Standup Comedy Injects Healthy Dose Of Zing and Laughter into Science Learning

"Two bacteria walk into a bar. The bartender says, 'We don't serve bacteria here.' The bacteria say, 'But we work here! We're staph!'"

“I just started reading ‘The Origin of Species;’ don’t tell me how it ends!”

-From the standup routines of science comedian Brian Malow

USA Science & Engineering Festival

WASHINGTON--()--Science, no doubt, deals with some heavy, mind-boggling topics. But these lofty concepts and frontiers don’t always have to be sooo serious!

Yes, there really is an entertaining, comical, even hilarious, side to such domains as protein synthesis, fusion and fission, evolution, and the wiggling and jiggling of molecules - and the USA Science & Engineering Festival hosted by Lockheed Martin, representing the nation’s largest celebration of science and engineering, is gathering some of the country’s funniest science comedians this spring to prove it.

Students, teachers, parents and others in the general public are encouraged not to miss it when Brian Malow, Norman Goldblatt, Pete Ludovice, and Tim Lee each bring their unique style of science humor to Georgetown University in Washington, DC as part of the Festival’s “Night of Comedy,” Friday, April 27.

The “Night of Comedy” is among the many activities taking place that day in the nation's capital leading up to the Festival’s Expo weekend April 28-29 – a massive celebration that will serve as a finale to the Festival’s exciting nationwide month-long series of events aimed at inspiring the next generation of innovators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The comedy of Malow, Goldblatt, Ludovice and Lee help crystallize the Festival’s overriding message to young students: that science and other areas of STEM are not only vital, they are fun, highly interesting and cool.

"Comedy is an excellent way to get this across because through humor you're able to not only educate the audience about science, but also make them laugh while learning,” says funnyman Goldblatt, a mathophile who has written material for Jay Leno, taught physics at the university level for 10 years, and currently, in addition to performing comedy, develops lasers for application in ophthalmology.

A self-professed “geek” since childhood (and proud of it), he often breaks the ice with audiences at schools, corporate gatherings, and comedy clubs with jokes like: "I’ve been a nerd all my life. I was even a member of a nerds gang when I was young. We called ourselves the Hell’s Angles. Our motto: Be there and be square."

Science-trained comedians like Goldblatt, Lee and Ludovice also know that hearty guffaws can literally set the brain up for meaningful learning, especially among students absorbing traditionally difficult subjects such as science. Research shows that humor and laughter cause powerful endorphins to be released in brain pathways, which in turn help reduce stress, and improve attention span and memory retention in learners.

It is of little wonder that science-based comedy often has a way of helping students become more relaxed and receptive to science information, suggests Ludovice, a professor in the School of Chemical & Bioengineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he usually can be found when not performing. He also lectures internationally on the use of humor in technical communication and education.

Crowds are also sure to be regaled by the humor and spontaneity of science comedians Brian Malow and Tim Lee. Malow, self-proclaimed as the “Earth’s Premier Science Comedian,” is also video correspondent for Time.com. His comedy routine on Neil Armstrong was once heard a board an orbiting Space Shuttle (STS-44), and he has performed for such luminaries as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, American Chemical Society, Apple, and Microsoft.

Lee had completed his Ph,D. in Ecology and Evolution from the University of California, Davis before he realized that academia was not the life for him. Later he moved to northern California where he began in comedy, first writing jokes and then performing science comedy, using PowerPoint as a prompt. He now performs gigs across the country. Says Lee: “If humor, as some say, is truth plus absurdity, and if science is about uncovering truth, all I have to do is add the absurdity to that.”

With such hilarious acts performed by these four comics as: "Statistics: Feel the Power of the Dork Side"; "The Attack of the Monster Molecules"; “Science Comedy: It's Infectious“; and ”Hey, I’m Smarter Than a Sixth Grader,” audiences are sure to be in for a treat!

About the USA Science & Engineering Festival:

The USA Science & Engineering Festival is the country’s only national science festival, and was developed to increase public awareness of the importance of science and to encourage youth to pursue careers in science and engineering by celebrating science in much the same way as we celebrate Hollywood celebrities, professional athletes and pop stars. Lockheed Martin is again the presenting host of the USA Science & Engineering Festival and is joined by many other Festival sponsors and partners. The USA Science & Engineering Festival is a grassroots collaboration of over 500 of the United States leading science and engineering organizations. For more information on the USA Science & Engineering Festival, please visit the Festival website.

Contacts

Science & Engineering Festival
Larry Bock, 858-759-7799
biobock@mac.com

Release Summary

Science Festival's "Night of Comedy" is sure to please science and engineering enthusiasts at the USA Science & Engineering Festival on April 27, 2012, Washington, DC.

Contacts

Science & Engineering Festival
Larry Bock, 858-759-7799
biobock@mac.com