Mashed spuds were
the order of the day in Dunedin last night. Stunt scientist
Tom Pringle, aka Dr Bunhead, claimed a Guinness World Record,
by using a potato bazooka to fire a crop of nine potatoes
through a tennis racquet in three minutes.
''It's the most amazing feeling. But, it was also incredibly
nerve-racking,'' he admitted after breaking the record with
just a second to spare.
The explosive experiment at Mitre 10 Mega was part of the
2014 New Zealand International Science Festival.
Spectators were pre-warned to bring ''ear-defenders, safety
goggles and extra-strong underpants'' to the demonstration.
''They're exciting experiments and big, dangerous
experiments. They're the sort of experiments you don't get to
do at home,'' Dr Pringle said.
The attempt was one potato better than his 2004 world record
of shooting eight spuds in three minutes.
''Part of the test is firing the potatoes through a tennis
racquet, to quantify the velocity,'' he said.
''A good musketeer could fire three shots a minute, which
included loading, firing and cleaning the gun.''
The potatoes reached speeds of up to 320kmh in the
demonstration, which has still to be ratified by Guinness
Two justices of the peace, two stopwatch timers and two video
cameras were required to verify the feat.
The Plymouth-born educator has an international reputation
for his dramatic science shows and tours the world startling
and fascinating children and adults.
''Science can be dull, or it can be fascinating. It's about
the delivery and talking about stuff people are interested
in,'' he said.
''It's all about getting the `wow' moment. Because when you
get the `wow' you get the `why?'.''