The Shows

Here you’ll find some details of some our shows over the last few years at Cheltenham Science Festival, we hope you like what you see!

Why Messiness Always Wins, 2016
This Show is Totally Random, 2015
Science of Sound, 2014
Science of the Internet, 2013
Science Busking, 2012
Ten Scientists You’ve Never Heard Of, 2011
Science of the Oceans, 2010
Experiments that Changed the World, 2009
Science in the Kitchen, 2008


Why Messiness Always Wins, 2016

In the battle between order and disorder, science predicts that messiness will always win. We took to the stage to find out how a weird measure of messiness called entropy explains the beautiful patterns in flowers and leaves, the workings of the brain and the number of TV channels you can squeeze down a cable. We then took our experiments to the the streets of Cheltenham for a bit of science busking!

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This Show is Totally Random, 2015

Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to predict the weather or the lottery numbers? In a predictably unpredictable show, we investigated how totally random the world is and what we can do to predict it!

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Science of Sound, 2014


From the stage of the fantastic Parabola Arts Theatre in Cheltenham, we explored some weird and wonderful properties of sound. From Nic we learnt about sound waves (using fire, obviously). Steve did strange things with the audiences’ hearing with a confusaphone, while Peter used auditory illusions to explore how the sound entering our ears and what we think we hear are very different. Marieke gave a stunning performance on the glass harp, demonstrating the power of vibrations via a rendition of Ode to Joy.

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Science of the Internet, 2013


Our show The Science of the Internet, kindly sponsored by HP, played to a full house at Cheltenham Science Festival 2013. Our hero Steve had a photo he wanted to share on Facebook (of his prized baked potato, naturally).
We followed Steve’s photo on its journey, from the stage at Cheltenham to the Cornish coast, along fibre optic cables under the Atlantic and across the States, reaching the west coast of America quicker than our voices could reach the back of the room. We learnt about fibre optics, encryption and packet switching – the mega clever process by which information crosses the Internet without getting lost. As ever, a brilliant audience with lots of clever questions, most focussed on how we can stay safe on social networking sites. The show also involved some very silly moustaches, worn by some very silly scientists.

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Science Busking, 2012

In 2012 we took The Flying Kandinskys on tour, with science busking in Cheltenham. Visitors to the Cineworld cinema were greeted with hands-on science demos, including oven shelf acoustics and drinking straw musical instruments.

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Ten Scientists You’ve Never Heard Of, 2011


Many of the greatest achievements in science and technology have come from people whose names won’t be familiar to most of us. In this show, we wanted to showcase ten great thinkers – especially women – whose achievements should have made them household names. Caroline introduced us to the stories of marine biologists Sylvia Earle and Ruth Turner. Nic introduced us to Agnes Pockels, who dedicated her life to understanding the strange and astonishing ways that bubbles and liquids can pull each other about.

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Science of the Oceans, 2010


This show’s theme was the deep sea. Lead by marine biology extraordinaire Caroline Johnson, we took a dive down to the deepest parts of the ocean to explore the weird and wonderful life that exists beyond the reach of sunlight. Marieke gave us a great introduction to bioluminescence, which was a perfect excuse to get out the glowsticks.

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Experiments that Changed the World, 2009

This show demonstrated how a few simple experiments changed the world. It was hands on, with kids trying real experiments, taking measurements and sharing in those ‘Eureka’ moments.

It’s fabled that Galileo stood on the Tower of Pisa and dropped two canon balls – one large and one small – to demonstrate they’d fall at the same rate. By doing so, he proved Aristotle wrong, and set straight two thousand years of mis-understanding. Despite replacing water balloons with canon balls, with the help of the audience we showed that Galileo was spot on.

We also gave the good people of Cheltenham the opportunity to re-create a world-changing experiment by Archimedes. He’s known by many as the Greek who ran through the streets stark naked, shouting Eureka! The story goes like this. It’s said that Archimedes had to determine which of two crowns was real gold, and which was a fraud diluted with a cheaper metal. By placing each in water, and combining the amount of water displaced with the weight, he derived the concept of Density. Martin Coath, with lots of helpers, managed to determine that the density of his crown exactly matched ‘Cheltenham Gold’ (aluminium, for budgetry reasons…).

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Science in the Kitchen, 2008

The debut show by The Flying Kandinskys. Poor old Head Chef Steve Mould was trying to run a successful kitchen, but all his rebellious chefs wanted to do was SCIENCE! Cue mess, explosions and horrific abuse of microwave ovens, it was a fantastic sell-out show at Cheltenham Science Festival.

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