Amusing Science Show Great for Families

Amusing Science Show Great for Families

I recently attended a performance of “That Physics Show” and, I have to tell you, I was just as excited as the pre-teen sitting next to me when David Maiullo set balloons filled with hydrogen on fire.

In 90 minutes, Maiullo—a 20+-year physics demonstrator at Rutgers University and a familiar face from The Weather Channel—compacts a semester’s-worth of Physics 101 into an entertaining and highly informational presentation. With the help of two assistants, Maiullo teaches the audience about different kinds of energy, sound waves and vibration, light waves, temperature, motion, momentum and more. Instead of being just a lecture, there are practical experiments to help explain what exactly is going on and the science behind them.

David Maiullo (©Donnell Culver)

Despite being voted “Future Scientist” in middle school, I never ended up taking any physics courses. I still knew a lot of the terms used in the demonstrations—as physics is inclusive of all other sciences and I took AP Chemistry and Biology in high school, thankyouverymuch—and it was fun to see real-world examples of chaotic motion (via a double pendulum) and how (spoiler alert) a can of regular soda will sink when placed in water, while a can of diet soda will not. (The reason? High fructose corn syrup is denser than water.)

“That Physics Show” is definitely aimed toward a younger audience who will surely get a kick out of seeing a liquid nitrogen-soaked hot dog shatter into tiny pieces, watching a ping pong ball shoot 700 mph and destroy some empty soda cans and watching pickles light up. I got a kick out of watching the kids in the audience get excited because of science.

What I liked most about this family-friendly presentation was that Maiullo never speaks down to the audience. He uses the proper scientific terms and then explains what they are so that everyone in the room—regardless of age or level of prior knowledge of physics—could understand and relate them to every day activities or happenings.

This is an audience-participation show—as in, the audience is expected to respond to Maiullo’s questions and there are a few volunteers needed at times—so it was amusing to listen to the younger crowd try and reason amongst themselves what the result of the experiments should be. It became apparent over the show that guessing an outcome based off of prior knowledge or another person’s testing is one thing, but scientists should conduct experiments themselves for firsthand data. Ergo, enjoyment was the result of me seeing “That Physics Show”… what’s your conclusion going to be? 

Find out for yourself at the Elektra Theatre on West 43rd St.!

"That Physics Show" (©Donnell Culver)

Drama Desk Award-winner for Unique Theatrical Experience (2016), “That Physics Show” is fun and appropriate for all ages. (If it were a movie, it would be rated PG.) It is worth noting that there are some very loud noises during the presentation. The audience is always warned ahead of time when a balloon is going to pop or something is about to get smashed, so it’s never a surprise, but that still could be jarring for some little ones.

Tickets are available here.


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