The Science Says show, which ran to a packed house at the Powerhouse Museum yesterday, was absolutely brilliant stuff. An otherwise eclectic group of scientists had one thing in common – their ready wit. Led by physicist, engineer,, and entertainer Dr Joel Gilmore the teams moved smoothly from one laugh to the next. The set piece competitions ranged from totally obscure scientific charades through to guessing ignoble prizes from pictures, with several stops along the way. Often the funniest bits, though, were the lightning-fast interjections – astrophysicist Jess Bloom and molecular biologist Dr Elinor Hortle did a particularly fine job, back-stopped by the always-clever neuroscientist Josien de Bie.
It’s just great to see clever people doing fun stuff. Not only was it a wonderful way of breaking traditional stereotypes for the kids in the audience, but it was just comprehensively entertaining for everyone else. And talking of breaking stereotypes, which there was a lot of thanks to an extended focus on the awful Barbie-as-a-computer engineer book, it is becoming noticeable that the most able science communicators are women. There are obliviously talented men out there, but seeing five of the seven people on stage yesterday were women came as no real surprise.
An hour-and-a-half passed in a flash but if there was one highlight it had to be Josein de Bie trying to convey via mime the idea that scientists had confirmed that riding on the back of a particular Disney roller-coaster could make a kidney stone pass. It was wonderful stuff.
Science Says was put on by The Science Nation which is building up a nice repertoire of clever science-based shows. It is absolutely worthwhile joining their mailing list and keeping a watch out for the next ones.