Jesse Jogensen-Price saw the Science Circus when she was a child.

ANU student Jesse Jogensen-Price saw the ANU Shell Questacon Science Circus when she was a child. Photo: supplied.

The magical circus of science

For the past 30 years, ANU students have brought science to life as part of the Shell Questacon Science Circus. RICHARD FOX explores the tricks in the big yellow truck.

When Jesse Jorgensen-Price was at primary school in rural Victoria, the circus came to town. It was an experience that changed her life.

"We drove 50-kilometres to see the Science Circus. It was great fun and I loved it.

"From that day on, I wanted to be a scientist."

The public exhibition of the Science Circus in Horsham that day brought lively presentations and experiments into the town with the aim of educating about the wonders of science.

The memories of that day came rushing back when she saw a Facebook advertisement for participants for the 2014 Science Circus tour around Australia during her Honours year at ANU.

"As soon as I saw it, there was a rush of memories.

"Because I was so young, all I remember was the liquid nitrogen being used. Seeing that ad brought it all back, so I applied."

And so began the "most full on" year of Jesse's life as she was a part of the largest and longest running touring exhibition of its kind in the world.

Each year, the huge Science Circus truck - staffed with ANU postgraduate students - tours regional towns and centres across Australia, bringing science into schools and communities.

For 30 years, the Shell Questacon Science Circus has enthused and educated many thousands of people.

Its reach has extended to some of the furthest parts of the country, including 90 remote Indigenous communities.

"Over the year, I went to Albury, northern NSW, Darwin and back home to rural Victoria," Jorgensen-Price says.

"Going back to Horsham as part of the Science Circus was an amazing feeling. I'd come full circle and I felt inspired by the kids I met there."