Whaddya get when you cross a scientist with a comedian? Someone who makes bar charts and line graphs to analyze her own “comedy data,” including length of laugh and time for jokes to land. And it’s funny!
Kasha Patel, NASA science writer by day and stand-up comedian by night, will join us for our November Science on Tap. Patel brings a fresh take to science communication by getting crowds to laugh while “sneaking in some science.”
Patel will do a special Science on Tap performance at 5:30 p.m. November 19 and follow it with a conversation about the role of comedy in communicating science.
With a background in chemistry and science journalism, Patel bills herself as “filling the unknown demand for Indian female comics from West Virginia.” She is a communicator with the NASA Earth Observatory. Listed by Thrillist Magazine as one of the “Best Undiscovered Comedians in the U.S.,” Patel’s passions have led her to found D.C. Science Comedy, where she hosts a show; perform stand-up comedy all over the country; host a NASA TV series called Earth Expeditions; and present a TEDx Talk. She has also been featured in The Washington Post and on BBC World News.
In her TEDx Talk, Patel shared a data set of 500 jokes for which she measured how long it took for the punchlines to land before the audience laughed. The findings were that her science jokes had a higher success rate than her non-science jokes, a result she attributes to people’s desire to hear truth and earnestness behind comedy.
The Science on Tap community celebrates science and explores new discoveries through its monthly talks, discussions, and performances. It is sponsored by the Center for Communicating Science at Virginia Tech and the Virginia Tech chapter of Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society.
Please register here to attend Science on Tap at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, November 19. This is an online event and registration is required.
By Catherine Watling, Center for Communicating Science student intern