October 25, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

Review of Imperial's annual science-comedy event BAHfest, where outrageously funny and ridiculous ideas are discussed in scientific terms

Bah!London poster with monkey inside of lightbulbHave you ever wondered whether parasites might be at the origin of friendships?
Or whether Creationism and Intelligent Design are actually interplanetary defense propaganda?

Could we model natural algorithms from the Glastonbury festival?
Are movies actually behaving like neutrinos?
If any of these questions, or others equally bizarre, have ever popped up in that brain of yours, then you are BAHfest material.

BAHfest 2016, or “the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses” took place last weekend here at Imperial College, organized by our own Physics Society and Zach Weiner, famous for his science webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
The principle is simple: you can present any hypothesis or theory, as extravagant and outrageous as you wish it to be, as long as it is backed up by scientific-ish arguments and experiments. A panel of scientists and science writers will then judge the credibility and feasibility.

It is frankly hilarious.

Bah!London poster with St. Paul's cathedral on bug legsThis year’s event was split into two topics over two days: Evolution and Big Science, each with a cast of talented comedians and hilarious scientists. Evolution was hosted by author and comedian Matt Parker, and the panel included cience writers Ed Yong and Zoe Margolis as well as science presenter Steve Mould.
The Big Science theme on Saturday had comedian Helen Arney running the show, with Simon SinghProf Steve Cowley and Dr Jillian Scudder commenting on the performances.

We heard passionate arguments for sending flocks of sheep to the Moon to help insomniacs worldwide, or for how physics would actually be simpler if we stopped the Earth from rotating, and how we could achieve this.
We were shown that humans have evolved into what we are today due to packing efficiency, and considered whether we had be born possessing all the knowledge in the universe but were actually losing it over time – with education accelerating that process. We also enjoyed a song played on a ukulele about the Sun sulking for attention.
Add it all together and you get BAHfest 2016. If you haven’t been yet, you should definitely come next year!

For more info and videos of previous years competitors head to www.bahfest.com!
Wilko Duprez is studying for an MSc in Science Communication

Images: London BAHfest