Science Showoff is a monthly night which takes place in a pub in London, and features acts from all areas of science, who each have 9 minutes to perform an act – a science demo, a routine, songs, experiments – anything entertaining or fun. Having tried a little bit of the short-set, trying-to-be-funny type of science communication involved in Bright Club (a similar venture, giving researchers the chance to try stand-up comedy, which started in London and has now spread all over the country), I thought it would be good to give it another go – in fact, Science Showoff was recommended to me by someone who saw my Bright Club set in Manchester. I had prepared an 8-minute piece about Fibonacci numbers to perform in Manchester, inspired by my artist friend’s admission that she didn’t see how maths could be interesting in the same way as art; she wasn’t there to watch, but I went down well (and ran horribly over time). So I decided to reprise my set at Science Showoff in February 2012 – and this time it would be the right length, and would be new and improved with all the best jokes left in and the duds taken out.
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Science Showoff promises “open mic for all communicators of science” and aims to be
a place where people from all the bits of the science communication industry could share their latest work, in a performance-based way, and then chew it over with a pint in hand (or a whisky in hand). We also wanted it to be democratic, with space for people we see all the time, as well as people we’ve never seen perform before.
Science Showoff will run its fifth night in London in the evening of Tuesday 7th February. The gig is free with a collection for London Wildlife Trust. There are ten acts covering a range of sciences and here are three I would be most looking forward to (if I was anywhere near London):
Katie Steckles, who is well known in maths communication, will present a session on Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio:
A lot of people have heard of the Golden Ratio, but many, even those who have read Dan Brown books, might not know exactly what it is. I will give several illustrative explanations, using stuffed rabbits and slagging off TV presenters, and hopefully give you some idea of why I think it’s incredibly lovely.
Helen Arney, one third of Festival of the Spoken Nerd, promises:
I’ll be trying out a new singalong song that encompasses time, space, mathematics and philosophy. Features live powerpoint!
Rhys Phillips, who featured on the Travels in a Mathematical World Podcast episode 63, talking about lightning:
Rhys “Lightning” Phillips will be looking at what happens when planes are hit by lightning and showing cool videos of things going bang in a lightning lab! He’ll also be pondering on why song writers think that lightning is frightening.
Full line up: Science Showoff 5 (will make you get down) LINE-UP ANNOUNCED(1 February 2012).