Georgetown resident Daniel G. Benes performs science shows as Thomas Edison persona
Dressed as an inventor from another century, Daniel G. Benes captures his audiences’ imagination with his performance, his gadgets and gizmos, and his innate sense of wonder. Why Thomas Edison?
“I had this book about Thomas Edison when I was a kid,” Daniel says. “I learned about him and I learned about lots of other inventors, but there was something about the phonograph and the telegraph and specific things that Thomas Edison worked on that drew me in. I just thought it was very, very cool.”
Daniel G. Benes Science Shows teach tangible, hands-on science for all ages. He has performed for senior citizens, which he says has been very rewarding, but he primarily performs for school-age children. While the senior citizens may be familiar with many of the scientific techniques and contraptions Daniel shows off, younger students often are not. His educational performances are based on scientific principles of physics, chemistry, and electricity, but they border on the magical.
Never once does Daniel use the word “inventor” when describing himself, but his inventive look at the world and his personal interests have led him to this unique and creative career. Daniel doesn’t call what he does “magic,” but he does believe imagination and art are involved. “If you leave the art out of science, you’re really leaving a lot of people behind.”
Daniel would be the first to say he considered the classroom boring and confining. He lived in the country and would have much rather spent his time exploring the great outdoors. “I was very outdoorsy,” he says, “but I also loved electronics. I was really into science. As a kid I had a lot of science books.”
One day while out hiking with a buddy, Daniel saw an old TV someone had dropped off on the side of the road. “My life came to a stop,” he recalls. It was like stumbling upon treasure. “The world was my oyster. It was like a parts store, like I walked into a RadioShack, but it was free. I could unsolder parts and pieces, and I had the books to tell me what to build with them.”
“It’s the kids like me, the way I was as a child, who often get overlooked,” he explains. “I could easily visualize a project, and my hands did immediately what my brain told them to do, but it’s those same kids that often get overlooked because they may be bad at math and science, so they miss an important chunk of what’s out there.”
Daniel G. Benes Science Shows demonstrate to kids that science is fun. He often launches candy into the audience with a trebuchet as he explains the physics behind it. He informs the kids that science is all around them. “There’s science outside in the chirping of a bird, there’s pitch and frequency to consider. There’s science in how the wind blows, which is at a certain speed, at a certain air pressure. There are just so many things, but it’s all about science.”
But Daniel doesn’t want that fact to slow anyone down. Kids are natural inventors. How many jars and Tupperware containers have been sacrificed as makeshift housing for bugs and frogs? “How many cardboard boxes have become rocket ships?” Daniel asks. “And to those kids, that’s what they’ve made. Rocket ships. It’s awesome.”
Daniel wants his audience members, young and old, to retain their imaginations and use them in ways that work for them. Most importantly, he inspires children to see the possibilities in the world around them and in their own potential.
Daniel G. Benes Science Shows provides science-based shows, classes, camps, and antique science and technology exhibits for all ages. To learn more about the wonderful world of Daniel G. Benes, visit his website at www.scienceshows.tech or Daniel G. Benes Science Shows on Facebook.
To see Daniel in action, go to www.youtube.com/user/DGBNOPS for some videos!