Pint of Science: Sometimes science is better over a beer

By Sarah Frazer

18 April 2018

3 minute read

a pint glass of beer on a bar

Thirsty for some science?

When Niels Bohr won a Nobel Prize for his work in quantum mechanics in 1922, scientific acclaim and a medal weren’t all he got. He also won a free lifetime supply of beer, when Carlsberg Brewery gave him a house which had a pipeline from the brewery to a beer tap inside the home. Talk about winning (liquid) gold.

If you also think science is sometimes better over a beer, then we have the festival for you: Pint of Science. Each year Pint of Science takes scientists out of the lab and into the pub to tell you—the curious, science and beer-loving public—about Australia’s finest science from around the country, all over a crisp drink.

The festival had its humble beginning in 2012 when two researchers, working on nanoparticles to deliver drugs to the brain, hosted an event for the public to ‘Meet the Scientists’ behind their science fiction-sounding work. The instant success of the event bloomed outwards from the lab to the pub to the first official Pint of Science hosted in three different cities.

a man putting an augmented relaity headset on someone

Experience science first hand at Pint of Science

Now in 2018, Australia will be the first of twenty one countries to raise their glass to science when the festival kicks off in May from the 14th–16th. Pint of Science gathers some of the country’s top researchers from leading research institutes, including your very own national science agency (that’s us), and puts them in a pub where they can share their research and a laugh with you over a pint (or two). One such researcher and 2018 Pint of Science speaker is Michelle Colgrave.

Michelle Colgrave, one of our lead researchers in molecular analysis, probably knows more about beer than Niels Bohr himself. She’ll be speaking in Brisbane about what’s really in your pint.

“It’s common to enjoy a chilled pint after a long day, but most people don’t realise that brewing is one of the oldest biotech processes known to humans,” Dr Colgrave said. It’s so old in fact, that archaeologists have found evidence of beer technology in Germanic and Celtic tribes, which they acquired from the Middle East around the 1st century AD.

As you may already know, there can be a huge difference between beers, and Dr Colgrave isn’t just researching taste. “I’ll be talking about what’s in your beer, other than cool refreshing bubbles, that can promote good health but, also, what might be harmful to some of you,” Dr Colgrave said.

Pint of Science events will be hosted in pubs all over the country, in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Hobart—sixteen cities all together. And, just in case you needed another reason to attend, some of the venues at the Pint of Science festival also include science themed trivia so you can flex your intellectual muscles to your friends.

To find your nearest pub hosting a Pint of Science event and purchase tickets, visit the official website.

Thirsty for science?

Check out our scientists and which pubs will be hosting them