■ The Science presenter, 40, discusses blue peter’s anniversary, floppy disKs and why buttons should make a comeback
It’s a comedy show about science and maths. It started small but it turns out there are loads of people who want to see nerdy comedy and we’ve now done three UK tours. The most recent is available on floppy disk. Why’s that? There’s nostalgia value for the audience who love seeing retro technology. We released the last show on VHS. This time we’ve done it on floppy disk. It’s great to see people buying it and then realise they need to buy a floppy disk drive. There are 277 floppy disks and we’ve cut the show into 277 segments of 20 seconds each.
What retro tech should come back?
Buttons. Touch screens are amazing technology but they’re put in places where they don’t belong. I have an electric hob with a touch screen. It’s so much slower to use than a button or dial. The worst example is my car. It’s a Citroën C4 Grand Picasso. It’s all touch screen. You have to take your eyes off the road when you want to do anything.
Why did you destroy a diamond on Blue Peter?
Blue Peter was celebrating its diamond anniversary last year. I thought we could make a Blue Peter badge out of pure diamond. If you burn wood you’re left with soot but a diamond vanishes because it’s made of pure carbon, it reacts with oxygen and it turns into gas and disappears. So we burned it and it
disappeared – we wanted to show why real diamonds are so expensive and why they have these amazing properties.
What’s the purpose of your YouTube channel?
I love science and I want everyone else to love science too, so I make videos about interesting scientific ideas. The most popular video is a chain of beads coming out of a beaker. If you get a chain of beads and put them in a pot in the right way, they jump out on their own in a weird fountain effect. That’s now named after me and is called the Mould Effect. Two physicists wrote a paper about it at Cambridge University.
What equipment do you use to make your videos?
A Panasonic GH5, it’s a DSLR and good at making videos as well. For sound I have a RØDELink and I use LED panels for the lighting.
What current tech innovations excite you?
Driverless cars. Driving now is boring and dangerous. Data suggests they are — and will be — safer than human drivers.
Do you play games?
I played Portal, which I thought was amazing. It’s like a first-person shooter but you’re not killing anyone. You solve puzzles, which are so imaginative, and the storytelling is amazing.
If you could invent any gadget what would it do?
I’d revolutionise batteries. Most of your phone will be the battery. Computers and microchips have shrunk but the batteries are still enormous, so I’d invent a battery that lasts 1,000 times longer than current batteries and will charge in five seconds.
■ Festival Of The Spoken Nerd’s latest show, You Can’t Polish A Nerd, is available on DVD, download and, of course, floppy disk