You might think you can run away from science - but science will track you down. As it did in the case of Helen Arney - songwriter, comedian and one third of the comedy-science trio Festival of the Spoken Nerd. After finishing her degree in physics, Helen left to pursue her other great passions in life, writing radio programmes about harpsichords for BBC Radio 4. But it was a chance meeting with comedian Robin Ince that brought science back into her life.
Inspired by her audience’s response to the witty and clever combination of logic, song, and comedy, Helen found not only her comedic ‘voice’ but also permission to allow science back in her to life. Whereas before she had felt a sense of guilt for leaving science behind (a common phenomenon I’ve encountered before in scientists who’ve moved into other areas), suddenly the puzzle pieces fitted.
In this interview we discuss Helen’s journey, the craft of comedy songwriting, and the most important question of all: do scientists ever write in with corrections? (Spoiler: yes, yes they do).