Michael enjoys using a range of different event styles to show people that there’s more to modern physics than Schrödinger’s cat, and that there’s more to physicists than messy hair and a glazed-over look. As founder and head of The Variables he runs and MCs science comedy nights in and around Cambridge, as well as keeping up his comedy skills by performing in open-mic nights, as well as comedy nights such as “Books Showoff” in London. He’s also developed a physics-themed escape room which received excellent feedback when it was run as part of the Cambridge Science Festival, and plans to take this to more science festivals around the country.
Michael has presented science talks or performed science comedy in a range of venues: in pubs with Bright Club Cambridge, Science Showoff and SciBar Oxford, at the Cambridge Science Centre and Science Oxford, in a field at the EMF Camp Festival, and on stage in the Bloomsbury Theatre as part of Robin Ince’s Christmas Ghosts. He’s also talked about science on the Naked Scientists Radio Show and the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Breakfast show, and on Cam FM, hosted his own YouTube ScienceShow, Sci Cam, compered an evening about Earth Science for Pint of Science Cambridge, and talked about the physics of the navigation of birds at Animal Showoff in the Grant Museum.
Michael is a regular at the Cambridge Science Festival, having hosted “Sci Cam Live” for several years, as well as performing his one-hour solo science comedy show, “How it the Universe Like a Lightbulb?” Along with Helen Arney he encouraged an audience to link songs to science demos in Sciencelele Singalong, and in 2013 Michael took part in the Festival’s Demo Derby. In the past he has also helped with Cambridge Hands-On Science’s (CHaOS) hands-on event “Crash, Bang, Squelch!”
As well as performing science comedy, Michael has performed and directed improvised comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe and around the UK with the Cambridge Impronauts. On the student radio station Cam FM he hosted a news-based comedy program, Burst the Bubble, as well as hosting the Cam FM Breakfast show.
For the Science Showoff Talent Factory launch show, he complained about how he was fed up with Schrödinger’s cat:
While not trying to explain that quantum physics is about more than things seeming to be in multiple places at once, or setting A-level students challenging physics problems, he can often be found walking up hills, leading Scouts, or dancing in ceilidhs. He has yet to manage all three simultaneously.
You can watch Michael perform at:
- 22nd March 2018 – “The Variables Present: An Evening of Science Variety” – The Portland Arms, Cambridge.
Michael can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mikeconterio . He sometimes blogs about his creative pursuits at http://www.contrarythoughts.com/, and more details about his science communication experience can be found at http://www.contrarythoughts.com/science-communication/ .