December 29, 2020

Storytelling + Comedy + Science = LabX Hidden Expert

Posted by Laura Guertin

The year 2020 introduced me to new and creative ways for entertainment, engagement and outreach online. For example, I’ve been watching the Philadelphia Orchestra stream free, online concerts at Black-owned business and cultural locations in the Greater Philadelphia region. But for science fun, I have to give a shout-out to the National Academy of Sciences LabX program Hidden Expert (



As the tweet above states and from the Hidden Expert website:

Hidden Expert is storytelling with a twist. One theme, four storytellers, countless interpretations. Hidden among the storytellers is an expert in the evening’s theme. The game is simple: It’s up to you to figure out the theme and then guess the expert.

As someone that tuned in for these “episodes,” I can’t tell you how engaging this is! I was paying attention for every piece of information the entire time, trying to find common threads between each story. While the four storytellers are each taking their turn, there’s a live chat with viewers like me submitting guesses as to what the theme is (you can choose not to watch the chat if you want to figure it out on your own). Then, once the theme is revealed, the next step is to figure out which of the storytellers is the real scientist.

What I really like is that after all the guessing, then the real scientist speaks about their research and responds to audience questions – it is an opportunity for viewers to learn about some fascinating science and to see a scientist have fun in an informal setting. I’m already thinking of how episodes/recordings like these could be used in educational settings.

If you missed any of the episodes – no worries! All four episodes from 2020 have been recorded and archived in YouTube. I think AGU members will especially enjoy Episode 3….



I hope the Hidden Expert fun continues in 2020 (dates have not yet been posted yet). And I hope other organizations can find ways to tap into their creative energies to generate programming such as this for more opportunities to see fun ways to merge storytelling, comedy, and science.