After our Synchrotron visit and an inspiring talk on CBI given by Dr. Markus Nordberg, we launched enthusiastically into our Tech cards (which are not as daunting once we made our minds up to do them). On Tuesday, we had a workshop on futures and forecasting with Bridgette Engeler, Swinburne’s resident Futurist. We also spoke to two more subject matter experts – Scott Rayburg, a Swinburne lecturer who has worked in water management, and Nikhil Khurana of GHD, a company that consults on water infrastructure projects. This being the week before we fly to CERN, we also finalised our Opportunity and Tech cards!

Dr. Markus Nordberg’s talk impressed on us how discoveries made today have the potential for being mainstream and making a huge impact on the world beyond what we could imagine.

Dr. Markus Nordberg spoke about how Einstein’s theory of relativity published in 1905 is the basis for GPS systems which many of us depend on today

Bridgette’s session helped to flex our minds into thinking about different possible futures and not to take anything for granted.

Class session where we put our thinking caps on to think like a futurists

Scott Rayburg spoke to us about the political issues surrounding water management in areas such as the Murray-Darling Basin and gave us a primer into how water flows can severely impact the natural ecosystem. He also spoke of his current project of using sensors within trees to detect when they transpire and/or need water, and how this could mitigate urban heat islands (up to 5 degrees hotter in urban environments!) His good advice – to find an area that at least one (and hopefully all) of us are passionate in that will really drive the project.

Scott Rayburg spoke about urban heat islands and how cities are on average 5 degrees hotter than their surrounding areas due to lack of plant cover

Nikhil spoke about the broad range of projects that GHD works on – ranging from water catchment planning, to designing water treatment plants, and looking at the impacts of dredging. He was helpful in pointing out areas where it would be interesting to explore new technologies, including chemicals of concern in water, and onsite water treatment. We were really itching to come up with more Opportunity Cards at the end of the chat.

Nikhil of GHD who generously stayed back at work to run through some of their projects and issues around water in Melbourne


“If that’s not the future you want, don’t design it”

Bridgette Engeler in class

Next steps

  1. Skype with buddy team Quata about Tech cards before we have them ready and printed
  2. Attend the DFM Gala to celebrate last year’s teams and projects
  3. Pack our bags and get on the plane to Geneva where we will meet the other teams and our CERN partners in IdeaSquare
  4. Get ready for a brain overload over the next 2 weeks