Guest Post: Review of That Physics Show

sttp physics

Guest writer Liat Ginsberg is a mother and former journalist for the Israeli newspaper, Maariv. She has taught at the Film and Media Department at Hunter College.

If you hated physics in your childhood and were struggling to stay awake in class, and you think your kids are showing the same genetic traces, here is an opportunity to fix that and learn about it. Or if you already love physics, then That Physics Show is definitely a show for you and your family.

That Physics Show is based on the hundreds of physics experiments in classrooms across the country. Andrew Yolleck, the show’s demonstrator and his three assistants (Jordan Bunshaft, Kelsey Lane Dies, Jack Herholdt), take you into a captivating journey of the coolest physics tricks, and show you…and your kids… that Physics can be fun.

As soon as the show started, we realized that we were not in an ordinary Broadway show. It immediately finds a physics deterrent to threaten the audience to turn off their cell phone during the show: by dipping their smartphones in liquid nitrogen! All Broadway shows should do this – it would make the actors very happy.

The audience is constantly encouraged to be curious and not to fear experimentation. Kids playing with their parents wine glasses in a fancy restaurant is not a disturbance, it’s actually a physics experiment which results in music.

That Physics Show Photo

Later on, Mr. Yolleck places a banana in liquid nitrogen. The temperature of liquid nitrogen is 300 degrees below zero, and within a second the banana breaks into pieces that looks like a broken glass.

Most of the show is dedicated to demonstrating Newton’s laws.  Mr. Yolleck, who is a physics teacher at Technology High School in Newark, NJ, explained some of Newton’s laws, but not in full detail, and I’m glad he did not. This show is about teaching kids and adults to love physics, to experiment, to be curious about physics. If you want more details about Newton’s laws do it at home or school. After all, this is only a 90 minute show.

For my seven year old twins, the most fascinating moments in That Physics Show was when sound waves came out of a fire. We can’t see sound waves, but using a device called a flame tube accompanied by Frank Sinatra “New York, New York,” he translates the sound into a fire movements and it’s magical.

My kids were also fascinated when he created a vacuum in a long cylinder containing a Ping-Pong ball, which then lets air back into the tube. The very small, light and innocent looking Ping-Pong ball became a 700-mile-per-hour ammunition, destroying three empty soda cans to an unrecognizable shape. They also loved the finale of the show, when Yolleck, laid on a board with 350 nails, with another board with nails on top of him, with an older child from the audience standing on top of him, with no sign of pain.

That Physics Show plays at Elektra Theater, on 300 West 43rd Street, in an open-ended engagement. The running time is 90 minutes with no intermission. Performances are Fridays at 7pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 7pm; Sundays at 12pm and 3pm; and select weekday performances. Tickets are $39-$49 and are available at ThatPhysicsShow.com.)

Disclosure: Liat was provided with complimentary tickets to facilitate this review, but all opinions are her own.

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