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Local scientists delve into comedy for the Brisbane Comedy Festival

A smiling woman with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing a green blouse, standing in front of a stone wall and a tree.
University of Southern Queensland Astrophysics Research Fellow Rebecca McElroy.

A group of 15 scientists in Brisbane are using comedy to connect with audiences and provide insight into Australia’s latest scientific endeavours and discoveries.

They are each speaking for 10 minutes in a debut show at the Brisbane Comedy Festival. Their topics spans from the deeply technical, such as DNA and quantum physics, to the everyday including sunscreen and fish and chips.

These scientists are from Queensland-based organisations including the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and the Queensland Museum.

They have been training for two months as part of Future Science Talks’ Science Comedy Program, which partners scientists with comedians. Together, they jazz-up scientific presentations – with each talk being 20% humour and 80% science.

Astrophysics Research Fellow at UniSQ Rebecca McElroy is giving a talk on Saturday 4 May about galactic collisions.

“I’m looking forward to connecting with audiences at the Brisbane Comedy Festival. Combining science and comedy has been fun. I hope that it will help people to learn a little, hopefully laugh a lot, and remind people why science is important,” she said.

The scientists will give their talk at the Brisbane Powerhouse on 3, 4 and 5 May. Each show features five scientists. The Friday and Saturday shows on 3 and 4 May are more adult-focused, while the Sunday 5 May show is more family-friendly.

“Our goal is to help Australians learn more about the vast scientific advancements in that is taking place right here in Australia’s cities and regional centres,” said David Crisante, the Director of Future Science Talks.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to help scientists be more courageous in connecting to public audiences. Humour can help explain complex topics and audiences love both the humour as well as the insight that they gain from coming to the talks,” he said.

The Science Comedy Program is supported by Inspiring Australia Queensland (IAQ).

“This is a unique and rare opportunity to hear from such cutting-edge researchers. It’s fantastic to learn about the science that’s taking place in Queensland in such an engaging way,” said IAQ Senior Project Manager Dr Anita Milroy.