Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Wednesday Poetry Club

For students who wish to write poems about their reef and rainforest experiences at Cairns Aquarium.

Celia Berrell is offering year 4-8 students (groups of 12-16) who have participated in a guided educational tour of Cairns Aquarium a 45 minute poetry presentation with follow-up support so they can share their poems for possible publication. Celia will attend your school and share poems and poetry techniques with an aquatic theme. This programme is available on Wednesdays in Terms 2 & 3 (cost $60) and requires PowerPoint facilities. Each participating student is asked to provide a parental/adult email address, so Celia can correspond with each student about their poem after the presentation. Please make bookings directly with Celia via mobile 0408 069 192 or email

Selected poems will be submitted to Cairns Aquarium for future display and/or publication opportunities.

Celia Berrell’s poetry is regularly published in the CSIRO’s children’s science magazine Double Helix and Australian Children’s Poetry. She holds Blue Card #836652/4 and is registered in the One School system through previous school presentations. This website offers free resources that are appreciated worldwide.

Picture-Book Poetry Party 2018

Sunday 21st October 2-3pm at Holiday Inn Cairns Harbourside, 209 Esplanade, Cairns.

This year, local author Deanna Henderson will be reading her picture-book There’s a Zoo in my backyard, and sharing some of her fascinating stories from Minibeast Wildlife, where she works with insects (such as the praying mantis), spiders and other fascinating invertebrates.

Students from Whitfield State School will be reciting poems created for this year’s National Science Week, themed Game Changers & Change Makers, and students from Trinity Beach State School are sharing poems about INSECTS!

This is a FREE EVENT, aimed to delight pre-school & primary-school aged children and their parents.  Bring along a favourite Picture-Book to receive a raffle ticket in the draw for a book voucher from Collins Booksellers Smithfield or a gift from Minibeast Wildlife.

This is the fifth POETRY PARTY hosted by Celia Berrell & Science Rhymes.
















Sponsored by: Holiday Inn Cairns Harbourside & Collins Booksellers Smithfield

Book Launch 10th August

How exciting – to be granted a 2.30pm LAUNCH at this year’s Cairns Tropical Writers Festival for The Science Rhymes Book – Second Edition!
It is going to be a really enjoyable event.


















I have invited Dr Clifford Jackson from James Cook University to say a few words. Cliff spent over a year analysing the poems in this book to check that the science concepts portrayed were sound. And this is what makes “The Science Rhymes Book” rather special. It isn’t simply a fun book of verse, it’s also a carefully crafted science resource book!

After sharing some highlights about this book’s journey – from concept, self-publishing and then partnership publishing with Jabiru Publishing – we will showcase a selection of the poems. I say “we”, because most of the poems will be delivered by students from Whitfield State School who have been attending this year’s lunchtime Poetry Club.

Here’s a plan of The Science Rhymes Book LAUNCH Programme:












I hope to see you IN THE BALLROOM if you have time to attend.


International Women’s Day

In twenty-first century civilisation, most women quest for equal standing with men. On International Women’s Day, we take stock of our journey so far, thinking of and thanking the women and men who have helped along the way – be they prominent figures, family or friends – before pressing on.

In 2017, Danish Physiotherapist Dr Hanne Albert was invited to Frankfurt to give a lecture on the use of antibiotics as a treatment for Modic Back Pain. Five days before the conference, Hanne received a telephone call, advising her that she was being awarded The German Pain Prize – the highest award given for pain research. She had 5 days to prepare an honorary lecture to summarise the last ten years of her research to an audience of over 1000 conference participants.

“The Chairman of the Pain Society said that I had brought a brand new and ground-breaking treatment concept into the treatment of patient’s back pain; that I fought against all odds and resistance and continued to give lectures so that my research is now being used in clinical practice to change the life of patients. I got the longest applause lasting for several minutes and by so many people. It was completely overwhelming and a huge day in my life.”

Marie Curie was the first female scientist to be awarded prestigious prizes for her work – a Nobel Prize for physics in 1903, then a Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1911.

Marie The First  by Celia Berrell & Sukarma Rani Thareja

Madame Curie
first Polish then French.
A physicist-chemist
with questions to quench.

“The Courage of Knowledge”
a film that attests
her radioactivity
research was best.

At first, PhD, then
female professor.
Achieved when men saw
the fair-sex as lesser.

Then love-team in physics
Pierre and Marie
wed Nobel acclaim
with the name of Curie.

But tragedy struck.
Marie stood alone.
Despite Pierre’s death
her research went on.

With funding so scarce
for a woman in science
her hardships were fierce.
Down to much self-reliance.

Marie persevered
and awards ensued,
including her Nobel
prize number two!

For women in science
the first we elect
is Madame Curie
for equal respect.


A Message from Associate Professor Sukarma Rani Thareja

May each girl-child have creative potential
and scientific aptitude in her own right.
Alas, this may still be wishful thinking!
But may this hopeful message continue to ring
through our halls of science
for hardworking women
like Madame Curie.

Sukarma Rani Thareja,
Alumnus-IIT-Kanpur (1986),
Associate Professor of Chemistry-Retired,
CSJM Kanpur University, UP, India.

Recommended reading: “A Lab of One’s Ownby Patricia Fara

National Science Day

The 28th February is a day for scientific celebration. Since 1987, National Science Day has honoured Nobel Prize-winner Sir Chandrasekhara Venkarta Raman and all things scientific in India. Discovering the “Raman Effect” (named in his honour) in 1928 has provided fantastical new ways of “seeing” with certain light-waves.

The Raman Effect  by Celia Berrell
(Sir Chandrasekhara Venkarta Raman 1928)

Raman’s a knight
and Nobel prize winner
for physics in light.
A new radiation
he came to detect.
A scatter of rays
called the “Raman Effect”.

This change in light’s wavelength
when passing-on through
a gas or some substance
in spectroscope view
reveals the ID of
its chemistry zoo.
A tool to make
scientist’s dreams come true!

Doing no damage
discerning gem quality;
checking a pill
for content and purity.
Uses: amazingly
varied and rife.
Such as scanning remotely
for Mars signs of life.

Stories of Discovery

DISCOVERY is the process of finding some – THING for the first time. Discoveries can be exciting, scary and even hazardous. Some scientific discoveries are all three. And, like letting a genie out of its bottle, it’s nigh-on impossible to put them back!

Origins of the Future by Sharon Davson

Mother of Invention
by Celia Berrell

Neotenic humankind
is ceaseless of inquiring mind.
With science and technology
the stopper’s out, dynamically!

From fire to furnaced energy;
from steam to electricity.
We modify genetically
and glean the stars effectively.

We can’t slow down this gain in pace.
The fascination’s well in place.
Much to learn – with good intention
drives this mother of invention.


Humans have made life-changing and world-altering discoveries throughout history. Which of the following three discoveries do you think is worthy of being in a SCIENCE HALL OF FAME?

First is a young cave-man. Let’s call him Ugg. Ugg accidentally discovered how to start a fire with sparks from two stones. Do you think his parents praised him for giving them a reliable way to keep warm, protect them from predators and cook up a meaty meal? Or was he punished for accidentally setting fire to the forest and scorching his sister’s hair? Starting a fire is exciting but not without its dangers!

How we use and view scientific discoveries can depend on capability, culture and comprehension. Something once thought harmful can later be seen as helpful – as in this 16thC Astronomer’s story.

Galileo Galilei made the best telescopes of his time and gathered evidence for a heliocentric Solar System. Although it looks as though the heavens spin round the Earth, Galileo showed that the planets go round the Sun. When he published his findings, he was imprisoned for contradicting words in the Bible. Changing our understanding of how nature works can be scary. The Pope didn’t cope and sent him to jail!

What was first believed to be helpful turned out to be harmful in this French scientist’s story, where a “cure-all” turned out to be a “death-knell” for many.

Marie Curie won her first Nobel Prize in 1903. She discovered and named radioactivity and isolated the radioactive elements Polonium and Radium. At first, these glowing elements were thought to have health benefits. But then people began dying from exposure to their harmful radiation (including Marie). Science discoveries can be hazardous – especially if we don’t understand their implications.

Game Changers & Change Makers is this year’s National Science Week theme (which runs from 11-19 August). FIRE, a HELIOCENTRIC Solar System and RADIOACTIVITY are all Game Changers.

Whether we see these discoveries as helpful or harmful can depend on how they’re used.

Ugg, Galileo and Madame Curie were all Change Makers. They show how science is a journey of both successes and failures. We build and adjust our scientific thinking and understanding as new discoveries come to light. Our search for the truth about nature and the cosmos (including the effects of human actions) will continue. Our aim is to collectively understand enough to ensure these discoveries are used in a helpful rather than harmful manner.

So which of the three Discovery Stories did you choose for a SCIENCE HALL OF FAME? And who else would you include?

We can’t wait to discover your suggestions – especially if you can put yours in a Science Rhyme (and send to!

SUNDAY 22nd October PARTY

Our annual Picture-Book Poetry Garden Party was held at the Holiday Inn Cairns Harbourside, 209 Esplanade, Cairns on Sunday 22nd October from 2-3pm. It’s like Book Week meets National Science Week … with a poetic twist! 2017 Poetry Party Poster medium   This year’s feature author was Pamela Galeano with her picture-book Glissandra the Glider. As well as hearing an accomplished published author read some of their own work, we  learnt aspects of Pam’s writing journey as well.

People who brought a Picture-Book they liked,  received a raffle ticket for the draw for a book voucher from Collins Booksellers Smithfield. After a group photo of all those picture-books, everyone took their picture-book home with them.

This FREE event of Storytelling and Science Rhymes happened shortly after World Space Week. Students from Whitfield State School  recited their poems about Water (which were created for National Science Week) and Trinity Anglican School students shared their passions for Space and our Solar System. It was a cosmic event!

You can:

Sponsored by: Holiday Inn Cairns Harbourside & Collins Booksellers Smithfield

Hosted by: Science Rhymes & Holiday Inn Cairns Harbourside.

NatSciWeek celebrations 2017

This is it!  National Science Week is here (12-20 August).  On Monday, we have our Poetry Presentation of Science Rhymes at Whitfield State School.  Students from years 5 & 6 have created their own poems about WATER to compliment this year’s National Science Week theme of FUTURE EARTH – as water is important for future life on Earth.  (You can view the student’s poems on the Your Science Poems blog.)

Program SM

Then on Wednesday 16th August, Jonathon and Coby are sharing their poems on ABC Far North Radio, just before the 7am news during BREAKFAST WITH KIER SHOREY.

WATER POEMS PLEASE for National Science Week

2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism. As visitors to planet Earth, how we appreciate and care for limited resources such as water is important for our FUTURE EARTH (which is the school theme for this year’s National Science Week).

Poster NSW Water smaller
























At Science Rhymes, we’d love to include your poem about the science, beauty, mystery and/or environmental significance of water as we lead-up to National Science Week in Australia (12-20 August 2017). So put on your poetry hat and take the plunge! Send your H2O poems to

Click on Weird Water to view two colourful presentations about H2O science.

Here are some links to watery topics chosen by students at Whitfield State School:
EXPLODING H2O: a tiny spark is all it takes …


ICE FLOWERS: flimsy threads and graceful ribbons …


ICICLES: hanging like curtains of chandelier crystals …


FLOODS: deceptive and deadly …


We look forward to receiving your poems!


CAT-A-STATIC about World Poetry Day 2017

21st March, WORLD POETRY DAY “is a window onto the breath-taking diversity of humanity”, says UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.  To celebrate, I’ve chosen to share a Science Rhyme  inspired by Nikola Tesla’s story about his childhood pet-cat, the black-Macak.  What sparks your poetic interest?

Cat-a-static by Celia Berrell
(Nikola Tesla 1856 – 1943)

Nicola Tesla's cat MACAK

Nicola Tesla’s cat

Nikola loved his childhood cat
the sleek, majestic black-Macak.
A cat whose fur would click and spark
when days were chilly, dry and dark
as stroking black-Macak’s fur coat
could cause a tiny lightning bolt.

Nikola Tesla loved his cat
the sparkling, zappy black-Macak.
That static electricity
inspired young Tesla, cleverly
inventing things quite technical.
Especially electrical.

From neon lights and radios
to radar and remote controls.
Transistors, robots, X-ray zones
and AC power to our homes.
Tesla had a genius knack
that started through his cat Macak!


You can read Nicola Tesla’s short story of his childhood in Yugoslavia 1939 HERE:

” … It happened that one day the cold was drier than ever before. People walking in the snow left a luminous trail behind them, and a snowball thrown against an obstacle gave a flare of light like a loaf of sugar cut with a knife. In the dusk of the evening, as I stroked Macak’s back, I saw a miracle that made me speechless with amazement. Macak’s back was a sheet of light and my hand produced a shower of sparks loud enough to be heard all over the house. …”