Dan Plane

ExpeRimental Video Series Consultant, Science in Schools Presenter

  • Credit: Katherine Leedale

Role

Dan develops and produces activities and their accompanying videos, for our ExpeRimental series.

When he’s not in the office he can be found in schools across the UK presenting the Ri’s explosive science shows, and running teacher training sessions.

About

Dan arrived in the country, penniless and unable to speak English, via the maternity ward of Whipps Cross hospital, Walthamstow, and has been London based ever since. After repeatedly falling in and out of love with science across his education, Dan realised the importance of inspiring and engaging science education for young people. So, after gaining experience working in primary schools, particularly with children with additional learning needs, he cut his science communication teeth at the Science Museum in London.

Now, fulfilling multiple roles at the Ri, he hopes to inspire school children to follow science paths, families to try science demos at home, and teachers to engage their pupils with exciting demos and investigations.

Scientific inspiration

I’ll admit it’s dangerously sentimental, but my year 8 and 9 science Teacher, Mr Feeney. What he lacked in control of our class, he made up for with a clear passion for science and a sense that we were discovering the science together. I fondly recall making cheese on toast over Bunsen burners, a piece of particularly lively potassium, and finding out just how high that power supply would go.

Favourite demo

While it’s always great to get a cheer with a big bang, I’ve always been a fan of the ‘Oooh’ as something gently surprising happens in front of the audience’s eyes. As such, I am currently enjoying showing off a superconductor levitating a magnet. The kit I get to use is tiny and requires an up close audience. It’s intimate and personal and I get to share closely in my audience’s discovery of something surprising, fascinating, and just a little bit magical, by which I of course mean deeply scientific. And if you want to see it done really well, check out the Ri version.

Best thing about the Ri

I’m torn between two things. First, as a science communicator, just getting to stand, let alone perform, in the lecture theatre that pretty much started the idea of communicating science to the public is a very special thing, it’s hallowed ground for me. The second is pretty straightforward, but I feel so lucky to be a part of a team of people where everyone has the same clear aim, to engage the public with science.