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Science Says

Home > Brisbane > Comedy | Fun Things To Do | Unusual Events
by Kiesten McCauley (subscribe)
My early career was in teaching, writing, producing and directing for theatre, comedy and impro shows. Now I'm a professional creative person. Mostly high-end branding, strategy, writing, editing and digital content creation.
The Funny Side of Facts
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L-R Dr. Joel Gimore and Prof. Wally Thomas

Science Says put your hand up if you like knowing cool bits of trivia. Keep your hand up if you like panel style game shows and you love to laugh at people saying funny things. Science Says all those with hands still up ought to click this link and grab tickets to the live science game show Science Says! before they all sell out.

The brainchild of local science celeb' Dr Joel Gilmore, who some may know from channel 9's The Shak, his popular TED talk, or his epic Oz Comic-Con couple costume, Science Says! is back again after a sold out show that covered the biggest and silliest science stories of 2014. I was lucky enough to see that show and found it to be accessible, funny and fascinating.

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Science Says! is Part of The Science Nation Series

Science with a Sense of Humour

Contrary to outdated stereotypes still churned out by popular sitcoms, scientists aren't all a bunch of anti-social losers lacking in emotions, empathy and sense of humour. Sure some of them are, but not all. On the Science Says! panels in Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney this year you'll find brilliant communicators, and hilariously funny ladies and men, some of which would definitely be distracting in the lab.

It's been a bit of a mission of Dr Joel Gilmore's to eradicate some of the archaic views of science and the men and women who revel in it, and bring them and their amazing stories into a realm of edu-tainment, so you're learning while you're laughing.

"I've always been a fan of those great British panel shows and that style of entertainment," Joel confesses, "and I've always loved talking about science and the fun aspect of science that I don't always get the chance to talk about.

"In a former life I have done stand-up comedy, and theatre and acting. This show's something I always wanted to do and I finally had the chance to do it, starting last year and bringing it back again this year."

The show takes Joel around a hundred hours to research, write and prepare. The games, questions and associated audio visual cues are all the culmination of a year's worth of the biggest and oddest science stories. While he's not disclosing any secrets yet on which quirky science stories we have in store this time, Joel reveals his favourite from the 2014 show was the salmon cannon story.

"This is a very serious problem, which is how do salmon cope as dams and other obstructions are built into their waterways when they have to go upstream to spawn. It sounds almost ridiculous, but this company has built what is essentially a cannon for shooting salmon upstream... it's just glorious to watch a salmon flying through the air out of a cannon."

Given the amount of experimentation involved in science, it's bound to get wacky sometimes, whether an experiment fails, or in the salmon cannon's case, actually works. If you're not familiar with the salmon cannon, perhaps this clip from John Oliver can help.

Meet the Panel

While he won't reveal the topics of this year's games and questions, he will tell me all about the exciting Brisbane panellists. The first of which I ask about is Venom Doc Dr Bryan Grieg Fry, who, according to his website, 'has led expeditions to almost 40 countries, been bitten by 26 poisonous snakes, stung by three stingrays - and survived a near-fatal scorpion sting while deep in the Amazon jungle'.

Joel says, "Bryan is a fantastic guy who is really interested in the medicinal value of venoms from animals because venoms are such highly evolved molecules the way that they function is really fascinating."

That explains all the bites and stings.

"He's had several near death experiences," Joel continues, "He has a lot of interesting stories and he's just put out a new book."

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L-R Venom Doc Dr Bryan Grieg Fry and Physicist Lucy Sim

Medical physicist Lucy Sim and Head of The University of Queensland's School of Biomedical Sciences Prof Wally Thomas will also be on the panel.

"Lucy works in medical physics helping to manage and helping design medical imaging devices and so forth," Joel says, "She comes from a very 'industrial science' kind of background."

"Wally has done a lot of different things in his career and brings with him a wealth of biochemical knowledge, which may or may not be useful on the night - that remains to be seen! He's a great entertainer as well as being a brilliant scientist, so that is why he's on our panel this year."

It's very possible the most entertaining on the panel will be the hosts of Smart Enough to Know Better a podcast of science, comedy and ignorance Dan Beeston and Greg Wah.

Joel says, "We want this to be a panel show in the truest sense of the word, which means that you always have a broad range of people. We're really lucky in Brisbane to have two science podcasters and comedians... they have lots of fascinating titbits of science but they're also incredibly high energy and entertaining on stage. They will help keep our panel on their toes!"

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L-R Dan Beeston and Greg Wah

If you're in Adelaide on 5th November or Sydney on the 14th of November you can catch the Science Says! show with different panels, with physicist, engineer, science communicator and entertainer Dr Joel Gilmore playing host at all three shows. There's still one special guest to be announced for all cities, and Joel says he has another excellent and entertaining guest in his sights for Brisbane.

"I'd like at the end of the evening that everybody goes away with a handful of useful titbits to bring out at BBQs over the summer," he says, "You should have everything you need to know to regale your friends with fascinating trivia and to have something funny to say about it if you'd like to recycle a joke."

Science Says! is PG, and Joel recommends the show for anyone over the age of 10, adding if you have a younger family member who really loves their science, they're likely to enjoy the show too. Tickets are on sale now and selling fast.
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Why? Laugh and Learn
When: 12th November, 7.30pm
Phone: Need more info? email
Where: The Edge, State Library of Queensland, South Brisbane.
Cost: $10 online/ $15 at door
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