ACT News

Countdown begins to Enlighten 2015 in Canberra

Beer appreciators might not have thought far beyond the liquid's quenching taste as they knocked back a few cold ones.  

But visitors to Questacon will be able to ponder the colour, bubbles, and other scientific properties of booze as cans of Victoria Bitter and bottles of Crown Lager replace water and chemicals in the centre's laboratory next month. 

Excited Particles' Michael Bennett and Patrick Helean explore the physics of beer at Questacon.
Excited Particles' Michael Bennett and Patrick Helean explore the physics of beer at Questacon.  Photo: Jay Cronan

The Physics of Beer workshops will be among more than 30 ticketed events designed to intrigue and confound during Enlighten 2015.

As the sun goes down, the lights will go up on six of Canberra's most iconic buildings, which will come alive with colour and movement each night between February 27 and March 7.

This year's lights festival will also feature Spanish aerial performers Voala Station and British art installation Voyage, which will involves a fleet of 300 illuminated paper boats on the lake. 

The adults-only booze workshop will explore "the science behind the six-pack" and Questacon's Q Lab co-ordinator Michael Bennett said guests could expect tastings, a lot of liquid nitrogen, and even a beer sorbet.  


"We'll look at the best way to open a beer according to physics, we'll look at the bubbles and at colours, so why beer's brown and the head is white.

"It does give us the opportunity to go for a different age group for Questacon, which is often aimed at children but caters for all ages." 

While much had been said of the chemistry of beer, the physics of the beverage hadn't been as commonly explored, Mr Bennett said.

He hoped visitors would leave the workshop with a different perspective on booze.

"That's the plan, to get you thinking differently about beer."

The Night Noodle Markets, which attract crowds of hundreds of thousands in Sydney and Melbourne, will come to Canberra for the first time as part of this year's event.

The markets are run by Fairfax Media, publisher of The Canberra Times.

Enlighten spokeswoman Adelina La Vita said the festival would shine a spotlight on the capital.

"Enlighten is all about creativity and innovation and opening Canberra's doors after dark and dispelling the myth that there's nothing in Canberra at night," she said.

"We're expecting a huge response, especially with the Night Noodle Market, which has been such a success in other states.

"It will be the first major food offering inside the Parliamentary Triangle and will add an extra dimension to that whole area."

See the full program and book tickets at