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S'pore Science Festival showcases the science of play

Featured performer Rhys Thomas aims to interest children in science through tricks and toys that demonstrate scientific concepts. 

SINGAPORE: Lighthearted play can spark a serious interest in science, performer Rhys Thomas believes. His Science Circus act is part of this year's Singapore Science Festival, and features tricks and toys that showcase scientific concepts in a fun way. The aim: To teach the young how cool science can be.   

The most important thing he wants children to take away from his performance is the importance of play. "I would say play and try to understand your play," said Mr Thomas. "First you play and then you stop and you go, why was it when I  jumped off the higher thing, it was harder to land? Now you are thinking about gravity, whether you know it or not, thinking about acceleration. So I would say play. And look for the science in your play."

Mr Thomas believes that using circus tricks to demonstrate scientific principles makes the concepts less abstract. "You can read about or look at a drawing of something, but when you see something in action, you understand it more in your body and not just in your brain. It is a full understanding," he said.

That full understanding comes in handy when he is preparing new tricks for his act. "Often when I learn a new trick, I feel like that trick is a good example of something. For instance, I was trying to spin one ball on top of another ball and it wasn't working very well, and I realised it was a friction problem. I need to use friction to move the spin from one ball to another ball."

The Singapore Science Festival runs at the Singapore Science Centre till August 3. 

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