Science Busters: Winter Is Coming – The Science of Game of Thrones

Science Busters is a comedy edutainment concept that takes scientists, puts them on stage and lets them talk about a popculture topic from a scientific point of view. They have different programs. So far I saw “The Physics of Star Trek”, “The Pleasure Formula“ and “Crucifixion Party – The Science of Christianity“. This time I saw “Winter Is Coming – The Science of Game of Thrones“.

The program is moderated by Austrian comedian Martin Puntigam, the scientists in this case are Elisabeth Oberzaucher (behavioral biology), Martin Moder (molecular biology) and Florian Freistetter (astronomy).

Science Busters is an entertaining format that nicely connects popular culture with (natural) sciences. The topics they chose for this Game of Thrones night were a little arbitrary, but the evening was absolutely fun.

Some of the stuff they brought – like why the Wall in the North couldn’t possibly as tall as it is said to be – is not all that new but has been making the rounds in fan circles for a while. Other things – like the astronomic explanation of why nobody knows when exactly winter will start – didn’t quite convince me as applicable for the situation in Game of Thrones (I always thought that the seasons weren’t so much irregular but that they simply took much longer to change than we’re used to and so the change takes much longer as well and it’s therefore unclear whether winter will start next year or the year after that, as we don’t know whether winter starts this day or the next. But maybe I am thinking about this in way too simple terms). But it’s clear that all of them know their stuff and their explanations are definitely interesting.

The most charming thing about this series is and remains the utter love for science the people on stage show. I also loved that they found at female scientist, too – that’s been way overdue. (It would also be great if they would leave the area of natural sciences every once in a while.)

The entire thing ends with a bit of cosplay that did leave me a bit uneasy as Puntigam gets down on his knees to cosplay Tyrion. I don’t know if I’m being weird about it, but it did feel slightly offensive (would love to hear the take of a person with dwarfism about this). Other than though, it was a very entertaining evening.

Summarizing: Entertainment by and for nerds.

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