Physics World podcast: Science-themed comedy, are you having a laugh?
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In his quest to find out what makes good science comedy, Glester meets performers at the Green Man festival in Wales and the Edinburgh Fringe festival in Scotland, both of which took place in August. Among them is the actor, comedian and radio presenter Samantha Baines whose interest in science was boosted through a fixation with the “dishy” physicist (her word) Brian Cox. Baines’ Fringe show 1 Woman, a High-Flyer and a Flat Bottom celebrated women astronauts and space scientists and played to sell-out audiences throughout the festival.

Other performers featured in the podcast include astrophysicist Catherine Heymans and the improv group Captain Train, whose show Lowpothesis involves them interacting with scientists on stage. For each of the performers, Glester finds out why the comedians chose science as their source material and what they hope to achieve with the routines, beyond hopefully making the audience laugh. He also explores how it can be liberating and challenging to take science to the comedy circuit, a world where subject matter is usually more directly linked with people’s everyday experiences.

If you enjoy the podcast then look out for the October issue of Physics World, in which Glester will review several science-themed shows from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

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