April 9, 2008

Making science engaging

Here is a video that I enjoyed -- yes, for the fascinating behind-the-scenes explanation of a space toilet, but also for the speaker's excellent delivery.

The speaker is Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. He's talking to an audience at the Ontario Science Center about how human waste is handled in space.

His style is easygoing and relaxed. He explains scientific concepts in a way that a young child can understand, yet the adults in the audience are clearly enjoying the talk.

He uses tangible descriptions, helping us to visualize the tubes and funnels and the toilet being "sorta windy when you're sittin' there."

He's got great comic timing throughout; notice how he pauses in the middle of his final sentence, as the meaning of what he's saying starts to dawn on the audience and they begin to laugh before he's finished.

If only every science presentation could be so engaging!

If you can't see the video, click here to view it on YouTube.

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