Coming Up: In Class With… Dr Alan Finkel

Renewable energy powerhouse Dr Alan Finkel is taking on questions from school students around Australia in this exclusive In Class With… event.

Submit your students’ questions now to take part.

Dr Alan Finkel was the Chief Scientist of Australia from 2016 to 2020. He is now the Special Advisor to the Australian Government on low emissions technology. Dr Finkel has always supported and promoted the reduction of emissions in Australia and wants to use his skills to help the development of innovative technologies that will help solve our climate problems.

A boy scout in his youth, Alan was always interested in trying to find solutions to tricky problems. After studying electrical engineering he worked in neuroscience, where he combined these two interests to invent a device to measure brain response.

His time as Chief Scientist was spent promoting STEM education and the development of the STEM workforce. He believes the planet needs as many problem-solvers as it can get, and he’s passionate about involving all Australians in STEM and advocates for governmental and industrial support of innovation and research in science and engineering.

Recently, his life story was turned into a children’s book for the Aussie STEM Stars series. These books celebrate Australia’s leaders in STEM and are written by award-winning children’s authors. The series explores childhood, school, family, formative experiences, what inspired them to pursue their chosen path, how they persevered in the face of challenges, and what they contributed in their chosen field to Australia and the world.

Alan would love to answer a question from you or your class! As a scientist, he knows there’s no such thing as a silly question – finding out about the subject that interests you is the stuff from which new ideas, new inventions and new futures are made.

If you’re stuck for inspiration, here are some of the kinds of questions that have been asked in the past:

    • What is a Chief Scientist?
    • What do you actually do?
    • Why is STEM so important?
    • What’s your favourite dinosaur?
    • If we needed to escape Earth quickly, what one other species would you take with you?
    • Why does our hair go grey when we age?

You can now submit student questions to Dr Alan Finkel either by video or in writing.

10 of Dr Finkel’s favourite questions will receive a copy of his Aussie STEM Start book!

Entries will close at 11 am AEST on Tuesday 26 October 2021.

Login or sign up for FREE to submit student questions to In Class With… Dr Alan Finkel through our Google Form.

Submit questions by video

We would love students to be involved in this In Class With… event so we encourage students to film themselves asking their question and sending it to us by uploading it to our Google Form.

Please ensure the following information is included in the video:

    • Name of student
    • Year or age
    • Name of school
    • State
    • Question

For example: “Hello, my name is Sophie and I am in Year 6 at Largs Bay Primary School in South Australia. I would like to know what is a Chief Scientist?”

We recommend students use the following criteria for each video:

    • Filmed landscape
    • High definition, 1920×1080 px, where possible (most phones are automatically set to this now)
    • Keep background noise to a minimum
    • Ensure your speech is as clear as possible
    • Keep the backdrop as plain as possible
    • File size less than 1GB
    • Video duration less than 40 seconds
    • Use natural lighting, where possible
    • Speak directly to the camera

Watch the clip below for an example.

Please note that by submitting their videos, students have permission to appear in the published video on, and on social media accounts owned by The Royal Institution of Australia.

Submit questions in writing

If students don’t want to appear on video, they can also submit their questions in writing using the Google Form.

Useful information

    • Students can submit as many questions as they like.
    • Each question should be submitted on a separate form.
    • Questions can be submitted by individuals, groups or classes.
    • By submitting a question, students are agreeing (and have permission) for their name, age, year and school to appear on the In Class With… Alan Finkel video.
    • Where videos have been submitted, students are agreeing (and have permission) to appear in the In Class With… event published on, and social media accounts owned by The Royal Institution of Australia.
    • If you have any problems or questions, please get in touch by emailing us at

Login or sign up for FREE to submit student questions to In Class With… Dr Alan Finkel through our Google Form.

Years: R-12


Biological Sciences

Chemical Sciences

Earth and Space Sciences

Physical Sciences

Additional: Careers, Maths, Technology, Engineering