SCIENCE FESTIVAL: Dr Rob Bell will be one of the guests at the World Science Festival Brisbane events in Chinchilla next weekend.
SCIENCE FESTIVAL: Dr Rob Bell will be one of the guests at the World Science Festival Brisbane events in Chinchilla next weekend. Contributed

Implode some melons at World Science Festival

HAVE you ever wondered how many rubber bands it would take to implode a watermelon?

If so, you won't have to wonder much longer, with that question - and many others - set to be answered next weekend as the World Science Festival Brisbane returns to Chinchilla.

The free community day on Saturday, March 30, will be jam-packed with fun and fascinating presentations from some of Australia's leading thinkers and creators.

One of them is Dr Rob Bell, who is particularly interested in these imploding watermelons.

"While imploding watermelons doesn't sound highly scientific, and I guess it's not highly scientific, there is definitely some science in there and we'll be using a lot of good scientific principles along the way,” Dr Bell said.

His interactive presentations will include measuring the fruit before inviting children to help add rubber bands until the mighty melons can't take the pressure.

"We'll gather a bit of data out of the day and be able to make some predictions, once a random watermelon comes up we'll be able to make some measurements and predict, hopefully, fairly accurately how many rubber bands it might take.

"So they'll come along and put on the lab coats and the glasses and get to put on five or ten rubber bands ... then they certainly are welcome to hang around and watch and wait.”

And just how many rubber bands is Dr Bell predicting?

Anywhere from 100-200, depending on the melon.

"So it'll take us a little while to get a watermelon to that point but it's a lot of fun watching and waiting and you usually think 'it's gonna go, it's gonna go,' and then it takes quite a few more rubber bands before it finally does.”

Dr Bell grew up on a pineapple farm and has worked as a Science Education Officer for CSIRO, and spent nearly 11 years hosting the Network Ten kids' science show Scope.

Most recently he started Experimentary, a science education website for schools and has written some children's books with a sprinkling of science.

For Dr Bell, seeing the festival taken to regional communities is fantastic.

"It's just really good for kids who are a bit interested in science to see basically fairly normal people who have gone ahead and now they're scientists and this is what they do.

"They're not necessarily the stereotypes that they might have of a scientist, and I think that's what's been really great about it.”

But it's not just guests from afar who are involved this year. Columboola Environmental Education Centre is set to help out at the stargazing event on the Saturday night at the State School oval.

Centre principal Sean Mead said it's great to get involved with the festival this year.

"I've taken my kids through there the last two or three years and it's fantastic, very hands on, which is always important for kids and the range of different sciences they have is quite entertaining,” Mr Mead said.

"They've done well to have something for everyone pretty much, and some of the people they get out there are very knowledgeable in their fields. Some of the keynote speakers and things are quite fascinating.”

To keep up to date you can search for the World Science Festival Brisbane on Facebook.