Hi. You mightn't know us yet, but as the co-CEOs of Pint of Science Australia, Jirana and I felt it was important to write this message to personally update you on this year's festival.
COVID-19 has already had such a huge impact on so many of our lives. Never before have we seen these kinds of wide-spread control measures put in place in Australia during peacetime, and it will likely be appropriate to introduce even more restrictions over time to literally save lives.
The good news is that Australia still has the potential to avoid the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will take significant social distancing to do so.
With this in mind, we feel that we must cancel the upcoming Pint of Science festival in May.
This is not actually a hard decision to make. The best science is clear that we should not be holding events like Pint of Science at the moment.
It is, however, a painful decision to make.
Our amazing volunteers have spent literally hours over the last four months to prepare for the 2020 festival. There is a program curated to host over 450 speakers across 23 cities. We also know that many of those speakers were also well down the path of preparing talks. It hurts to see so much loss of this time and effort.
But it is the right thing to do at this time if there is any hope for us to slow and minimise the impact of the virus on our health system and our community.
We can all play a role here, not by being fearful, but being generous and considerate to others. If you have the flexibility to work from home do so, avoid touching people and maintain good hand hygiene. These small measures will make a significant difference and help prevent you passing on the virus before you know you've got it. It'll also reduce the impact on our health system that will struggle while scientists around the globe work tirelessly to help us overcome the virus.
Thank you again for your support,
Tom Carruthers and Jirana Boontanjai
Co-CEOs of Pint of Science Australia
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If you are lucky enough to have resources to share, we encourage you to support those around you less fortunate. Buy a piece of art from an Australian artist online, purchase Aussie music from indie and upcoming bands, order delivered food from your local take-away, and consider donating to charities.
And if you would like to support us to try to bring Pint to your living room, consider a donation via our merch store. We can't guarantee anything at this stage, but we've a few ideas and just maybe we might be able to find a way to create some magic and make use of some of our amazing speaking talent this year.
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But what about the science? There has been some really excellent science communication happening to help inform the public on COVID-19. Here are a couple more of our favourites:
The ABC Science unit have started a project called the 'Coronacast' - a daily 10-minute podcast that is well worth a listen. You can even submit questions to the panellists.
The Australian Academy of Science has released a video on 'How does self-isolation help?' with Professor Damian Purcell.
Finally, as always, for the most up-to-date, reliable information and advice on COVID-19, please refer to the Australian Government Department of Health website.