It’s hard not to be charmed by a kids’ show which so expertly delivers what it intends to – a demonstration that science can be fun. (And, by the by, that girls are really good at it.)
In an hour in front of a full house at the Bruce Mason Centre, Dr Michelle Dickinson in her guise as Nanogirl runs inventively through a range of experiments linked by the theme of preparation for a party.
Some soft drink cans (and then a steel drum) are crushed in a demonstration of the power of water vapour and atmospheric pressure. A huge glow stick is created from scratch, balloons filled with different mixes of gas are set alight, the hearing of older members of the audience is tested, and a hoverboard chair is created with a leaf blower.
Eggs are exploded and flour set alight, and ice cream is manufactured in 24 seconds. Ping pong balls are projected by a vacuum cannon and a leaf blower, and the show ends with a noisy and spectacular glitter bomb powered by liquid nitrogen.
Through all of this controlled mayhem, volunteers from the audience are involved (safely) in the action. The science behind every sequence is meticulously explained – something Dr Dickinson is extraordinarily good at – and the result is a goofy, entertaining blend of information and spectacle.
It’s hard not to wonder, on heading away from this event, how many scientists of the future may have been formed among the children in delighted attendance yesterday.