15 February 2016

The world’s greatest science festival is coming to Brisbane, and The University of Queensland’s Science Demo Troupe is gearing up to flaunt its skills in a Street Science event.

The World Science Festival, an annual event in New York City since 2008, makes its World Science Festival Brisbane debut in March.

It is set to be a supercharged celebration of science that will transform the South Bank Cultural Precinct into a cauldron of big ideas ranging from science theatre, expert debates, hands-on science and a chance to delve into the minds of great scientific thinkers.

UQ PhD student and Demo Troupe president Samantha Hood said the troupe would showcase scientific phenomena.

“Unlike magicians, who never tell their secrets, we’re here to explain how to do tricks like levitating objects or walking on water,” she said.

“We love explaining the science behind the tricks and making it fun and accessible for everyone.”

Some of the stunts include:

  • Quantum levitation using magnets and liquid nitrogen to super-cool a piece ceramic to become a superconductor.


  • Making exploding “elephant’s toothpaste” out of household items.


  • Shrinking balloon animals by hundreds of times using liquid nitrogen.


Demo Troupe supervisor Associate Professor Karen Kheruntsyan said the Troupe was a group of volunteers interested in spreading enthusiasm for science.

“Members regularly meet to practice various science demonstrations and to come up with new, more exciting ones,” Associate Professor Kheruntsyan said.

“The team frequently visits schools across regional and metropolitan Queensland to run science activities.”

“They welcome donations to support these visits and activities that promote science to the next generation.”

As an example, the troupe has a portable cloud chamber thanks to a donation from engineering, construction and project management company Fluor.

The UQ Science Demo Troupe’s free Street Science demos will take place at 10am on Saturday 12 March and Sunday 13 March in the Cultural Forecourt, South Bank Parklands.

Visit the website for a full list of UQ’s World Science Festival Brisbane activities.

Media: Samantha Hoods.hood1@uq.edu.au, 0424 876 882; Associate Professor Karen Kheruntsyan, karen.kheruntsyan@uq.edu.au, 0404 753 449.


Article by Chris Mesiku – UQ Science Demo Troupe