Meet Braintastic! Science
Who we are, what we stand for and what makes us special
Get a free taster of our most popular science show for schools, That's Non-Sense!
We inspire, engage and educate young people to help them get the best out of their amazing brains. Founded by University of Cambridge graduate and neuroscience and psychology expert Ginny Smith, Braintastic! Science provides spectacular science shows for schools, festivals and events around the world.
Since our re-launch two years ago our shows and workshops have reached over 25,000 young people (and not so young people!) - from explaining how our brains work to help boost learning, to nurturing mental wellbeing in schools. We'd love to get your students excited about science too- just get in touch to discuss how.
Meet the Braintastic! Team
Alina’s passion for science stemmed from an interest in nature, and a questioning mind. This led her to complete a degree in psychology, followed by a masters in psychological research methods at the University of Exeter, before working as a researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London. She now uses her curiosity and sense of wonder in her work with Braintastic! Science. She is passionate about mental health, and when not wowing audiences or talking about mental wellbeing in schools with us, she helps grow a mental health platform called Augmentive. She is also fascinated by the links between science and creativity, and loves working on projects involving art-science collaborations.
Alina Ivan- Presenter
Clare Jonas- Presenter
Clare is a science communicator at a medical research charity, and has her own website, That Thinking Feeling, where she uses psychology and neuroscience to answer everyday questions like "Why can't we remember being born?" and "What makes plane food taste so awful?". In a previous life, Clare was a lecturer in psychology. Having gone to all the trouble of getting a degree in psychology, a masters in neuroscience, and a PhD in psychology, and then spending several years researching human perception, she realised in 2017 that what she truly loved was turning complex academic debates into formats that everyone can understand. Science should be accessible to everyone! Clare's experience of science communication is wide-ranging and has covered everything from acting as a science consultant and audience evaluator for the artistic collective BitterSuite to demos of how our senses interact for the Belfast Science Festival.
What we're all about
Curiosity and fun
We celebrate curiosity and make learning fun!
Our content promotes curiosity, encouraging kids to ask questions, and highlighting the importance of learning and thinking scientifically. And most importantly, our interactive stage shows are great fun!
Knowledge is power
By understanding your amazing brain you can get the best out of it.
We help teachers and students understand the science of their amazing brains, and use it to get the best out of them and boost learning outcomes. From understanding the why of those often repeated revision tips, to recognising how to protect their mental wellbeing and support others’.
We translate trusted scientific research into fun, narrative driven science shows and activities. We also give teachers confidence to apply valid psychology and neuroscience research in their lessons – for example sharing science based tips, tricks and resources to use in the classroom or share with their students.
Our approach is grounded in psychology and neuroscience research, sorting the hype from the hypotheses.
We believe that learning doesn’t only belong in the classroom. So we take our science shows to festivals, events and communities all over the UK, and overseas. We want to show kids (and grown ups!) that learning can be enjoyable, and something that we should continue throughout our lives.
Science is part of life and skills like critical thinking and creativity are important for all.
We believe that science is an important part of everyday life, and should be available to everyone, whatever their gender, race or socioeconomic background. Because of this, we place accessibility at the heart of what we do. All our shows can be adapted for different levels of ability, and we are very happy to work with teachers in advance to adjust the content for their particular students.
Science is for everyone. We aim to produce accessible, inclusive content that everyone can access.
Anyone can become a scientist, and we aim to highlight researchers from different backgrounds to help show young people that the media trope of the ‘lone genius’ is far from the truth. So you won’t hear us talking about “mad scientists” or perpetuating the wild-hair-and-labcoat stereotype. Instead you’ll hear real stories about how real science is done.
Scientists are real people like you and me. They are hard-working and persistent, but not all geniuses. You can be one too!
All our presenters are brain experts, with at least one degree in neuroscience or psychology, as well as being fantastic communicators and storytellers. And they love answering kids questions about the brain, however tricky they may be! They’re also excellent role models for young people who might be interested in a career in psychology or neuroscience. And as it happens, they are mostly women in STEM too!
Susie Rae- Presenter
Susie spent a lot of their early life being told that they were bad at science (because they didn’t pay attention in maths class) and that they should stick to telling stories instead. They did just that, getting a masters in english literature from the University of Glasgow and writing dozens of children’s books about everything from dinosaurs to engineering to sharks. Somewhere along the line, they realised that what they really loved to do was tell stories about science – and that they were actually really good at it! After a whole childhood of being told that science wasn’t for them, they’re passionate about showing kids just like them that science isn’t as hard and boring as they’ve been told. They have a masters in psychology, and when not presenting for Braintastic! Science, teach psychology at London South Bank University, write and edit children’s books, present and edit podcasts, and do mental health research with teenagers and transgender people. They don’t sleep much.
Mike Richardson- Presenter
Mike is a cognitive psychologist and currently works at the University of Bath researching audience experiences of immersive performance and sensory technology for people with blindness. He’s had a bit of meandering academic journey. When he left school he lived in a van and taught kayaking for a living. Then, by accident, started a degree sport and exercise science, leading to a masters in cognitive neuroscience, before settling into a PhD in psychology. He has presented at the national Three Minute Thesis competition and has taken part in Science Showoff, FameLab, and Pint of Science. He currently produces content for the psychology communication platform SENSE(LESS) Psychology, regularly creating videos, writing blogs, and interviewing researchers from the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. When Mike isn’t doing, writing, or talking about science (which is almost never!) occasionally turns his hand to fixing old cars and the odd bit of adventure photography. Sometimes, he still lives in a van and teaches kayaking.
Ginny Smith- Founder
Ginny’s science story started early, inspired by school trips to science museums and kitchen-table experiments at home. Studying at the University of Cambridge opened her eyes to the amazing complexity of the human brain, and she soon discovered that she had a talent for making the complex comprehensible, which took her down a path towards becoming a science writer and presenter.
Always happiest on stage, Ginny has spent over 10 years presenting at the UK's biggest science festivals and international venues like Frost Science, Miami and the Rand Show, Johannesburg. She loves performing and engaging young people with neuroscience, but her favourite part of any school science show is Q&A - tackling kids' unanswered science questions. She believes that encouraging children to question fosters their curiosity and a lifelong love of science. This led her to found Braintastic! Science, to help her bring the surprising science of our amazing brains to audiences around the world.
Ginny also shares her passion for neuroscience with grown-ups. Her book, ‘Overloaded’, about brain chemistry was a New Scientist Book of the Year 2021. She also co-wrote the bestselling 'How the Brain Works' for DK publishing and is a regular blogger and video presenter for the Cosmic Shambles Network. She is a science storyteller at heart and loves helping scientists and organisations grab their audience's attention and keep it, as a science communication trainer and consultant. For more on Ginny’s other work, please visit ginnysmithscience.com