National Science Week: National Science Quiz

EQUS was once again a sponsor of the National Science Quiz (—an event initiated in 2016 by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers (ACEMS) and this year led by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture.

The National Science Quiz was held at The Capitol in Melbourne and live-streamed via YouTube.  Hosted by Charlie Pickering, the event saw two teams battle it out over several rounds of multiple choice questions.  The winning team was captained by ABC News Breakfast weather presenter Nate Byrne, with team members Paige Erpf, a postdoc at the ARC Centre of Excellence of Synthetic Biology, and Marcy Robertson, an ARC Future Fellow in Mathematics and Statistics at The University of Melbourne.  They smashed the runners up—captained by mathematician and science communicator Simon Pampena, with team members Rebecca Allen, Co-Director of Swinburne’s Space Technology & Industry Institute, and Jon Whittle, Director of CSIRO’s Data61—by a whopping 60 points to 25!  As is tradition, Simon’s team was therefore slimed.


Top: The teams during the event.  Left: The winning team.  Right: The losing team being slimed.

Dr Lachlan Rogers—EQUS Associate Investigator and sole quiz organiser from an EQUS perspective—said the quiz this year was a great success, even better than last year’s.  “We had more schools involved and school-age children in the live audience, and a few parents commented how inspirational the event was for their kids. I think we overcorrected last year’s tie by making the questions substantially harder, but it worked because we also tweaked the quiz to showcase more of the scientific reasoning and thinking each team put into their answer.”

Lachlan’s kids also enjoyed be able to attend, thanks to an EQUS carer’s grant. “My daughter did a science project 3 years ago on bubbles, and her favourite part was the giant bubble demonstration where lab assistant Caitlin (Dudley) was essentially enclosed in a bubble,” he said.  “The highlight for my son was the interview and demo that Nate did with a football robot on stage!”


Left and middle: Science demos during the National Science Quiz.  Right: Lachlan’s kids enjoying the rehearsal and set-up.

We were stoked that Nate chose to wear EQUS’ Shirty Science shirt for the event.  This wasn’t stipulated by EQUS or Shirty Science, and given EQUS didn’t win the Most Excellent Science Shirt we can only assume ours was genuinely his favourite.  What great feedback!


Left: Nate Byrne wearing his EQUS Shirty Science shirt.  Right: Lachlan and Nate.

A huge thank you to Lachlan from EQUS for his efforts on this year’s National Science Quiz!  To watch the event back, visit

Major funding support

Australian Research Council

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present.