The primary organizers for the Physics and Performance Demo Show in Edmonton were Stanley Micklavzina from The University of Oregon and Wendy Sadler from Science Made Simple, Cardiff Wales The idea of the show comes from efforts by Sadler and Micklavzina to incorporate performance into the more standard science shows with the hope to reach a wider audience and to also display the beauty of science in a way that stimulates interest and creative interaction. Performance can be a way to bring science into people’s heart and soul by grabbing a part of their attention that a lecture based show may miss.
Wendy Sadler, and her company, Science Made Simple, have developed a touring theatre show called 'visualise' where physics demonstrations are performed without words. The idea was born from a combination of research into the impact of science demonstrations, inspiration from a German science group (called 'physikanten' ) and the frustration of working through translators across Europe. The idea was to use music and film to set the demonstrations in context and provide the real-life links to the phenomena on display. The aim is to attract non-traditional audiences to science using the tools of physical theatre and innovative performance techniques. The show was short-listed for a Total Theatre award at the Edinburgh International Fringe festival in 2007 and has toured to 10 countries so far ranging from Austria to Azerbaijan.
Influenced by watching music and vaudevillian performers, Stanley Micklavzina has always made efforts to present a physics demonstration show in a way that is captivating and entertaining. In 2005 he worked with circus performer Rhys Thomas and developed aa show called from Newton to Einstein which combined physics demonstrations and modeling with juggling and other circus styles. Stanley met Wendy Sadler in 2003 in a Physics and Performance workshop at a conference in Europe called Physics on Stage. Since then he has been dedicated to coordinate a similar workshop at an AAPT meeting and also incorporate performance into the traditional evening demo show. It came to pass in Edmonton.
Some of the acts in the Edmonton show were the result of the one-day workshop held at the meeting sponsored by The Committee on Science Education for the Public. Participants in this workshop split up into groups and were guided to find ways of incorporating physics demonstrations into some type of performance such as music, dance, or story telling.
Acts in the show featured the collaborative efforts of Micklavzina and Sadler, Prof Roger Moore from The University of Alberta, Prof. Per Olaf Zetterberg from Lund Sweden, The Physics Factory from, Tucson Arizona.
The incredible stage crew was made up of folks from PIRA, Physics Instructional Resource Association. These professional folks so skilled with the set-up of physics demonstrations always know how to quickly and properly set-up a stage and can also react quickly when there are technical difficulties. We only had a few hours to organize and set-up this show and it would not have been possible without their generous contribution of time and effort.
The hosts for the Summer Meeting 2009 in Ann Arbor have expressed interest in trying to obtain funds to bring the visualise show during the Summer 2009 meeting.
Stanley Micklavzina hopes to again offer the Physics and Performance workshop at the Summer meeting 2010 tentatively scheduled for Portland Oregon.
You can watch the show performance at the following website:
We hope it inspires your creative process and helps bring innovative ways to bring the beauty of science and the study of physics to the public.
Stanley Micklavzina and Wendy Sadler
Dept of Physics, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR. USA
Science Made Simple: http://www.sciencemadesimple.co.uk/
Cardiff, Wales U.K.
Special Thanks to:
Per Olaf Zetterberg
Taylor and Loren (Physics Techs U of Alberta)
Other PIRA helpers and
The Horowitz Theater Tech Team