Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bang Goes the Theory!

Matt and I are huge fans of the BBC light science show Bang Goes the Theory. It is presented by four people:

  • Liz Bonnin, who has a degree in biochemistry and a masters degree in wild animal biology and conservation
  • Dr Yan Wong, who has a PhD in computational and mathematical modelling of self-incompatibility systems in plants
  • Jem Stansfield, who has a degree in aeronautics, and a qualification in welding
  • Dallas Campbell, their resident "amateur scientist".

We were highly excited when, as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, a big marquee was set up by the galleries halfway along Princes Street. We were more excited when it was plastered with BGtT banners. We felt we really must go to see their roadshow. The website said that you could "meet the presenters, get hands-on with science in the Interactive Area and see the live Bang Goes the Theory science shows", although it's never easy to be sure how much one can do these things at this sort of event.

We got down there at about 11.30 to queue for the 12.00 show. Matt noticed soon, though, that the 1pm show was being hosted by Jem, rather than Liz, who was doing the 12.00 show. So we hopped out of the queue again to wait for that one.

We do like Liz (and Dallas, and Dr Yan), but Jem is our absolute favourite. We've been big fans of his TV career - he's done Wild Thing, I Love You with Bill Bailey, appeared as an expert on Scrapheap Challenge, and was 1/3 of the team on the unfortunately short-lived science show Men In White.
He's a genius inventor and has, over the course of BGtT, climbed a building using a suction pad machine made out of the innards of two cheap vacuum cleaners, made a go-cart reach nearly 50mph powered only by a fire extinguisher, created a human-powered hydrofoil, and built many other really cool inventions.

We went over to the interactive area, and found Dr Yan demonstrating little science tricks to some kids. We stayed to watch, and then were absolutely delighted when Dallas and Jem came over to join in. I was complimented by all three of them on my t-shirt (I was wearing my SchrÓ§dinger's Cat t-shirt), and we started talking about how confusing quantum theory is for the layperson. And then Dr Yan and Jem got into an argument about it. I hardly understood a word, mind you! And I got autographs from all three of them, then asked if I could be really nerdy and get a photo with them. Jem said "It's hardly nerdy in comparison to what we've just been doing!" Good point.

Me with Dallas and Jem.

Dallas suggested that they all look wise for Matt's photo with them. Matt and Jem jumped at the chance.

The guys were really nice, and I certainly hadn't expected that much interaction - they could just have said hi and scrawled an autograph, but they seemed pleased to have the chance to talk to us. After about half an hour, we headed off to queue for the show. I got a chance to nip out and get Liz's autograph, although she was a lot busier and more surrounded by fans than the guys were. It might have something to do with the fact that she really brings the glamour factor to the show...

And then we went and watched the show, hosted by Jem, along with James Soper. It featured a spud gun that shot at 220mph, and a demonstration of wall climbing using Jem's vacuum machine.
It was pretty damn cool.

We came home, I had a nap, then we watched Doctor Who, just to cement our nerd credentials.

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At 8:49 pm, Blogger Shawna said...

Sounds like it was a lot of fun! Unfortunately, I can't watch the video, since it's not available in my area. :( Glad you and Matt enjoyed yourselves. *hugs*

At 10:09 pm, Blogger Tah said...

Glad you had fun. And that you got to do even more interacting than you thought you'd be able to. :-)

At 10:55 pm, Blogger Hieronymous Anonymous said...

And I didn't get hands-on with the presenters!

Well, not much. I had my arm around Jem for that photo.

At 10:21 am, Blogger Nettie said...

I *love* cute nerds! ;-)

It sounds like a great day hun, I'm glad you guys had fun *hugs*

At 2:51 pm, Anonymous oppiejoe said...


...oh, wait...

not Magic afterall.


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