Tony Hawk shreds up science

How do you get a bunch of young people interested in science and physics?

Bring in Tony Hawk, have him skate up a big ramp, do some ollies, double heelflips, and other feats of skateboard wizardry.

Hawk will bust out a set of tricks this Saturday for the world premiere of “Tony Hawk: Rad Science,” a traveling interactive exhibit designed to explain the basic physics principles behind extreme sports.

The Rad Science exhibit will transform UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science into an all out shred-fest. Complete with graffitied walls, a DJ, and faux park signage explaining the physics of skateboarding, the event is sure to be a hit.

Visitors can even skate inside a replicated backyard pool while learning about Newton’s three laws of motion. Another station called the “Bodacious Board Balance” lets visitors stand on stationary skateboards illustrating the importance of balance. The exhibit aims to appeal to everyone with over 25 interactive experiences.

John Good, president and executive director of Exhibit IQ, which helped develop Rad Science, told the East Bay Express:

“Physics are the key to everything in the natural world. You could look at the physics behind any sport or activity, but with skateboarding it’s really easy to demonstrate those principles at work. Plus it’s really cool to watch — especially when people are doing radical tricks.”

While Hawk was the face behind the boarding side of the event, UC Berkeley physics professor Joel Fajans was in charge of the scientific aspects. He spent hours studying skateboarders in action in order to break down the physics of each trick and flip.

And while we all know you don’t need to know physics to pull off an Ollie, it’s still cool to know how it works.

Although the opening day event is sold out, you can watch a live stream of the festivities online.  And though Tony Hawk will only make an appearance this Saturday, the exhibit runs from June 2 to September 3, open every day from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.