The popular community science initiative Science at the Local held its first event in Lithgow last weekend, with more than 40 locals showing up to Lithgow Workies to hear free talks from a scientist and engineer.
Dr Eva Cheng from the University of Technology, Sydney spoke about the opportunities engineering has provided her with, including working on 3D movies, collaborating with musicians and taking students to southeast Asia to see real world impacts of engineering in developing countries.
Also speaking at the event was climate change and biodiversity consultant Dr Peter Smith, who shared stories from his travels working on international development projects in the Seychelles, the Solomon Islands and Swaziland (now known as Eswatini by royal decree, Dr Smith explained).
Locals enjoyed the opportunity to speak directly with Dr Smith, who previously worked at the coalface of climate change science in NSW, and Dr Cheng, who is leading efforts to attract and retain girls and women in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM).
"Thank you so much to everyone who came and asked such great questions," organiser Hamish Clarke, a scientist at the University of Wollongong, said.
"Thanks also to our speakers and Energy Australia, whose grant made the event possible."
Science at the Local will be holding a second event, also at Lithgow Workies, on Sunday November 3 at 2.30pm.
"The topics are gut microbiology - your poo and you - and the science of medicinal marijuana," said fellow Science at the Local organiser Kevin Joseph, a high school teacher at Winmalee.
"Put it in your diaries, it's going to be great!"
Science at the Local has regular events at Springwood Sports Club on July 28, September 25 and November 24, with topics including drought and tree mortality, ancient fossils, quantum physics and the Yarramundi forensic science facility.
They are also co-hosting the NSW launch of National Science Week on August 4 at Blue Mountains Theatre, in an event featuring the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer and a real agricultural robot. All events are free.
To get involved or sign up to their mailing list, go to www.facebook.com/ScienceAtTheLocal.
The initiative is supported by Energy Australia, Inspiring Australia and the NSW Government.