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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Science Buskers Festival

This morning, the finals of the first ever Science Buskers Festival was held at the Science Centre, so Fresh Brainz popped in to see some enthusiastic young people perform some interesting demonstrations and have lots of fun.

The MC came onstage and gave a brief intro about the competition. Each team was given five minutes for their presentation. He later explained that the teams would be assessed by three groups of people: audience voting (25%), the judges (50%) and online voting (25%).

The audience sitting in the central section gets to vote using one of these handheld devices.

But not everyone gets to vote, and Fresh Brainz as usual is unable to vote, as has been the case for the past ten years...

Just like real life!

The judges are VIPs from various institutions and they're there to give candid feedback to the teams after their presentation, American Idol-style.

Aside from giving the contestants points to ponder, they also award them actual points.

Unfortunately, Simon Cowell is not among them. As you may have heard, Cowell is now more famous than God.

So if you think that getting the Lord Almighty to make an appearance is difficult, just imagine how hard it is to get Cowell to grace this occasion.

As for the audience, they're there to push buttons on those voting remotes, and to cheer!

That's right, screechy screamy schoolgirl CHEER!

What's cool is that supporters not only cheer for their own team, but for other teams as well.

And audience voting results are instantly available after each team performance.

Now don't let that make you think that science is some sort of popularity contest...

Just like real life!

Here are some highlights of the presentations:


Bigger explosions!

... and an ethereal plume of nitrocellulose flame!

In addition to explosions, here comes another science demo mainstay...

Dry ice!

More dry ice!

Let's not forget bubbles induced by dry ice!

Larger bubbles!

... and a dancing robot?!??

A breakdancing robot, no less.

Overall, an interesting and ingenious assortment of demonstrations, but some of the teams can do better with a more coordinated and polished delivery. After all, science busking is more about busking than science, and busking is more about entertainment than education.

Forget the detailed explanatory charts - send in the LOX donuts!*

Nom nom nom nom... BOOM!

Would you like to know more?
- Videos of all the Science Busker team presentations

*Legal disclaimer: LOX donuts are dangerous. LOX donuts are not meant to be eaten. LOX donuts are not magically delicious and do not produce a strange tingling sensation on your tongue. Tongues which are injured by LOX donuts have to be removed quickly, efficiently and painfully at the Slack Tongue Clinic.


Edgar said...

Is there like some newsletter that you subscribe to that tells you about these events? Seems like they hardly make a whisper in the media.

Looks rather fun, just like what science should be.

angry doc said...

Should should let us know in advance next time, then maybe we can make an outing together. :)

Wolf said...

Be sure to check out the Science Buskers Festival Facebook too - there are plenty of photos of the earlier rounds.

The next Science Buskers Festival will be this May, so look out for it!

Lingzhi said...

Hey people
Glad to know that you guys like the idea of science busking. I'm the project officer for the event and check out our facebook and Youtube to see the exciting moments! (keyword search: science buskers)

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lingzhi. I'll be sure to check it out!

Ryan said...

To Edgar and Angrydoc -

If you would like to be informed of upcoming Science Centre events, please email me at rlh_hong [at]


Science Centre Singapore