CONSIDER the organisation of tones into patterns, and add the application of human kinetic energy, possibly with the lubrication of a liquid with elements of the structural formula CH3 CH2 OH.

That is the basic formula for a ceilidh, though of course the alcohol is not obligatory.

You cannot do without the music and dance, though - especially if the aim is to impart knowledge.

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That, at least, is the theory of neuroscientist Lewis Hou, who organises science ceilidhs, events that combine traditional music and dance with basic science concepts in a bid to make science more accessible and fun. Mr Hou says there are many similarities between teaching people dance and teaching science - he uses, by way of example, a routine called the Dashing White Blood Cell to help demonstrate the immune system.

The enjoyment of such events, though, could be relative. If you are seated next to a less than competent fiddle player - or an artless host- you might chalk that one up as e = mc screeched.

And best beware of getting too carried away with the terpsichorean art. You wouldn't want to be the torque of the town.