Media release: Quantum and dark matter scientists win road trip funding

The National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip will set off to visit Australian schools and communities between 6 and 26 August 2023.

The Federal Government announced a National Science Week Grant to help fund the road trip after the success of last year’s event.

The road trip is organised by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics (CDM) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS).

It aims to spread the word about the cutting-edge research being done by Australian scientists to schools and communities across remote, regional and metropolitan areas.

Special events including pub quizzes and public lectures will also be held at capital cities and regional centres throughout the road trip.

Road trip organiser and physicist Dr Ben McAllister, from CDM, EQUS, Swinburne Institute of Technology and the University of Western Australia, said the road trip brought cutting-edge science to regional and remote schools and communities.

“We’re looking forward to bringing quantum and dark matter science to school students who might not usually be exposed to these opportunities,” Dr McAllister said.

“We want to show them how exciting and engaging science can be, and hopefully inspire them to consider pursuing a career in science.”

The event is part of a range of activities happening across Australia during National Science Week.

Recipients of the Australian Government’s National Science Week funding were announced today.

The grants aim to inspire wide community participation in STEM, provide an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of Australian scientists to the world of knowledge, encourage an interest in science pursuits among the general public, and encourage younger people to become fascinated by the world we live in.

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY: Event organiser and dark matter scientist Ben McAllister is available for interview.

Contact Fleur Morrison on 0421 118 233 or email to arrange an interview or photo opportunity.

Announcing the Quantum Diorama Challenge winners

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the Quantum Diorama Challenge!  We received many amazing entries, and the road-trippers very much enjoying seeing the creative ways students displayed quantum concepts.

The winners are:

  • First place ($100): Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle by Isla Wilkinson, Camden Haven High School
  • Second place ($85): MRI Machine by Abbey Lenane, Camden Haven High School
  • Third place ($65): Tensegrity by Declan Seaman, Stawell High School
  • Best school ($250): Camden Haven High School

Thank you to all the schools who participated and to everyone who entered!

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle by Isla Wilkinson


MRI Machine by Abbey Lenane


Tensegrity by Declan Seaman


National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip 2022 round-up

The National Quantum & Dark Matter Road Trip saw 24 members of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Systems (EQUS) and/or the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics (CDM) drive from Brisbane to Perth over National Science Week, 8–26 August 2022.  The team visited 25 regional schools and delivered 14 public events during the trip, engaging members of the public at schools, pubs and committee hubs in all things quantum and dark matter.


Road-trippers hanging out in Coffs Harbour, Tharwa and Kalgoorlie

Overall, the road trip was a huge success.  The feedback so far has been really positive, especially from students, teachers and attendees at our public events, but also from the road-trippers.

Ben McAllister—road trip organiser and participant—said: “The road trip was a fantastic opportunity to get out into regional and rural areas, and talk to school students and people who wouldn’t typically get that kind of engagement.  The students had some fantastic questions—there was so much curiosity about the nature of the Universe, at all levels, which was really encouraging to see.”


Stefan, Graeme and Riddhi presenting to students at Stawell High School, Cunderdin District High School and Yass High School, respectively

In total, the team engaged around 2,000 people at schools, pubs and community centres in quantum technologies and dark matter, including around 1,400 high-school students.  We also received a huge amount of media coverage, including 11 unique print and/or online media stories (syndicated across roughly 120 titles), 15 radio spots and a feature on WIN News Toowoomba (syndicated across Queensland).  As well as being great promotion for the road trip, EQUS and CDM, it provided EQUS and CDM members with the opportunity to practice their science communication.  In particular:

  • Ben was interviewed by ABC Goulburn Murray, ABC Wimmera, ABC Mildura–Swan Hill, 2GB/3AW and ABC Statewide, Bendigo HIT FM, quoted in the Yass Valley Times
  • Cyril Laplane was interviewed by ABC Newcastle
  • Emily Filmer was interviewed by ABC Great Southern Mornings
  • Jacinta May was interviewed by and quoted in the Bendigo Advertiser
  • Jeremy Bourhill was interviewed by Noongar Radio and ABC Midwest & Wheatbelt, and quoted in Western Australian articles
  • Maverick Millican was interviewed by WIN News
  • Renee Key was interviewed by WIN News and Bay FM


Left to right: Maverick setting up the ion trap demo at Murwillumbah High School; Jacinta and Alex explaining the diamond demo to students at Yass High School; and Ben giving a public talk to an audience of 100 at Stawell Town Hall

Ben said that the road trip was exhausting, but also a tonne of fun, with the pub quizzes being a person highlight.

“As well as being great fun, the pub quizzes proved to be great conversation starters.  People seemed genuinely interested in quantum and dark matter—we spent hours after each quiz chatting to people and answering their questions,” he said.

We’re hoping to do a series of smaller, state-based road trips in 2023, followed by another National Quantum and Dark Matter Road Trip in 2024.

Some road trip stats:

  • 24 scientists and science communicators
    • 11 EQUS members
    • 5 EQUS and CDM members
    • 8 CDM members
  • 22 days of road-tripping activities
  • 12,372 kilometres on the odometer:
    • Car 1 (Brisbane to Perth): 7,115 km
    • Car 2 (Brisbane to Adelaide): 3,656 km
    • Car 3 (Kalgoorlie to Perth): 1,601 km
  • 25 school visits
  • 14 public events
  • 40+ cities & towns
  • 3,000+ items of merch
    • 2,000 stickers
    • 270 bags of jelly beans
    • 200 fridge magnets
    • 30 seed packets
    • 500 EQUS/CDM merch items
  • 2,000+ people engaged
    • 1,400 school students
    • 120 pub goers
    • 165 public talk or lecture attendees
    • 315 attendees at other public events
  • 0 ghosts

Top to bottom: Corrigin District High School;
UQ Open Day; pub trivia at The Bentleys Hotel, Clare;
and Manangatang P–12 College


We did it!

After 3 weeks and more than 7,000 km of driving, our road-trippers have made it to Perth and completed their final public event, a stall at Explore UWA Day!

In total, the team visited 25 schools and delivered 14 public events, engaging a total of around 2,000 people in all things quantum and dark matter.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our road trip and engaged with us!  Keep an eye out for more updates in the coming weeks.