From phonology to physics and James Bond to jetpacks, no science-themed pebble was left unturned at the Science Showoff on November 6th. Hosted by UCL, the night unfolded in the Bloomsbury theatre; nestled beside buildings housing Physics, Mathematics and Nanotechnology, the theatre is at the heart of UCL’s very own science ghetto.
Kicking off with an introduction from exuberant MC Steve Cross, we delved head first into a rapid-fire open mic night, with each scientist having just 9 minutes to blow their audience away… in some cases, quite literally.
We were first taken on a whirlwind journey through linguistics, and discovered how the sounds in language can transform a cheery “Merry Christmas” into the far more exotic sounding “Mele Kalikamaka” of Hawaii’s seasonal greeting! Following this our next performer took us on an altogether different journey, somehow successfully linking serial killers to the Gestapo, and finally to great white sharks and mosquitoes… and all through the black magic that is probability.
Later in the evening we also got to meet some of the celebrities of the scientific world; as astrophysicist Steve Fossey described to us the moment he and his students discovered the newest, and closest, supernova in our solar system. And how better to mark such an astute and life changing moment than with pepperoni pizza and a supernova selfie?!
But of course, no evening spent in the company of scientists would be complete without at least one whizz, bang or funny smell, and we were not to be disappointed. Alongside hearing the entertaining exploits of an undercover mathematician pulling off a James Bond-esque explosion next to George Osborne (ok, so it only involved Alka-Seltzer, water and an old film canister, but still), we also witnessed a mesmerizing pyrotechnic demonstration of standing waves from a trumpet playing material scientist!
So what did I take away from my evening at the Science Showoff? Well, next time I come across a maggot, I will be sure to marvel at it’s wonder- biologically, medically and forensically, as well as appreciating its delightfully cute face…(?). I also think after this evening it is best to steer clear of maths (surprisingly high body count, don’t you know), and lastly, if I ever need to explain the ins and outs (ooh-er) of sex, using magnets is not the best way to go about it!
The Science Showoff is science at its best; entertaining, irreverent, chaotic and utterly captivating. Gigs happens every month in various locations around London and the UK, so grab a ticket to see some scientists in action, or better still, be brave, sign up, and go get your science on!