A wizard, a team of tame physicists and an alpenhorn made
from a toilet bowl kept the audience captivated at the
''Different Bangs'' science show on Saturday.
The ''show and tell' event at the University of Otago's Allen
Hall Theatre attracted about 60 parents and children.
The show was one event on the first day of the New Zealand
International Science Festival.
The catalyst that provided much of the chemistry - and
sparked plenty of audience reaction at the event - was
University of Montana professor of chemistry Dr Garon Smith.
Dressed in a wizard's hat and long cape, and on a six-month
sabbatical, he became G Wiz, who could turn clear liquids
dark with a wave of the hand, and ''freeze'' liquid with a
tap of his wand.
''Was that magic?'' he asked his young audience.
''No, it's science.'' he told them.
G Wiz explained how scientists used a hypothesis to develop
theories about things they study.
Some local scientists used blowtorches, tubes and slinkies to
explain sound waves, and odd glass instruments and a toilet
bowl to make some fantastical music.
Parents spinning on a seat helped illustrate moments of
inertia, big and small.
The festival continues this week.