Scientists look to pass the pub test at Pint of Science festival in Canberra

If you want to know whether your ideas pass the pub test, there's probably no better place to find out than a pub.

At four pubs across Canberra this month, scientists are doing exactly that as part of the Pint of Science festival, where researchers aim to make their ideas accessible to all in a setting that could hardly be more different to a laboratory or a lecture theatre.

Scientists Ankur Sharma, Christina Delay, Imaina Widagdo, Belinda Wilson and Janine Deakin, who are taking part in the Pint of Science festival and sharing their research with the masses in Canberra pubs. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

Scientists Ankur Sharma, Christina Delay, Imaina Widagdo, Belinda Wilson and Janine Deakin, who are taking part in the Pint of Science festival and sharing their research with the masses in Canberra pubs. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

And if you thought breaking down technical findings for everyday people was tough, Dr Christina Delay is taking on the additional challenge of explaining the benefits of alcohol-free drinking to people in a pub.

Dr Delay, who will speak at King O'Malley's on May 20, is the chief executive and head of research at Altina Drinks.

The pub is an appropriate venue, given her company's mission is shaking up Australia's drinking culture.

"What we've done is reinvented methods used by the alcohol industry so we can create really beautiful, flavourful and complex drinks without needing to use alcohol, and without having to pack them with sugar as well," Dr Delay said.

"I'll be delving into some of those methods and a bit of the science behind the plant ingredients that we use.

"We're a social enterprise and we really believe that drinking is a big part of the social culture. But when you don't have alcohol, it can be really hard because there aren't a lot of beautiful, complex and interesting drinks to have. We really want to break that stigma with our drinks."

Some of Altina Drinks' products will be available at King O'Malley's on the night, while Dr Delay is also planning some hands-on experiments for the audience to get involved with.

Dr Ankur Sharma, an Australian National University lecturer, is another scientist who will share his ideas during the three-day festival.

He will be discussing his research into growing organic semiconductors, which could make phones biodegradable and bendable.

While many branches of science are highly specialised and used by few, Dr Sharma's eventual target market for the bendable phones is everyone.

"Science, to me, is something that can be explained to anyone and everyone, because eventually, they'll use it," he said.

"The speaker needs to present it in a way that anyone - be it a five-year-old child or an 80-year-old person - should be able to understand it, because it affects their life.

"If you can't explain it to them, there's no sense in doing it. That has been my motivation since day one, whenever I talk about my science."

Dr Sharma feels he is well-prepared for the unusual pub setting, having won the Australian National University's 3 Minute Thesis competition, in which contestants must explain their PhD to a general audience in three minutes, last year.

It's the feedback from ordinary people he craves from Pint of Science.

"If we can talk about complex issues that are happening in the lab and take it to a relaxed environment, I think that is the goal of this event," Dr Sharma said.

"It's about having that conversation outside an academic environment, where the users of my technology can give me feedback on things that I do.

"It is in this environment that they can really be open about anything they feel or see, or the challenges that in an academic environment, we are blinded to most of the time.

"[In a pub], it's just a person with a curious mind evaluating the work that you do and probably giving you the most honest feedback that you'll get, with no biases. That's the best."

  • Pint of Science is on in Canberra from May 20-22, across Bolt Bar in Aranda, King O'Malley's in Civic, Gryphons Caffe Bar in Griffith and Ace High Eatery in Greenway. For details, visit pintofscience.com.au