World Science Festival Brisbane will bring the latest scientific innovations and discoveries from around the world to the River City next March.

World Science Festival Brisbane made its debut this year, and will return to Queensland Museum in 2017 as part of a six-year deal with World Science Festival in New York.

Direct from the New York festival, the main event will see World Science Festival co-founder Professor Brian Greene host a spectacular discussion on gravitational waves.

The game-changing 2015 discovery that finally confirmed Albert Einstein’s century-old prediction will be discussed by a stellar panel, including former Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) director Barry Barish, for the Gravitational Waves: A New Era of Astronomy Begins event.

Guests will also have a chance to explore the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s biggest and most powerful science experiment, in Collision: A Walk Through the World of Hadron, featuring a discussion with international guests like particle physicist Dr Harry Cliff, the in-house physicist and curator of the Hadron Collider exhibition at London’s Science Museum.

Unveiling the program yesterday, Queensland Museum CEO and Director Professor Suzanne Miller said the 2017 festival will include a mix of free and ticketed performances, debates and demonstrations.

“The World Science Festival Brisbane is so successful because it takes science out of the labs and into the streets, connecting and inspiring people of all ages,” Professor Miller said.

“Following the success of our regional program in 2016, World Science Festival Brisbane will again visit Chinchilla and Townsville, with new programs in Gladstone and Toowoomba.”

Other festival highlights include Ocean Action, which will delve into the downward spiral of our oceans since the industrial revolution and how science can save them.

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know: Big Science, Big Rewards will welcome science luminaries to discuss the risks, rewards, discoveries and challenges of a long-term approach to investment in scientific endeavour.

From the present day to a glimpse into our future, Towards 2050: Renewing Energy Expectations looks at if (and how) the world could be powered entirely by renewable energy within the coming decades, while The Future is in Good Hands showcases four of the brightest teenage minds in the world. Introduced by Australia’s Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt, these extraordinary young people will come together for the first time to discuss the science of tomorrow and their hopes for humanity.

The Hatchery: Showcasing and Supporting Turtle Conservation, one of the most popular events at last year’s festival, will return to give visitors another chance to view baby loggerhead turtles hatching from eggs that are incubated onsite and timed to emerge during the festival.

Playwright Nick Payne’s critically acclaimed play, Constellations, will be performed in Brisbane from Thursday 9 March to Sunday 9 April. Two special performances will be followed by an on-stage conversation between Payne and World Science Festival co-founder and physicist Professor Brian Greene.

Of course, you aren’t legally allowed to have a science-themed event in Australia without Dr Karl, so he’ll be on hand to take audiences on a rollercoaster ride through the ‘badlands’ of science in Extreme Moments in Science with Dr Karl.

World Science Festival will also have its first guest curator in 2017. The University of Queensland Provost, Professor Aidan Byrne, will draw on his experience as a renowned physicist and CEO of the Australian Research Council to advise on the 2017 program, which will continue to be rolled out over the next few months.

“I am very excited about my role as Guest Curator for next year’s program,” said Professor Byrne.

“Science typically happens behind closed doors, and we scientists often forget how vital it is to tell people about the important work we’re doing.

“Queensland scientists are world leaders in many areas, and this wonderful event will provide many opportunities for them to wow us with their interesting and impactful research.”

World Science Festival Brisbane will be held at Queensland Museum from Wednesday 22 March to Sunday 26 March 2017. Regional displays and workshops will be held in Gladstone, Toowoomba, Townsville and Chinchilla throughout March. For more information and tickets, visit worldsciencefestival.com.au.