Scifest Africa, South Africa’s National Science Festival, will bring firm favourites back to the festival this year in celebration of its 20th anniversary event in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape from 2-8 March 2016.
Who said science was boring? That it is not creative? That it is not fun? Not Die Physikanten!
In 2014, festival-goers at Scifest Africa were privileged to see Die Physikanten, an award-winning science show straight off the stages of Europe, for the first time. Here they captured the imagination of their audience in a way that left us wanting more. This team of actors and natural scientists have won the attention of more than 500,000 people across the globe with their spectacular science shows.
Die Physikanten are back at Scifest Africa this year and their show promises to be a must see. Dr Sascha Ott explains that “shipping our experiments from Germany to South Africa is a really difficult logistics challenge, but we want to present our biggest effects at the festival. Think giant smoke rings and imploding barrels, dazzling explosions and a stunning fire tornado”. The show will showcase the best chemistry and physics demonstrations that have been developed by Die Physikanten over the last 15 years. They are known for their impeccable comic timing and have won various international awards, the most recent being the Best Demo Competition awarded by the British Interactive Group. Die Physikanten are also regulars on television broadcasts across Europe, and in 2012 were awarded the medal for outstanding science journalism by the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.
In order to grace our stage once more, Die Physikanten started a crowdsourcing campaign in October 2015 to fund their trip to South Africa. Thanks to donations from the public and a generous sponsorship from main sponsor, Bayer they were able to fund their trip, and we cannot wait to have them back at the festival this year. “At Bayer we believe that Science plays a crucial role in society and we are passionate about stimulating young people’s interest in the art of Science,” says Bayer’s Thomas Helfrich, Head of the BayKomm Communication Centre in Germany.
Ott, a journalist and physicist, skilfully combines art, science, entertainment and education in order to bring the message of this science show across to a global audience. He believes that science is for everyone, and that using art and entertainment to communicate science, makes it accessible to all and creates an appreciation of and enthusiasm for science. “The combination of action, science and fun is just compelling. Everyone finds something enjoyable in these shows” says Ott.
The Best of Die Physikanten is one of three science shows at festival this year. Dr Graham’s Blow-up Science presented by Dr Graham Walker from Australia will have audiences on the edge of their seats as he performs some seriously mind-bending science. Kitchen Chemistry: Seconds by Scifest Africa regular Dr Stephen Ashworth from the University of East Anglia will present brand new dramatic experiments, using everyday consumables and items that can be found in your immediate surroundings.
There are also two educational theatre shows on the programme this year. Beneath the Skin Productions, a local community theatre company based in Grahamstown will showcase Speed Hunters which delves into the adventures of Mantis and Tsogo as they travel to the Northern Cape to find the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC). The Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST) will explore the shared origins of all life forms and humankind in All from One.
Scifest Africa is sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology. Lookout for the electronic programme available at www.scifest.org.za and www.tickethut.co.za. Bookings are open on 0860 002 004 or www.tickethut.co.za.
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