LIKE MAGIC: Ruben Meerman, uses a green laser beam to pop a red balloon that's on the inside of the green balloon.
LIKE MAGIC: Ruben Meerman, uses a green laser beam to pop a red balloon that's on the inside of the green balloon. Contributed

Scientist rides success wave

THE Surfing Scientist Ruben Meerman will ride a wave of emotion as he brings his science experiments to Gladstone's Entertainment and Convention Centre.

The Central Queensland product will be visiting Gladstone later this month as part of the Glad-STEM and Innovation Expo, to help promote science to kids.

Run by Central Queensland University and Gladstone Regional Council, Ruben's visit coincides with the Youth Week program.

He said these types of events help to knock down stereotypes and show children that a career in science is cool.

"When I first started in this business, scientists were more stereotyped as the nerdy, dexter kind of person," he said.

"These days everyone's realised while some kids were kicking balls through a pair of sticks in the ground, other kids were off learning how to invent the internet.

"Kids think scientists are awesome and they absolutely love learning science, seeing a science demo and doing their own experiments at home."

Born in the Netherlands but growingup in Bundaberg, Ruben studied physics through Queensland University of Technology.

Since then he has presented science experiments and stories on ABC television programs such as Catalyst, Roller Coaster and Studio 3.

One of his biggest highlights, however, was becoming the first resident scientist on Play School.

"I'd been doing stuff on ABC Kids TV, so I just happened to be on their radar as a person they could ask when they were keen to do a science theme," he said.

"I was out working from a kindergarten with real kids.

"I didn't get to meet Jemima or have Big Ted passing me a test tube but it was still a massive privilege working on that show." He says coming back to Central Queensland to share his life's work will be very special.

"It's super rewarding to come and speak to kids who are just starting to figure out what they want to do with their lives," Ruben said.

"To come come and show them a laser beam popping a balloon inside another balloon, makes them say wow.

"It shows them that if you want to learn how to make these things and improve them for the next generation, get into science."

The Glad-STEM and Innovation Expo will be at the convention centre on April 21, from 10am-2pm.



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