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The biggest Science Showoff ever

Katherine Aitchison8 November 2012

“There are massive f***ing error bars on every adjective I’m going to use tonight.”

Those are the words every scientist wants to hear at the start of a comedy night. We like to be assured that all the jokes we’re about to hear have been properly tested and subjected to significance testing.  Of course, if the error bars are massive then the results probably aren’t significant – but we won’t go into that.

So this was Science Showoff, a monthly open mic night for scientists, science communicators, science historians or anyone else in any way connected with the scientific world to come and be funny whilst talking about what they love. It’s a monthly event which has been running for just over a year and 7November saw the biggest Showoff to date in the Bloomsbury Theatre.

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Embracing failure

Katherine Aitchison27 July 2012

Once a month, something beautiful happens in a dark room behind the Wilmington Arms pub in Islington. Now don’t let your imagination run away with you – I’m talking about Bright Club, the alternative comedy night from UCL.

On this night, researchers, academics and otherwise serious folk gather in the tiny room and, for two hours, tell silly stories and generally make fun of their chosen careers.

The event is understandably popular; tickets had sold out and I was glad that I got there early enough to grab a seat on a rickety wooden bench. By the time the metaphorical curtain went up, there were people leaning on all the walls and my bench was surrounded by those who had been further back in the queue and were forced to stand through the acts.

Each month’s gathering has a theme and the chosen topic for July was “Failure” in order to tie in with UCL’s series of Olympic-themed events, Exercise your brain. The idea being to take the edge off all the talk of winning and medals inspired by the Games by celebrating the fact that not everything always goes according to plan.

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