Road trip to introduce regional and rural Australians to quantum and dark matter

Scientists will travel across Australia to share the excitement of quantum technologies and the search for dark matter in the National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip, 8–26 August 2022.

The road trip aims to bring particle and quantum physics to regional and rural areas.

Scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics (CDM) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS), which have bases in multiple states and territories, will visit community hubs along a route from Brisbane to Perth, connecting their research centres.

The event has been expanded to travel across the continent after a successful road trip throughout southwest Western Australia in 2021.

Centre researcher Ben McAllister, from Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Western Australia, said the response to the event had been extremely positive.

“Last year’s road trip was an awesome experience — getting out into regional and rural communities to spread the excitement and wonder of science was so rewarding.  I’m looking forward to reaching more regional and rural Australians this year.”

CDM Education and Outreach Coordinator Jackie Bondell described the National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip as “an interactive travelling science and art show”.

“Quantum technology and the nature of dark matter are key Australian research priorities and are vital to unravelling the greatest mysteries of the Universe,” Ms Bondell said.

“During the trip, which spans National Science Week, scientists from two ARC Centres of Excellence will engage and enlighten the public on the importance of the fundamental scientific research taking place in their own backyards.

“The goal of the program is to visit regional communities to engage audiences of all ages with the cutting-edge science happening here in Australia.  Our scientists will provide hands-on activities and give talks in hopes of engaging visitors in conversations about the excitement and the impact of science.”

Funding for the National Science Week activity was announced by the Minister for Science and Technology, Melissa Price, today.

The road trip was among 35 projects that received support in the $500,000 National Science Week grant round.

National Science Week grants provide the opportunity for community participation in high-profile science engagement activities across Australia.  They aim to inspire participation in science, technology, engineering and maths, acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of Australian scientists to the world of knowledge, encourage an interest in science pursuits and foster in younger people a fascination in the world we live in.

Road-tripping on ABC Statewide Mornings

Ben McAllister discusses the value of scientific exploration

Road-tripper Ben McAllister spoke to ABC Statewide Mornings about the National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip that will travel across Australia in August 2022.

He also discussed the value of scientific exploration, and why scientists are so interested in answering the question about the nature of dark matter.


Inspiring the next generation for National Science Week

A quantum technology road trip, robotics competitions and an inflatable digestive system ‘poo palace’ are just some of the science projects being supported by the Morrison Government’s 2022 National Science Week grants.

Thirty-five public science projects will share in more than $500,000 as part of Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology.

The grants include funding for:

  • The University of Melbourne’s interactive travelling science and art show bringing quantum physics to regional and rural areas.
  • Student Robotics Club of South Australia’s Robot Scrimmage competition day where students can work together to battle it out.
  • The Hunter Medical Research Institute’s oversized inflatable re-creation of the digestive system where children can conduct interactive food experiments and learn about digestion.

Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price said National Science Week was a great way to encourage interest and participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“National Science Week is a fantastic and fun opportunity to recognise the wonderful work of our scientists and hopefully inspire our next generation of big-thinkers,” Minister Price said.

“Science plays a huge part in our daily life, even if we don’t always realise.

“The great events and activities in National Science Week are not only fun and interactive, but they can show us just how much we use science in our everyday life.

“This year, we’ve got a huge range of events and there’s something for everyone, whether that’s learning about the science of bush tucker, quantum physics, robotics or even how our bodies work.

“Last year, we saw more than one million Aussies participating in events across every state and territory, and we’re expecting that this year we’re going to see even more people getting out and joining in on the fun.”

The 2022 school theme for National Science Week is ‘Glass: More than meets the eye’ and is based on the UN International Year Of Glass.

National Science Week 2022 will run 13–21 August.

More details, including the full list of grant recipients, are available at