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“Harris checks things out with his magnifying glass.” Courtesy photo.




The Amazing Nano Brothers

When: Sunday, Jan. 25, at 1 p.m.
Where: Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord
Tickets: $20, $16.25 each for a group of 4+
See: ccanh.com, 225-1111




Nanometers of fun
Comedy duo combines juggling with nanoscience

01/22/15
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



What do microscopes, unicycles and juggling pins all have in common? They’re all made of atoms, and they’re all part of The Amazing Nano Brothers nanoscience performance coming to the Capitol Center for the Arts on Sunday, Jan. 25. 

The Amazing Nano Brothers delve into the wicked small, offering an entertaining and educational look into the world of nanoscience. The family-friendly comedy duo is made up of Joel Harris (the self-described “better half”) and Dan Foley (the “good-looking one”) who started performing together in the late 1980s as juggling comedians. Known as the Airborne Comedians, Harris and Foley were filming a DVD when they met Carol Lynn Alpert from the Museum of Science in Boston.
“She saw the show and had the idea that this would be a great way to teach nanoscience,” Harris said in a phone interview. 
Though neither Nano Brother is a scientist, they’ve both always been interested in the subject. 
“We were newbies [with nanotechnology] but have a very strong interest in science,” Harris said. The Amazing Nano Brothers premiered at the Museum of Science in Boston in 2008. 
“It was pretty carefully put together,” said Foley in a phone interview. “Joel and I came to it with a lot of experience performing as jugglers, comedians, and I’d done some entertainment things in the past. Between the research that we had done and the incredible [effort] that Carol Lynn Alpert had put together, we started coming up with these metaphors through juggling to explain nanotechnology.”
In 2010 the duo began taking their show on the road to share the fun and facts of nanotechnology with a wider audience. They now regularly travel to school systems and performance venues throughout New England. 
“[It’s a] lot of very fun juggling and comedy, including everything from bird baths to houseplants flying in the air and riding 7-foot-high unicycles while explaining the world of nanotechnology,” Foley said.
The show in Concord will feature juggling acts that create a model of an atom, an explanation of how scientific models work and a segment highlighting Don Eigler, a physicist and pioneer in nanotechnology.
“There is a certain sort of mystique around nanotechnology,” Harris said. “It is very important, because it has a big part in the … electronic devices we use like cellphones, video games — it’s being used in a lot of things we use today. It’s very much a growing field and [we] want to inspire kids to learn more about it.” 
 
As seen in the January 22, 2015 issue of the Hippo.
 
 





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