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Dark Sky Dinner

Speakers

Professor Alan Duffy

An astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology, Professor Alan Duffy was the inaugural Director of the Space Technology and Industry Institute at Swinburne, finding ways to use space to help companies and communities on Earth. His research background in computational astrophysics sees Alan model universes on supercomputers to understand how galaxies like our Milky Way form within vast clouds of dark matter. He is trying to find this dark matter as the Swinburne Node Leader in the $35M ARC CoE for Dark Matter Particle Physics and a Chief Investigator of SABRE, the world’s first dark matter detector in the Southern Hemisphere, at the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory at the bottom of an active gold mine in Victoria.

  • Twitter: astroduff
  • Instagram + Facebook: profalanduffy
  • LinkedIn: alanrduffy
Dr Kirsten Banks

Kirsten Banks is not your average astrophysicist. With a passion for unravelling the mysteries of the cosmos and a talent for making science accessible and engaging, Kirsten is on a mission to ignite curiosity and inspire wonder in audiences of all ages.

Kirsten’s passion for the universe ignited during a high school excursion to see a documentary about the Hubble Space Telescope, thanks to her influential science teachers. With a PhD in astrophysics and proud Wiradjuri heritage, Kirsten brings a unique perspective to her work as a scientist and science communicator. Kirsten’s infectious enthusiasm captivates global audiences, engaging a community of over half a million followers on social media. Whether sharing fun facts on TikTok or leading workshops, her goal is to make science accessible, fun, and inspiring for all.

Join Kirsten on a journey through the cosmos and discover the wonders of the universe like never before. Prepare to be amazed, entertained, and enlightened as Kirsten brings the magic of space down to Earth and invites you to explore the mysteries of the cosmos together.

  • TikTok + Instagram: @astrokirsten
KATHERINE BENNELL-PEGG

Katherine Bennell-Pegg is an Australian Astronaut and Space Systems Engineer. She is the first person qualified as an astronaut under the Australian flag. Katherine works for the Australian Space Agency, where she has contributed to growing Australia’s space capability as technical lead on scoping the nation’s first Moon rover mission, developing plans to capitalise on Australia’s space strengths, and managing the Access to Space Team. She has more than a decade of experience developing space programs and strategies, technologies, and missions across Europe, the UK, the US and Australia. These include the Orion vehicle that is taking humans back to the Moon, space station facilities, earth observation missions and robotic satellite capture technologies. In 2023, Katherine took the giant leap to achieving her childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, when she began training with the European Space Agency in Germany. She graduated in April 2024, and is qualified for missions to the International Space Station.

Venue

Frogmore Creek Cellar Door and Restaurant

Frogmore Creek Wines Cellar Door and Restaurant is around a 20 minute drive from the Hobart CBD in the famed Coal River Valley wine region, with spectacular views across the vines toward the Mt Pleasant Radio Telescope and Observatory.

699 Richmond Rd, Cambridge TAS 7170
(03) 6274 5844
Website

Accessibility

Wheelchair accessible, with designated accessible parking. For particular accessibility concerns, please contact [email protected]

Eat and drink

Oh, yes please! As the home of Frogmore Creek, 42 Degrees South, Winemakers Reserve, and Single Block Series wines, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to local beverages. A special menu celebrating dark skies will be a tribute to the beautiful environments and produce of Tasmania.

A Seat at the Table

Beaker Street Festival’s pay-it-forward initiative, A Seat at the Table, helps make our science and art offerings accessible to those who can’t afford to purchase a ticket. When you buy a ticket you have the option to donate towards the cost of a stranger’s ticket. You won’t know who you’ve helped, but your donation will go directly towards allowing someone else to access this great event. All donations $2 and over are tax-deductible.

If you’d like to request one or two free tickets, please let us know. If we can offer you a seat, we’ll notify you by email.

Programming Partners