Running from now through September, the Lawrence Hall of Science will be featuring a science-meets-skateboarding exhibit titled Tony Hawk Rad Science (really now, who actually uses the word “rad”?). The Clog took a trip up the hill to roam the landscape, stand on a few skateboards and meet the man behind the legend, Tony Hawk himself.
Let’s start with the exhibit itself:
The designers behind the exhibit seemed to think that as long as a skateboard was attached to a wall and equations were scribbled next to it, all was well. The Clog was extremely confused why some displays were relevant to the physics of skateboarding. Below for example, was a scale that showed one’s weight on various planets of the Milky Way Galaxy. What this had to do with anything else in the museum, we’re not sure. But it had a skateboard attached to it, which makes it all ok.
Inside a massive enclosure stood many more interactive features, great for kids and embarrassing for anyone over the age of eleven. They asked visitors to jump on trampolines, slide down slides, and balance on boards. Again, we’re not sure how exactly we’re being educated about the physics of skateboarding here, especially when we’re derping around with fingerboards or playing with the Tony Hawk video game, but hey, if the kids are having a good time, the parents won’t complain.
There’s not much else to say about the exhibit itself, besides the fact that there are plenty of boards to look at if you like that sort of thing, and not too much physics. Then again, who actually goes to museums to learn? We know, we sound a little harsh when it comes to this review, but one thing we will say is that if you have kids, they’ll have an absolute blast. Who knows, they might be inspired to be scientists or skateboarders … most probably the latter though.
We’ll also add that the museum cafeteria has a great bargain kid’s meal: five bucks for an entree (burger, pizza, grilled cheese, etc.), fruit, cookie and drink. We were over-ecstatic about the aforementioned kid’s meal, because where else in Berkeley are you gonna get all that for only five dollars?
Now concerning the man himself — Tony Hawk is literally one of the chillest and most laid back celebrities we’ve ever met (because the Clog gets to meet celebrities ALL the time). When asked if he actually thinks about physics when skateboarding, he said that he doesn’t “think about what’s possible or impossible … or it’ll deter you from trying things.” Ah, what a Disney-esque “push the limits of the impossible” answer.
We would also like to venture that Tony Hawk is probably a wonderful father — his interactions with visiting kids was absolutely adorable, and the highlight of our day. He asked them about their interest in science, to which Malia, age 9, answered completely off-topic that she didn’t like science because in her class she had to “touch a crab and it pinched me.”
We were a little thrown off by how cute the kids were. Tony though, just took it in stride and said that they had thought about creating a crab exhibit, but scrapped the idea. Now that, we would have liked to see.
Then came the actual skateboard demo, where Tony and crew performed crazy vert-ramp tricks and UC Berkeley physics professor Joel Fajans attempted to provide physics commentary. We say “attempted” because oftentimes he, much like the crowd, was so awestruck by the tricks that he would fall silent. The commentator, whose name we were unable to ascertain but whom we will refer to as Some Tool, also attempted to throw science terms around. But unlike Professor Fajans, Some Tool had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.
Our favorite quote from Some Tool was, “Well you know, force equals mass times acceleration, and [skateboarder whose name we didn't catch] has been accelerating for the past 25 years.” He also kept shouting throughout the demo, “Wow! Look at that science! Look at that physics that these guys are using!” Good try. We’re sure most of the crowd didn’t really notice though because Hawk and crew were just mind-blowing.
The demo culminated in a three-man stack-up, where Tony and two others skated down the vert-ramp at the same time — Lincoln Ueda leaped over Tony, who leaped over Neal Hendrix. No other words to describe it besides … rad.
Image source: Lynn Yu (all), Daily Cal
Tags:Lawrence Hall of Science, skateboarding, Tony Hawk
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