In something of a well-orchestrated coup, the World Science Festival Brisbane made its mind-altering impact on the city in mid-March, with spinoffs for the business events market almost guaranteed.
The first time in its eight year history that this prestigious event has been held outside of New York, Queensland Museum Network CEO Suzanne Miller, together with the Queensland Government and Tourism and Events Queensland, all had a hand in not only bringing the event to Brisbane but bagging it for the next six years.
The event, part of a global strategy to attract business events to Brisbane, brought some of the world’s greatest thought leaders to Queensland, showcased local scientists and performers from around the Asia Pacific region and hosted the brightest and the best from previous events in New York.
With Brisbane being a major Asia Pacific research and innovation hub boasting some of the world’s leading medical, scientific and technical researchers based in state-of-the-art facilities, they were able to attract Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre Association and the Australian Science Communicators who became the first peak scientific bodies to align their events to the inaugural festival.
Some of the biggest stars of science were in attendance, including world-renowned physicist and best-selling author Brian Greene, and Australia’s Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist (and successful winery owner), Brian Schmidt. They presented a highly entertaining and thought provoking ‘Breakfast with the Brians’ to a packed house at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, facilitated by ABC broadcaster Robyn Williams.
Alan Alda, actor, author, director and science buff – who wrote many of the MASH episodes – presented his stage production of Dear Albert, which delves into the treasure trove of letters written by Einstein.
In their role, the Brisbane Convention Bureau are able to provide access to world-class thought-leaders and keynote speakers; people who can enrich the conference experience with their expert knowledge, global networks and on-the-ground support.
Brisbane Convention Bureau general manager, Rob Nelson, said Brisbane is riding on the crest of a multi-billion dollar infrastructure development wave that will firmly cement the city’s reputation as a key Asia Pacific business events destination.
One of the shining jewels of the new wave investment is the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane Development Area – a stunning $3 billion integrated resort development. It will transform the under-utilised south-western edge of the CBD. The precinct was among other eye-opening sites visited during the festival and at which guests enjoyed pre-dinners drinks.
As a guest of Brisbane Marketing, micenet, together with a group of scientists and scientific conference influencers, was the only Australian publication to be invited take part in a famil that took in the main aspects of the WSF and showcased scientific venues and function spaces.
The famil included many highlights. Listening to some of the `rock stars’ of the scientific world, audiences, including me, learnt that science isn’t just about bunsen burners, periodic tables and microscopes, but rather computerisation, history making research, nature, astronomy, coral reefs and archaeology, et al.
The famil program began with a presentation of Lightfalls: Space, Time and an Obsession of Einstein – a celebration of 100 Years of Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity by Dr Brian Greene, and a visit to the prestigious QIMR Berghofer, one of Australia’s most successful medical research institutes.
Breakfasting at Victoria Park with its 18 hole golf course and eight unique event spaces, enjoying a recreated G20 Leader’s Lunch at the BCEC’s Plaza Gallery with its fabulous Aboriginal art and chairs bearing the name plaques of those who sat in them were also highlights.
Other activities included visiting the Hotel Grand Chancellor’s newly completed conference centre with 11 flexible function rooms and enjoying pre-dinner drinks at Brisbane Powerhouse overlooking the Brisbane River.
Learning about the excitement and trials of the launch of the robotic space probe, Rosetta at ‘Chasing Down the Comet’ and taking a back of house tour of the Queensland Museum was priceless! Dining in style at Aria, breakfasting at celebrity chef Ben O’Donoghue’s Billykart and finally taking a turn around the jam-packed WSF – Street Science on South Bank, the event returns in 2017 with anticipation that it will be bigger and better.
“Beam me up Scotty!”