What is Science?

What do we mean by science? Science is defined as an intellectual and practical activity investigating the nature of the world, and is characterised by the scientific method. In this essay topic, you’ll explore what shapes your own interpretation of science by looking at your personal experiences, defining moments Science has played a part in, cultural perspectives, family conversations and experiences first hand of how Science has impacted on life-long memories. You could include reflections on First Nations science, Science through time and how Science is represented through traditional or social media. You’ll craft an opinion piece, or historical or cultural research to inform and persuade your reader: what is Science and why do we need it?

You can formulate your own topic, or choose from these three essay questions.

  1. Research the history of Science. Choose a time period to investigate and discuss the leaders of scientific thought and how society saw them and what scientific ideas they developed. You could choose Ancient Greece, Middle East or mediaeval times.
  2. Do different cultures mean different things by ‘Science’? Investigate different cultural perspectives on science informed by your own culture or research. In your essay, describe one of the concepts or ideas from your culture and how this is similar or different from Western Science.
  3. How are Science and scientists perceived in the media? From bite-sized Science fun on TikTok to daily reports on news blogs from the Chief Medical Officer, Science is a big part of the media. In your essay, report on a Science channel, story or scientist and discuss how they portray Science and scientists.

References do not count towards the word count.

Don't forget to look at the competition page some tips and tricks before submitting.

Inquiries? Contact info@refractionmedia.com.au

  • Entries open 26 April and close 19 August 2022.
  • To be eligible, entries must be written in the English language by Australian secondary school students in Years 7 to 10 and submitted as Word, .pdf, .rtf or .txt formats. Students home-schooled in accordance with relevant state or territory guidelines are also eligible to enter
  • Entry forms must be authorised by the student’s parent or guardian. Download the permission form here.
  • There is no limit on the number of students a school can nominate. Class entries are encouraged and can be entered as a single pdf.
  • Maximum word count is 800 words, but shorter pieces will also be accepted. References do not count towards total word count. References are encouraged to be in APA style.
  • The winning entry will be published in the the book Best Australian Science Writing, published by New South Books. The winning entry will also appear in an issue of CSIRO's Double Helix Magazine, on the Careers with STEM website, and on newsouthpublishing.com.
  • The winning entry will receive a $500 voucher and a subscription to the Australian Book Review. Runners up will receive a $250 voucher.
  • The winners will be notified in September 2022 and publicly announced on 17 October 2022. All schools that enter will receive a complimentary copy of The Best Australian Science Writing 2021 for their library.
  • Entries will be assessed by a panel of judges comprising: Corey Tutt, NSW Young Australian of the Year 2020 and founder, Deadly Science; Ivy Shih, Editor, Best Australian Science Writing 2022, Fred Watson, Australia's Astronomer-at-Large and author; Brad Thomas, Science Teacher, Macarthur Girls High School, Heather Catchpole, Royal Society shortlisted author and founder, Careers with STEM.
  • For any queries regarding the Prize, please email info@refractionmedia.com.au
  • I confirm that this entry is my original work and has not been published elsewhere or entered into any other competition.


Careers with STEM