What is Science Showoff?!?

What is Science Showoff?

It’s a chaotic open mic night for scientists, science communicators, science teachers, historians and philosophers of science, students, science popularisers and anyone else with something to show off about science.

When and where does it happen?

At least once a month in London, and also all over the country, usually starting at 7pm. The first gig was on October 4th, 2011.

How does it work?

For each gig we publish an online sign-up sheet. The first 7 people to sign up are guaranteed slots of up to 9 minutes on the night to do whatever they like as long as it has a science flavour. The organisers hold three slots for invited guests. There are two ‘waiting list slots’ available on the online booking sheet in case one of the first 7 backs out, gets sick or is otherwise ruled out. Usually no-one is allowed to book two slots in any three month period, and there are variations on this rule for gigs in cities where we don’t perform every month.

What happens on the night?

We start at 7.30, with an introduction from compere Steve Cross, and the night runs in two halves, each an hour long. The signed-up performers take to the stage to show off their science. They might:

Show a film they just made
Try out a new demo
Practice a new science comedy set
Tell us about their new discovery
Perform an 9-minute play about science
Play their new song about protons
Tell us what they’ve been up to
Predict the future
Give us a taster of their science-themed Edinburgh show
Read us their latest science poem
Try out a bit of a new science lesson on us
Play us a short radio documentary
Experiment on the crowd
Read us a blogpost
Perform an interpretive dance about science

Or anything else…

Every set lasts 9 minutes or less. There’s a 20 minute intermission and we finish by 10pm, to give us an hour of picking each other’s brains over beer and to form new plans and partnerships before closing time.

Is there money involved?

No-one gets paid. There is a collection bucket, and we suggest a donation of £5 from everyone who comes along (audience and performers alike). All proceeds go to a charity, chosen for that month’s gig. In our first year we raised £5000 for a collection of charities. In our second year (Sept 2012-Aug 2013) we raised £12 000.

I want you to come to my town / organise a gig with my conference

Brilliant. We’d love to. We’ve gigged at the Manchester Science Festival, The Green Man Festival, with the British Science Association Science Communication Conference, SpotOn London and loads more!

We’ll need you to find someone who will pay for our trainfares and hotels, though. Email us to find out more.

Recent Posts

Science Showoff Bristol 8 – Sept 18th, Grain Barge

Hi Bristol,

So, we’ve been seeing each other on and off for over a year now, and I feel like we really get on. There’s something special between us.

But I’m just not ready to commit. The nights we have together are incredible, full of science, and fun and chaos, and I love the fact that we have so many fantastically talented friends in common. Let’s keep doing that. Let’s not settle down and find ourselves watching Celebrity Big Brother while the world happens outside. Let’s keep making science weird and exciting together. Let’s make amazing things happen, but not too often. So how about it? September 18th maybe?

I was thinking we should ask a bunch of our brilliant friends along to entertain us in a science-y way for 9 minutes each. So how about:

Steve Cross – has a Wikipedia page. It seethes with passive aggression.

Audrey Nailor – Science Showoff traditionally shines the cold light of Science on poop, parasites and terrible creatures. I’ll be talking about the last, most disgusting taboo: the human fetus.

Bonnie Buckley – Do you love your eyelids? Find out what makes them so great and who’s missing out.

Antony Poveda – HAHAHAHahaha…haha…ha. Yes, we all love a good laugh, but what is comedy? Why does humour exist? And where is the funny bit in The Big Bang Theory? A deadly serious journey into the research that attempts to answer these critical questions, three wry smiles guaranteed!

 Ezzy Pearson – Why did the Moon get pounded during the Late Heavy Bombardment? Why did Jupiter and Saturn’s relationship cause Neptune to leave them for Pluto? How did the Earth getting over friendly with a passing planetoid end up with the Moon being born? BBC Sky at Night Magazine’s Ezzy Pearson talks through the sexy early days of the Solar System’s formation.

Matthew Allen – The year is 2057 and NASAs next mission is to send an Astronaut on a one way trip to the centre of a black hole. I’ll show you what it would be like as they fall in, explain what Spaghettification is and how they would be able to see the back of their own head!

Will Davies – The world of stand up comedy, like comedy, is rife with both inspiration and imitation. The difference between standing on the shoulders of giants and riding on their coat tails is often a matter of perspective. Or, in this case, a conversation over lunch that one of you forgot and the other didn’t, and then you remember it later and OH LOOK WHO’S DOING A STAND UP SHOW ABOUT IT, ANTHONY. FANCY THAT. ANTHONY. WOOOOOOOW. Anyway, here’s some shit about plagiarism.

Georgia Malcolm – A talk about an argument I had on Facebook with some hippies about the relative merits of expensive Himalayan pink salt, ordinary table salt and road grit salt

Tim Maynard – I’m going to show you what makes chameleons one of the most adapted lizards in the world.

The gig is at the Grain Barge in Bristol on September 18th. Doors open at 7pm with the gig starting at 7.30. We should be done by 10 and there will be an intermission. The gig is FREE but we’ll be collecting on the door for Bristol Mind (who support Bristol’s mental health) and we suggest a donation of FIVE POUNDS, all of which will go to the charity.

Me and you, Bristol. Me and you.


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