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Canberra Times – Australasia: Too foggy for Shell chief, but party goes on

June 16, 2006
There are some things that still baffle science. Canberra fog is one of them.

Chairman of Shell Companies in Australia Russell Caplan was unable to deliver his congratulations yesterday at the 21st birthday party of the Shell Questacon Science Circus at Parliament House.

His plane from Melbourne was cancelled because of the notorious Canberra fog.

But the festivities went on regardless, with fun interactive displays, some science entertainment for schoolchildren and a birthday cake in the shape and colours of the Science Circus truck.

Further birthday presents were the announcements that Shell Companies and the Australian National University both committed to a further three years of sponsorship for the Science Circus, which will enable it to continue to engage more than 100,000 people and 150 communities each year.

ANU vice-chancellor Ian Chubb said it was an experiment that might have been ”classified as risky” when, 21 years ago, Questacon, the ANU and Shell sent out a travelling circus in an attempt to take the joy of science to rural and remote Australia.

”Teachers need to encourage pupils to study science, otherwise Australia will be disadvantaged,” Professor Chubb said.

”Science is critically important to the future of this country and the world.” The Science Circus was the brainchild of Questacon’s founding director, Mike Gore, who recognised that the national science and technology centre ”should not simply be another building, but that it must develop programs that will reach out to all Australians – both in our cities and in the remote rural areas”.

Current Questacon director Graham Durant said, ”When Shell, ANU and Questacon joined forces 21 years ago, no one foresaw the incredible impact that the Science Circus would have on rural communities around Australia.

”The principal strength of the Science Circus, and the reason it has remained as one of the world’s leading science centre outreach programs, is because of this partnership between two national institutions and the private sector.”

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