Jeff Boyer, who is presenting science shows three times a day this week at the Arthur R. Maytum Family Theater at the fair, thinks science should be fun.
Matt Campese, the first helper Boyer picked out of the audience, told Boyer he did not like science.
Boyer told Matt, "We're going to do something fun and you're going to like it." Matt helped Boyer demonstrate the Bernoulli effect. Matt tossed a beachball over a leaf blower. Boyer explained, "Air is invisible. Moving air has more pressure than still air." That was why the beachball seemed to magically hover high in the air.
OBSERVER Photo by Diane Chodan
Above: Jeff Boyer creates large bubbles and explains the science of them at his science show at the fair.
Left: Matt Campese helps Jeff Boyer demonstrate the Bernoulli Effect.
By shifting where the air flowed, Boyer caused the ball to move to the side.
Boyer gave a demonstration with bubbles. He said, "Bubbles are cool, beautiful, magical and there is a lot of science to them."
While creating large bubbles he explained, "A bubble is really a pocket of air, a gas, surrounded by a wall of water. ... They contain the colors of the rainbow. Every place you see red is one thickness. Every place there is another thickness you see yellow."
Two members of the audience, got a chance to play with bubbles. Boyer told them to dampen their hands with bubble solution and then blow bubbles into their hands. By practicing the two were able to make the bubbles dance in their hands. Boyer then switched to a type of bubble that looked like a white balloon from a distance. They were called fog bubbles or volcano bubbles. When broken these bubbles seemed to dissipate to a wisp of smoke. These were created by heating the bubble mixture.
Another demonstration featured Boyer resembling an earthbound rocketman. Boyer put on in-line skates, a helmet and used an altered fire extinguisher that helped him speed across the stage to demonstrate momentum which he defined as what keeps moving things moving. He cautioned the kids not to try this at home. He used adult audience members to make sure he stopped before running into a post.
By using gas that looked like smoke, Boyer created something called a toroidal vortex that the audience could see. These looked like rings of smoke. He explained that these happen when air is forced through a narrow hole. After the show he said that there are videos of this on YouTube.
He used an airzooka that "shot" out a ball of wind to further demonstrate air and pressure. He used this on both the adults and children in the audience. For his grand finale, he invited all the youngsters to come forward and moved toilet paper with air to show momentum. They laughed as they caught the paper. The stage began to look like a Halloween prank. When the show was over, the kids quickly and willingly cleaned up the mess. Some stopped to talk to Boyer or ask questions.
After the show Boyer explained his background.
He said, "I am a student of science. In college I majored in theater. I was with the Boston Shakespeare Theater."
After a pause he added, "I got tired of washing dishes."
He explained that his first show was written for him, but he realized he did understand the science and has since written his own material.
"It is easier to get work performing for children," he said.
He seemed to enjoy his job. During the show he explained that his in-line skate performance helped him win a wife. She saw a video of his performance and decided she would at least go out to dinner with him.
While he played with bubbles, he marveled, "I get paid for this."
There are 12 more shows of "Fun with Energy, Bubble Trouble, and more great science" left. Boyer tries to gear the show to the audience present and the conditions, such as wind which can cause problems with bubbles.
Today's show times are 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Sunday shows are at 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
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