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Science Show Entertains
The Riverbank Library was packed on Wednesday, June 4 for the free Xtreme Science event with children of all ages that filled the room laughter and excitement. - photo by VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

The Xtreme Science Magic show hit the Riverbank Library on Wednesday, June 4 at 3:30 p.m. free to all youth and families that wanted to attend.

This show was presented by Don O’Brien whom has been doing children shows for over 30 years. The event consists of science, magic, and audience participation. O’Brien stated that he was from San Francisco and was inspired by his third grade science teacher.

According to O’Brien’s website, he has directed school bands and choirs, was a school counselor, a teacher for 20 years and is a music ethnologist.

O’Brien explained that the beginning of the show would consist of dark experiments and that he is not a magician, he is a scientist. He added that he has been doing the science show for a very long time because he likes to get the youth excited about science and to let them know science is fun.

The youngsters were all laughing and filled the room with excitement as they anticipated the start of the show. The packed room had colorful laser lights all around it and special music playing in the background.

In an exercise, O’Brien created a fire tornado that burned in a bowl and caught all the youngsters’ attention. Another dark experiment consisted of O’Brien explaining to the kids what an optical illusion is with a few devices with colored lights. He had a thunder tube, lightning machine, and a plasma globe to explain that light is electricity.  In one of his experiments, O’Brien had the plasma globe on and placed a fluorescent light bulb next to it to show that the bulb would light up due to the electromagnetic force field.

Several guests in the crowd energetically volunteered to be O’Brien’s assistant in a variety of experiments. One volunteer got to shake a baby bottle filled with a soda to show how the carbonation creates pressure and wants to be released.

The show also included an experiment to show how heat rises with a toaster, a bucket and a plastic bag. The bag had a face on it drawn by O’Brien’s son and gave it the name of Casper.  All the guests cheered as Casper floated to the top of the library.

Three youngsters were assistants to O’Brien to demonstrate bouncing a bubble on the back of their hand after putting on a glove and using bubble formula that O’Brien created in his laboratory.

There was an experiment to test air pressure by using a hair dryer to lift a ping pong ball and then a leaf blower to lift a beach ball.  The two girls that volunteered for that experiment were blown away. This experiment led O’Brien to show the crowd how the rockets are propelled by air pressure.

From the smiles, the laughter, and the applause O’Brien and his Xtreme Science Magic show were a hit at the library. Kids kept shouting out, “do it again,” and “I want one of those.”