Mad Scientist

White overcoat: check. Dry-ice: check. Beakers to overfill with oozing, bubbling, red and blue solutions: check. These are just a few of the items required for a zany mad scientist to complete a day’s work.

For Derick and Tonette Brock, owners of Mad Science, reaching the goal of sparking imaginative learning through science began long ago, in a land far, far away. Ironically, it was the potato that brought them together.

Tonette spent years studying science and crop production. Her mission: “To adapt certain crops to unusual climates. Specifically, I was working with a research team on ways to develop potato production in tropical climates,” she says. So naturally, her studies brought her from her home in the Philippines to the spud capital of the world, Idaho. While there, she met Derick, whose background studies are in childhood recreations. Soon, the two married and began a worldwide, lifelong journey together.

Their first stop: Mozambique. Her knowledge for crop production and his expertise in childhood development lead them to small village full of children and farmers. “Basically, we worked with the poorest of the poor and used applied technologies so they could become self-sustained,” Derick explains. “We just took what they already had in their hands and taught them how to use it.”

One example of such innovation involved the use of the Moringa tree. This particular species grows in Africa and is sometimes used by the natives for building or for shade. However, the Moringas, from the leaves to the bark to the roots, are also completely edible. They yield a high nutritional value and they grow abundantly in Mozambiquan soil. Thus