“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny…’” – Isaac Asimov
The Man in the Lab Coat is a stage persona of Ben McKenzie, a cipher allowing pure unadulterated enthusiasm for science to be beamed directly into the faces of his audience. His goal is straightforward: to get people interested in and excited about science by making it funny. It’s an experiment in exposing a comedy audience to real scientific ideas.
The name comes from Ben’s first science show, Listen to the Man in the Lab Coat, where it evoked that work’s central theme: a person in a lab coat is not necessarily a scientist. Ben is very up-front about having no scientific qualifications beyond enthusiasm. His main message, however, is that you don’t need a degree to appreciate and understand scientific ideas. Anyone can understand Newtonian physics, natural selection, or even the basic ideas behind relativity, if they just take the time to try.
So far, the experiment is going well, with many successful seasons of his first three shows and more in the works, plus more and more frequent public appearances. Ben is also available to schools, conferences and anyone who thinks science and comedy could be a winning combination. He has frequently appeared at benefit gigs performing topical science comedy, and was also the resident science geek on Channel 31’s Planet Nerd.
Here at benmckenzie.com.au you can read his musings on science and follow his adventures. Feel free to get in contact with the Man with any questions you might have, and he’ll do his best to answer.