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Dining in the dark and US Science Rapper announced

For Immediate Release - Tuesday 27 April 2010

‘Dining in the dark’ and US Science Rapper announced

2010 New Zealand International Science Festival

The countdown has begun to the seventh New Zealand International Science Festival, themed Everyday Science: Food for Thought, from 6-11 July, 2010 in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Imagine sitting down to a delicious dinner but not being able to see it? Could you make rap music about science? Two extraordinary events are planned to showcase science in an innovative way – a ‘dining in the dark experience’ and a ‘science idol’ competition.

Key points

The ‘dining in the dark experience’ will take place on Friday 9 July, with New Zealand chef and author Julie Biuso and Julie Woods, otherwise known as ‘that blind woman’. Dishes will be prepared with fresh local produce by the guest chefs and the team at Otago Polytechnic Technique Restaurant. Embarking on an intimate evening of fine dining whilst blindfolded, guests will be encouraged to explore the world of sensory perception. A donation will be made to Retina NZ for research into the long term follow up of photo screening for eye disease in children.

An award-winning Stanford (USA) science rapper and biologist, Tom McFadden communicates scientific concepts to children and senior students through rap music. Courtesy of the Otago Institute and Genetics Otago, Tom will be visiting Otago schools working with students to turn science into rap. The festival will culminate with a rap competition to find New Zealand’s first ever ‘science idol’.

Other visitors confirmed to date include Tim Jarvis AM, a British environmental scientist; and Mr Andrew Greensmith, a University of Otago graduate and specialist plastic surgeon at the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne.

The festival promises an exciting programme with over 200 dynamic interactive events planned, alongside talks, debates, theatre and children’s workshops. Ticket sales, VIPs, and additional speakers are yet to be announced. Visit for more information.


Tom McFadden, Science Rapper and Stanford (USA) Biologist Regulatin’ Genes

“This trip to Dunedin will provide some great venues for me to demonstrate and share my contagious passion for biology, rap, and making science fun, as part of the festival. I think young Kiwis possess the right combination of a sense of humour and scientific curiosity to embrace the world of science rapping!”

Julie Biuso, New Zealand Chef and Author

“Sight traditionally plays a big part in our dining experience. We’ll be able to explore if our other senses are enhanced and how people adapt in this situation. Guests will be able to experience the tactile feel of breaking crusty bread or the sound of fresh food being crunched, without seeing what is on their plates. The challenge is fantastic, and I’m looking forward to working with Julie Woods, as it’s an opportunity that doesn’t come up very often.”

Sue Clarke, New Zealand International Festival Director

We have a whole host of experiences planned for the festival this year and our aim is to give the public quite literally a taste of science, with a focus on aspects from our everyday lives. This is the first time New Zealand has ever had a ‘science rapper’ in residence, let alone a ‘science idol’ competition! Combining fine food, wine and blindfolds, the ‘dining in the dark experience’ promises to be an entertaining evening of discovery in every possible sense.”


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