINE, THE NUMBER GAMES and THE TOP 100.

Ben Colagiuri

Associate Professor Ben Colagiuri
School of Psychology, University of Sydney.

Ben is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology. His research aims to understand how expectancies shape health outcomes via the placebo effect. He has published more than 60 scientific papers and won several national and international awards for his research.  

Michelle Demers

Michelle Demers
Plant Breeding Institute, University of Sydney

Michelle is a PhD student using bioinformatics, a blend of biology and computer science, to study the genomes of the worst diseases plaguing our crops and is passionate about bringing scientific advances out where they can benefit people most. She also co-founded Carapac, which is producing eco-friendly plastic alternatives.

Claire Edmunds

Claire Edmunds
School of Physics, University of Sydney

Claire is a fourth year PhD candidate with the Quantum Control Laboratory at Sydney University, and a Quantum Control Engineer at Q-CTRL. She is developing routines to characterise noise affecting quantum devices, and demonstrating control techniques that improve the robustness of qubits and quantum algorithms to such noise.

Amelie Vanderstock

Amelie Vanderstock
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney

Amelie is a PhD student at the University of Sydney, researching native bees in cities. She co-founded ‘Let’s BEE Scientists’, a project where youth are co-creating ecology experiments to learn about local pollinators. Amelie is passionate about native bees, environmental education and the power of co-creating science to build community.

Dr Sabin Zahirovic

Dr Sabin Zahirovic
School of Geosciences, University of Sydney

Sabin is a postdoctural research associate and lecturer in the School of Geosciences. He has ongoing interests in deep-time global plate reconstructions and paleogeography, with a recent focus on the links between plate tectonics and the planetary deep carbon cycle as part of an international collaboration with the Deep Carbon Observatory.

Dr Girish Lakhwani

Dr Girish Lakhwani
School of Chemistry, University of Sydney

Girish is a senior lecturer in the School of Chemistry and a chief investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science. He uses optical spectroscopy to study the origin and evolution of optical and electronic properties in novel nanoscale semiconductor materials to deliver solutions for solar energy harvesting, optical switches and low power-driven lighting solutions.

Event information

This event is free and open to all but online registration is essential.

Simply click the "Register Now" button or follow this link.

Entry to ticket holders will be prioritised and given on a first in, best dressed basis until the room reaches capacity. If an event is full, this may result in standing room or delayed admittance until an appropriate time.

We recommend early arrival to allow time for finding the venue and securing a seat to the event. Doors open at 6pm.

If you could not register but would like to attend, you are welcome to join a stand-by queue on the night as seats may become available due to late cancellations. Please note, this is not guaranteed so you come at risk of non-admittance.

The Great Hall is on our main Camperdown campus and can be found inside The Quadrangle which is located at the top of University Place. You can refer to the map on this page.

Limited parking is available on campus, we recommend using public transport.

Carparks available include:

  • New Law Building carpark (accessed via Barff Road or City Road)
  • Western Avenue carpark (accessed via Cardigal Lane)
  • Shepard Street carpark (accessed via Shepard Street).

Fees apply to these carparks.

Use the University Campus Maps tool to find out more details about parking and access areas: search A14C under "Buildings" for The Great Hall.

Getting there