MATT Parker is the stand-up mathematician; Steve Mould, the experiments guy and TV science expert; Helen Arney, the musical comedian and geek songstress.

Together they team up as the science-comedy trio Festival Of The Spoken Nerd, whose new touring show, You Can't Polish A Nerd, visits York Barbican today and Leeds City Varieties on October 21.

The Nerds first played the Barbican two years when "not that many people came," as Helen recalls, "But we definitely have more momentum; since we were in York, loads of stuff has happened like headlining the national science festival The Big Bang Fair. We've done the City Varieties four times now; we're going back there again and it's selling really well."

The three Nerds have featured on BBC2’s QI, created the experimental comedy show Domestic Science for BBC Radio 4, already recommissioned for series two, and played the Hammersmith Apollo with Professor Brian Cox and Robin Ince.

What's more, there have been a sold-out run at the Soho Theatre, millions of views on YouTube and performances at Shakespeare’s Globe, The British Library, Latitude and Underbelly Festivals and James Randi’s The Amaz!ng Meeting in Las Vegas.

"I 'electrified' Sandi Toksvig, Susan Calman and Josh Widdecombe on our first Radio 4 series," says Helen, matter of factly. Please explain, Helen. "Well, it was an experiment we also did in the last tour where we ran a speaker cable around the audience with everyone holding hands to become a human speaker cable, with us running a piece of music through that cable because humans are really good conductors, especially when their hands are sweaty! The two at the end hold the speaker cable connected to our amplifier; we play our iPad at one end and the music comes out of the other."

Other celebrity encounters have included almost setting fire to Pointless boffin Richard Osman and accidentally putting a naked flame a little too close to QI regular Alan Davies's mop of hair.

Now comes You Can't Polish A Nerd, the latest show from a geek gang of three that decided to make their own shows in the absence of anyone making shows they would want to see. "But we're not doing shows to almost trick young people into thinking science is cool, because, if they don't think that already, we're not the people to convince them as lots of science is repetitive," says Helen, a Physics graduate from Imperial College, London.

"We make shows for ourselves, shows we'd like to see, and they're such fun to perform. That's why we go on tour. It's such a buzz to be in a room of people, whether they have science backgrounds or not, and go, 'yeah, isn't the universe spectacular, even the small bits that no-one thinks about'."

What science experiments might be in the air tonight? "Matt will be doing extraordinary things with spreadsheets - he predicted the birth of his sons with spreadsheets - and he'll measuring Pi with a pie," says Helen.

"Away from this show, by the way, he's started a petition to the Government to stop the wrong football design being used on road signs for football grounds.

"Lots of those signs have a football design that's impossible: you can't make a football out of just hexagons; you have to have some pentagons."

Back to the show, Helen. "Steve will be doing some ill-advised things with leaf blowers and he's also learned how to film inside a microwave, though it took more than one microwave to find out how to do it successfully," she reveals.

"I'm the empress of song, so we'll have a very funny song about bananas, and, if it all goes well, I have a new version of Tom Lehrer's Elements Song featuring all 16 new elements that have been discovered since he wrote it, so it's like 20 per cent out of date until now!"

Look out too for a glitter-firing cannon, although "we have to work out exactly what we're going to do with it," said Helen, speaking to The Press before the tour started.

What is definitive, however, is the October 5 publication of Helen and Steve's book The Element In The Room: Science-y Stuff Staring You In The Face.

"The whole idea is that it's one of those books where we do want you to put it's eminently put-downable as long as you go off and do something scientific and then come back to read more of it," says Helen.

"It's great because it's full of things you can do at home, which is something we felt wasn't in a lot of books we've seen or read. We know our shows are full of interesting stuf, and it's such an important part of science that you observe things and then get hands on!"

Festival Of The Spoken Nerd presents You Can't Polish A Nerd at York Barbican tonight at 7.30pm; Leeds City Varieties, October 21, 7.30pm. Box office: York, 0844 854 2757 or at; Leeds, 0113 243 0808 or Suitable for age 14 plus.