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, especially Bristol, usually starting at 7pm. The first gig was on October 4th, 2011.

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. We sell tickets and 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. Year three (Sept 2013-Aug 2014) we raised £15 000.

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

Brilliant. We’d love to. We’ve gigged at the British Science Festival, Manchester Science Festival, The Green Man Festival, the Cardiff Science Festival, with the British Science Association Science Communication Conference, SpotOn London, Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Epic Encounters Season 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.

Sometimes you post ‘SIGNUP TO PERFORM’. How does that work?

For these gigs we publish an online sign-up sheet. The first 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 a few slots for invited guests.

Have you won any awards?


Recent Posts

BOOKS SHOWOFF 1 – 24th May at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road.



The first of a new series of collaborations between Waterstones and comedian Steve Cross sees eight of London’s sparkiest readers take to the stage to share their passion (or intense critical appreciation) for books. Tonight you’ll see:

Steve Cross comedian, nerd celebrity, troublemaker and your compere. Hasn’t read a book since 2011.

Alice Bell presents a Brief History of Fan Fiction.

James Ward will be talking about secondhand books, receipts, accidental bookmarks, Google Streetview and how all of this resulted in him standing in the street and taking photographs of a stranger’s house.

Sarah Elizabeth Cox did an MA in International Relations and has probably read more books about the Cold War than your average person, but only remembers one of them. At Books Showoff she’ll discuss how the Berlin Wall wasn’t the only thing going down during 1989’s revolutionary climax.

Olivia Potts is an almost former criminal barrister, who moonlights as a cook and food writer. She’s a cookbook fanatic, and will look into her crystal mixing bowl to tell us what we’ll see from Nigella et al next.

Anne Welsh – Books sit on our shelves like undetonated bombs. Some have been captured by pirates, stopped a bullet, or sunk to the bottom of the ocean. They have told societies how to live, what to believe, and forecast the future. They’ve started wars and revolutions, and the shape of what we read, even onscreen, is still dictated, in the words of the song, by the size of a cow. Anne Welsh is big in Bibliography, and will share some cautionary tales. Tweets @AnneWelsh – mainly to a crowd of cataloguers, archivists and book historians.

Harry Harris joined a Finnegans Wake reading group and immediately found out just out of his depth he was surrounded by experts in politics, modernism, classics and Irish History – four things quite key in understand the Wake, he thinks…he’s really not sure, to be honest, but he’ll do his best to explain what he’s been doing on Tuesday nights for the past 5 months.

Melanie Ramdarshan“My talk will be about the misadventures of a Peruvian illegal immigrant.”

Kayleigh Betterton – “You know when you said ‘antiquarian books’ Miss, I thought you were talking about fishes…” Kayleigh Betterton is book-collector and teacher; reading, writing and educating young people about books on a daily basis. Tonight she will be talking about what happens when you introduce a group of South London teenagers to a collection of priceless, antique first editions.

The gig is in the basement of the cool new Waterstones on the south end of Tottenham Court Road (it’s in one of the units that used to be big flash electronics shops) on Tuesday May 24th. Doors open 7pm. There is a lovely bar (yay!) and a lift down to the basement.

Tickets are £5 from here.

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