On Monday 1 September Dr Peter Winn presented synthetic biology as part of a stand-up comedy set at the second Birmingham Bright Club. The Bright club format started at University College London in May 2009 and has now spread to a number of UK cities, combines a professional comedian with stand-up sets by academics and thus provides a vehicle for laughter and learning about interesting stuff.
In a 9 minute stand-up set Dr Winn discussed protein structure and the reengineering of the protein machinery involved in antibiotic synthesis for the purpose of producing novel chemicals, notably new antibiotics (i.e. this project here on the BBSRC website). The set was well received by the audience of approximately 110 members of the general public, Dr Winn declaring that it was more than a laugh a minute (1.2 laughs per minute to be precise) whilst communicating the basics of an important but complicated subject. The evening of two halves was compered and opened by a professional comedian, in the persona of Barbara Nice, who warmed the audience into a great mood. Each half saw three academics following Barbara with their own stand-up comedy, and was rounded off by music and humour from David Fisher, a professional musician and an alumnus of Birmingham University.
A great evening was had by all. Further details about the event can be found here: www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/event/bright-club/
The next Birmingham Bright Club is expected to be in March of 2015, although an exact date has not yet been confirmed.