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Big top adventure

Whatever else you do, make sure that you don't miss out on the chance to see the touring troupe that's making science fun, says Sophie Duncan

Roll up, roll up and join the hundreds of people who have already experienced the Science Circus. Created by NoFit State Circus for Science Year, it is touring the country visiting a wide variety of festivals.

Combining the excitement and glamour of the big top with the intrigue and creativity of science, the two-hour show invites participants to interact with lots of ideas and stunts.

You can climb over a huge arch bridge, where each piece supports the others, or join the performers for a tea party - with a few surprises linked to water pressure! Marvel at the unicyclist as he makes his way across the high wire, with a little help from his friends, who lower his centre of gravity increasing his ability to balance. There is also a number of hands-on exhibits, from plasma globes to air cannons, and the show really encourages students to explore.

The handy programme gives details of the science behind all the stunts and provides other activities for people to try at home. One simple but effective activity relates to balance. Stand two people back to back. Both should then try to touch their toes, which usually results in them falling over. This is because when we bend down, we need to alter the distribution of our weight to ensure our centre of gravity remains over our feet, but this can't be done properly when standing back to back with someone.

Sophie Duncan is a physicist and programme manager with Science Year The Science Circus is still on tour. To find out if it is near you look on the Science Year website: www.scienceyear.com

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