Questacon congratulates Professor Mike Gore on his appointment to Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2015 Australia Day Honours.
This Honour recognises Prof Gore’s distinguished service to science through a range of public outreach, communication and education initiatives on a national and international level, and as a mentor and role model for young scientists.
Prof Gore is the founder of Questacon as the first interactive science centre in the southern hemisphere and one of the first in the world. When he initially set up Questacon in an unused building in the old Ainslie Public School in 1980, it was staffed by volunteers and contained just 15 hands-on exhibits.
Building on the early popularity of the Ainslie centre with both school groups and the public, Prof Gore was instrumental in Questacon becoming Australia’s first National Science and Technology Centre. It opened in its current location in Canberra’s Parliamentary Zone in November 1988 and currently features over 200 hands-on experiences.
Current Questacon Director, Professor Graham Durant, said, “Prof Gore’s achievements have reaped immeasurable benefits for Australia. In pursuing his passion to establish Questacon, he began a phenomenon that created scientific cultural history.
“Because of his vision and drive, Questacon is now an award-winning tourist attraction and educational institution that has welcomed 26 million people over 25 years, and is now inspiring a second generation of young people with the wonders and value of science.
Prof Gore also began Questacon’s first outreach programme, providing an opportunity for all Australians to experience hands-on science and technology.
The Shell Questacon Science Circus is this year celebrating its 30th Anniversary and is the longest-running and most-travelled science outreach programme in the world.
“Prof Gore knew it was critical for these experiences to be available to people outside of Canberra. He undertook the first Science Circus tour to Goulburn in 1985 with a handful of exhibits in a rented removal van. Today the Science Circus travels with a large semi-trailer filled with portable science exhibits that has travelled hundreds of thousands of kilometres and reached over 2.2 million people.
“Prof Gore also established partnerships with Shell and The Australian National University that are still vital to the Science Circus today.
“Prof Gore is still very much a friend and advisor to myself personally and to Questacon, and we congratulate him on receiving this honour,” said Prof Durant.