SCIENCE SHOWOFF curated by the UCL Public Engagement Unit – July 21st, Star of Kings

For the last seven years UCL (which those of you stuck in the olden days might call University College London) has had a team helping its researchers to interact with real people in new and interesting ways. Over that time they’ve developed loads of science talent, turning researchers into performers ready to rock any stage.

Tonight ten of those clever folk from the last seven years come together to show you just what scientists and engineers can do with a microphone and a little bit of professional help. At this chaotic extravaganza you’ll see:

Steve Cross – MC, comedian, troublemaker
Gemma Angel (UCL PhD 2009-2013) – set details tbc
Claire Asher (current UCL staff) – Claire is a science writer and communicator, behavioural ecologist and ant-wrangler. She writes the Curious Meerkat blog. Tonight she’ll answer the question nobody is asking: “why isn’t everybody an arsehole?”. From slime mould to meerkats, Claire will take us on a tour of altruism and cooperative behaviour in the animal kingdom.
Anna Ploszajski (current UCL PhD student) – science gags, a few games and demos that aren’t fire
Catie Williams (current UCL PhD student) – A microbiologist-turned-obsessive-primate-poo-collector, Catie is ready to convince you that her job’s not all that weird… honestly.
Cerys Bradley (current UCL PhD student) – Cerys is a PhD student in the Crime and Security Science at UCL, whose current research is based in Computer Science. She probably won’t talk about either of these things.
Oli Usher (current UCL staff) – set details tbc
Sarah Bell (current UCL staff) – I am an environmental engineer and I’ll be telling anti-jokes about poo (it’s no laughing matter).
Sophie Meekings (current UCL PhD student) – set details tbc
Jay Stone (UCL PhD student 2008-2012) – I’m likely to talk about how being friends
with Steve Cross gets me into tricky situations
Michelle Downes (current UCL PhD student) – What do babies know?

The gig is at the Star of Kings, in the basement on Tuesday July 21st. Doors open 7pm and the gig starts at 7.30. Come near 7 if you want a good seat! Over 18s only.

Tickets are £6 (plus booking fee) from All of your £6 will be donated to b-eat, a charity helping people affected by eating disorders.

SCIENCE SHOWOFF at the Royal Society, Tuesday June 30th

It’s the Summer Science Exhibition at the Royal Society! Summer is the time to pop to the home of the people who run British Science to catch labs showing off their work in a huge exhibition. For the third year in a row they’ve invited us over to add some chaos to the mix, with a night of science jokes, talks, demos and mucking about.

The gig starts at 7.00pm (it’s an early one, so arrive from 6.30) and will finish at about half eight. You don’t even need to book tickets or nothing. Just turn up! Look! We’re in the nice big dining room in the basement, and directions to get there are here:

Tonight the following science brainboxes will take to the stage and entertain and enlighten you for 9 minutes:

Steve Cross – MC, science comedian and troublemaker
Mark Purver – Jodcast host, physicist turned mega statto
Fiona Russell – Pain scientist with a sideline in chillis.
Kostas Tokatlidis – Biochemist from Glasgow
Dan Schreiber – comedian and fact repository
Megan Whewell – PhD student in space
Sarah Day – science writer, geologist and rock fan (GET IT?)

Hold on tight folks, it’s going to be an exhilarating ride!




It’s always exciting to go and visit one of the UK’s major science cities. Scrub that. One of EUROPE’S major science cities. Did you know that Manchester is going to be the European City of Science in 2016? Not London. Not that other city in the middle whose name I forget. Manchester.

And what better way to celebrate than Science Showoff rolling into town with the British Science Association in tow, for a night of science chaos (in the traditional sense rather than the Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park sense)? Tonight we’ll unleash a torrent of science talent onto the stage at the Museum of Science and Industry, some of it local and some of it in town for the Science Communication Conference.

You’ll see:

Steve Cross – Geek comedian, founder of Bright Club, compere, trouble-maker, science communication veteran and genetically-speaking a mancunian.

Sam Illingworth – Sam Illingworth, lecturer in Science Communication at Manchester
Metropolitan University will attempt to convey the entire history of
science via the medium of poetry. If you¹re lucky it may even rhyme!

Alison Atkin – Against the better advice of her peers, Alison embarked on a PhD. One again, against the better advice of her peers, Alison has agreed to do Science Showoff… again. Come witness an ill-advised and ill-prepared individual do the only thing she knows how: research.

Jon Wood – Can psychologists really tell what you’re thinking? Experience the science behind the Jeremy Kyle show with a live demonstration on stage!

Maia Elliott – Maia will reveal how our diets can unlock an arsenal of microbial superpowers in our bodies, transforming us into bona fide super-organisms.

Claire Asher – Claire is a science writer and communicator, recovering academic and ant geek. She writes the Curious Meerkat blog. She’ll be taking us on a whistle-stop tour of love, life and death in the animal kingdom.

Dom McDonald – Dom will be sharing his biggest screw-ups, featuring a cast of paedophiles, owls, and Stephen Jay Gould.

Sarah Bearchall – Sarah Bearchell (Sarah’s Adventures in Science) won the 2014 Josh Award for her innovative approach to children’s science. Prepare to embrace your inner child as we sample a (mildly chaotic) activity from her Oxfordshire Science Festival stall.

Tim Walton – Tim is a mathematical physicist: a half-mathematician, half-scientist hybrid who doesn’t really belong in either camp.He will spend 9 minutes flailing his arms around in an attempt to explain the very small in physics using the very large in mathematics.

Danielle Bryers – Filthy, flaming or faecal, farts are the marmite of excretions.  Danielle plumbs the depths of your guts and mind to understand why some of us think trumps are top and others think they just plain stink.

Lisa Heaney – Lisa’s set comes with a warning. She will be loudly and proudly using the n-word: that’s right, neuroscience! With her own brand of edutainment, she explores the pitfalls of a PhD as well as brains, drugs and exercise.  There’ll be love, laughter and you might just learn something.

Tickets are available for £6 here. Doors open at 7pm and the gig starts at 7.30 SHARP. We’ll finish at about 10pm. The museum will have a bar open selling all your favourite stuff. Assuming you don’t like anything REALLY weird. We’ll be at the Museum of Science and Industry.

SCIENCE SHOWOFF curated by Lindsay Keith (The Refinery) – London, June 16th


Guys we survived the engineers! We had to tell them that we secretly hate science and don’t love it but it was a lie and we only said it to try and make them like us and then we thought who wants an engineer to like them anyway but then some of them were quite nice and we were a bit confused about who we liked and we didn’t know if it was you or them and to be honest we’re probably going to hang out with them a bit more in the future but we’ll also hang out with you because it’s always been good and anyway we are back here with you and it will all be brilliant again and yay science!

This month’s gueat curator is the marvellous Lindsay Keith from the TV/video/events producers Refinery. She has reached deep into her bag of tricks to bring you ten acts for a chaotic night of weird science with a twist of high-stakes entertainment. They’ll each get 9 minutes on stage to wow you and show you that you’ll never find a better way to give £6 to charity.

Tonight see:

Steve Cross – Our compere, who in the last month has run sell-out Showoffs with engineers, historians and Bristolians, returns to the subject that first ruined his life: science.

Holly Rogers – I’m going to try and put people off the Underground by talking about what lives down there!

Lindsay herself – Lindsay is a former scientist, TV producer and business owner who has now had so many careers that she’s losing count. Or she might be, but she’s not sure. Ageing: It comes to us all. Well unless you’re Benjamin Button or have a special mirror in the attic – but surely there have to be some positives right? Lindsay does the research so you don’t have to and will be Showing Off about age related hirsutism, memory loss, degenerative physiology and …where am I again?

Ruth McAvinia – I’ll be talking about numerical weather prediction and running towards and away from tornadoes.

Deborah Install – Deborah hopes to raise smiles with an excerpt from her recently published debut comedy A Robot in the Garden. Heat magazine called the book ‘wonderfully weird and uplifting’, and Simon Ings of the New Scientist predicts Deborah is ‘the future of science fiction’.

Tracy King – Tracy King is a producer and writer specialising in humorous science animations. Her short film, Tim Minchin’s Storm, has over 3.5million views on YouTube, and she has written and produced sci comms cartoons on topics including the history of genetics, satellites, and climate change. She writes a column in Custom PC magazine and blogs at

Chella Quint – Chella Quint loves to science, and she loves to comedy. She will be comedy science-ing at you whether you like it or not –  because she is from Brooklyn and she is tough (but she hopes you will like it because she’s not that tough).

Iszi Lawrence – Iszi Lawrence is a stand-up comedian and host of the Z List Dead List Podcast – a show about obscure people from history. She plans to be talking about some scientists you might never have heard of.

Sophie Scott – set details tbc


The gig is in the basement of the Star of Kings near King’s Cross on Tuesday June 16th. Tickets are available here: for £6 plus booking fee (the £6 will go to the Save The Children Nepal campaign, chosen by Lindsay. )


Mancunians Wanted – June 17th

Hi Manchester.

We’ve heard a rumour that you’ve got something to say about science,
and we’d love to give you a chance to say it in front of the loveliest
crowd you can imagine. Fancy having a go at Science Showoff on the
evening of June 17th at the Museum of Science and Industry in

What is Science Showoff?

It’s a chaotic open mic night for science fans, scientists,
filmmakers, dancers, musicians, science communicators, science
teachers, historians and philosophers of science, students, science
popularisers and anyone else with something to show off about science.
It’s been running for four years in London, Bristol and all over the
UK. It’s been to Manchester twice before and totally sold out the
front hall of the Museum of Science and Industry both times!

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

What about money?

No-one gets paid for this. We keep ticket prices low and profits go
towards the Museum’s work to take science to people who don’t usually
get to experience it.



SCIENCE SHOWOFF BRISTOL 11 – May 21st, The Hatchet Inn


Avast there me hearties! The brave sailors of Science Showoff are back in town, and this time we’ve left the water behind for a new home, safe above the imminent flooding caused by successive governments’ failure to take climate change seriously due to lobbying by big oil companies.

Other than that, we’re good. You’ll get to see the usual mixture of weird and wonderful, brainy and bonkers as each of our acts gets nine minutes to do ANYTHING AT ALL about science.

Tonight we’re joined by:

Steve Cross – MC, science comedian, troublemaker.

Fraeya Whiffin – How to commit genocide and get away with it.

Matt Camilleri – A journey from Light to Fuel

Will Davies – Lies My Mother Told. Turns out clicking joints and arthritis are not so causally linked after all. What other ‘facts’ have we all been conned ino believing?

Vicky Miller – The awesome power of mutations

Scary Boots (may be a pseudonym) – ‘Everything you know about diamonds is wrong’ – how the world’s most expensive gemstone isn’t expensive, rare, sparkly, or friendly.

Jemma Rowlandson – How to save the world with Leerdammer cheese.

Ezzy Pearson – The psychology of conspiracy theories, though there is a large chance it will just turn into me shouting at Moon Landing deniers for 9 minutes


The gig is at The Hatchet Inn (NOT THE GRAIN BARGE WE HAVE MOVED) 27 Frogmore Street, Avon, Bristol BS1 5NA on Thursday May 21st. Doors open 7pm.

Tickets are £5 plus booking fee from: and all of the £5 will go to charity.

SCIENCE SHOWOFF engineering special – May 19th, Star of Kings London


Let’s be honest; Science is rubbish. Science is all like “Oh we found that the error bars of previous estimates of the heritability of that trait are unlikely to be statistically accurate to the degree of freedom presumed by previous authors”.

But Engineering is all like “I’m sorry I can’t hear you because I’m listening to Erik B and Rakim on an mp3 player the size of a hazelnut that I just made while building a bridge to the moon. YOU’RE WELCOME.

And that’s why we’ve asked Oliver Broadbent, the greatest civil engineer London has to offer, to curate a lineup of amazing engineering talent to entertain us for a night. He’s also chosen Engage for Development as the charity to whom we’ll give all your ticket money.

Join us for a night of chaotic engineering-themed cabaret, with talks, jokes, music, demos and everything else you’ve ever wanted to know about the subject that saves lives (and takes them away, weapons research people am I right?). You’ll see:

Steve Cross – not an engineer. Not a scientist. Barely human. Compere, joke-teller and trouble-maker.

Oliver Broadbent – The man who makes concrete sexy again.

Alistair Lenczner – A designer who has designed all sorts of things from a table to a giant football stadium, a bus to a  giant bridge, a Meccano bird to a giant airport.  I also compose music, plays drums and draw portraits……..

Yasmin Ali – Chemical Engineer with a short attention span. Talking about the magic of 3D printing.

Corina Kwami – Singing city-loving engineer who works on water issues and jazz in cities.

Ben Godber Ben Godber is a structural engineer who reckons you need more danger in your life. With your help he’ll be explaining why that bridge hasn’t fallen over yet using a rather fetching pair of roller skates.

Anna Ploszajski (and friends) – What happens when you put hydrogen fuel cells and drunk people together.

Bob Barnes – I’m gonna take the sexy out of dancing and fill it full of forces instead.

Chris Mills – Raining on a Russian Constructivist’s parade’ – the story of when a student of engineering set out to determine the actual feasibility of Tatlin’s Tower, a utopian spiralling 400m monument proposed in Moscow following the 1917 Revolution.

Tom Cohen – Despite having spent a great deal of time observing engineers in their natural habitat, remains unable to explain many of their characteristics. He intends to share his perplexity as a cheap alternative to providing any real insight.

Becci Taylor – The secret world of building services engineering.

The gig is in the basement of the Star of Kings (that’s here) on Tuesday May 19th with the doors opening at 7pm. Tickets are £6 plus booking fee from here and that £6 will go to Oli’s chosen charity.