Event review: Laborastory

Thank you to Sean Elliot for sharing his experience presenting at Laborastory.


One of the biggest challenges I have found in science theatre is how to gather a crowd. All the passion and production on stage may be for naught if there isn’t an audience to play to.
In October I participated in Laborastory to a packed room of people who had come to hear tales of science. Laborastory has been running since 2013, and over that time has gathered an enormous following. The format is five speakers, each telling a tale of a figure from science. The theme of this night, being near to Halloween, was ‘villains’.
My talk was on Edward Orange Wildman Whitehouse; a 19th century surgeon who blew up the first transatlantic cable with electricity and hubris.
The other speakers waxed lyrical on MMR vaccine doubter Andrew Wakefield; hydrogen bomb inventor Edward Teller; Louis Agassiz and his racist theories on human ancestry; and a controversial look at Silent Spring author Rachel Carson.
For me, the picture painted by the evening seemed to be how to do science right by hearing tales of science done wrong.
The organisers are always on the lookout for new story tellers. If you’ve got tale to tell about a science hero, Laborastory has an excellent and friendly audience who will loved to listen to you.

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