Inspiring the next generation of scientists…that’s RAD!

Professor Kathy Andrews at the launch of her children's book

Professor Kathy Andrews leads the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery and heads up a research team battling malaria – but is equally passionate about inspiring the next generation of female science stars.

Professor Andrews founded Griffith’s That’s RAD! Science project two years ago, creating a series of simple, colourful books that help bring STEM careers alive for young children.

The latest book will be launched at the 2019 Brisbane Science Festival this weekend.The new Director for the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, Professor Jennifer Martin

‘My Aunt is a Crystal Protein Scientist’ was written by Professor Jenny Martin, former director of the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD) and a high-profile advocate for gender equality in science.

Professor Martin said that writing for a younger audience had given her a fresh perspective on her research.

“There is such a thrill in discovering new things about our world,” she said.

“That is what interested me in science in the first place.”

Professor Martin has included all kinds of weird and wonderful facts about crystal science to engage young readers. And her favourite fact?

“That crystallography can be applied to chocolate to help us understand why some chocolate tastes really bad after its been heated. Crystallography and chocolate – two of my favourite things!”

Hundreds of copies of each of the four books in the That’s Rad! Science series will be given out to children at the Brisbane Science Festival on Saturday 17 August, and the authors will be hosting Q&A sessions and book signings.

Professor Andrews, who wrote the first book in the series, hopes the initiative will encourage Queensland kids to follow female scientists into STEM careers.

“My aim is to show children that STEM can be fun and a great career option,” she said.

“We’ve had such an enthusiastic response to the books, and are hoping to roll out the series nationally.”

That’s RAD! Science books have been donated to primary schools across Queensland, and are also available to borrow at Brisbane City Council libraries.

That’s RAD! Science is a non-profit initiative of Griffith University. The books are written by Griffith University faculty and alumni, and designed by students in the Queensland College of Art’s Liveworm Studio.