The Edinburgh International Science Festival – the world’s oldest celebration of Science and Technology – turns 25 in 2013. The coming of age coincides with a roll out on a greater focus on making science festival concepts more accessible in everyday environments.
Amanda Tyndall, deputy director of the Science Festival, believes that people are inoculated against being interested in science by the ‘rigidity of the school setting’, but that seeing Science as a part of the everyday world – technology, psychology, and the world around us – is key to re-introducing it to people’s enthusiasm for Science.
To help with this, the 2013 programme focuses on taking science to the masses- and the masses to science- with a range of events designed to help introduce scientific concepts into popular culture.
Here are a few of our favourites for any newbies to the festival:
Kids don’t get to have all the fun! The Science Festival kicks off with the opening up of 5 floors of Science-based learning at the City Arts Centre to the adult public. Leave the children at home (it’s an over 18’s event) and explore the sounds of the jungle, unwrapping mummies, racing robotic cars, making waves or learning how scabs are formed. You can also perform keyhole surgery or explore the world of giant bubbles. All of this – and you can do it with a Culture#1, the exclusive beer of the Science Festival. It’s one million times better than just sitting in a pub!
You don’t ever think about it when ordering your favourite piña colada, mojito or Bloody Mary, but the art of cocktail making is actually strongly rooted in the science of molecular physics, variances in liquid density and the like. So why not take the opportunity to train your brain while relaxing your palate? A scientist and a mixologist will lead a night of entertainment examining the science behind the making of cocktails, as well as experiencing how using scientific equipment and the techniques of molecular gastronomy can make cocktails even tastier and more potent. Some cocktail sampling may be required, so over 18s only!
Edinburgh’s custom built technology venue, Inspace, is being transformed into a sociable science hub every night during the Festival. A range of events will be on, from Electric Bookshops and Pecha Kucha to the Dialogues festival – an exciting exploration of the latest blends of live music and technology. The popular 2012 invention Gastrolab is also back, where the Festival will explore everything from edible flowers to insect mousse.
Why not try some dinner with a difference? Invasive species (alien plants and animals) can do massive damage to ecosystems on land and in the ocean. So, if they’re tasty, could there be an easy way to solve the problem? The Royal Botanic Gardens’ John Hope Gateway restaurant will be serving a menu crafted entirely around tasty invaders – with a bit of the science of invasive species thrown in for good measure.
When Edinburgh is blessed with blue skies, there is nothing better than getting out into the cityscape to explore the beauty of Scotland’s ancient capital. St Andrew Square hosts a beautiful photographic exhibition of photographs with the theme of Patterns in Nature, which looks at the mathematics behind some of the most familiar natural phenomena, from peacocks to plants. Why not grab a coffee from one of the vendors nearby and get a dose of sun and science at the same time?
Image credits: middle – Sean Gilligan, right – Joel Sartore.
What does a 3 story-high balloon sculpture look like? We’ll soon know, as New York based artist Jason Hackenwerth works on his Science Festival commission, looking at the links between the sea and the cosmos (hence the name!) in the grand gallery of the National Museum of Scotland. Jason will be in residence from the 23-29 March, transforming humble balloons into a gigantic and intricate structure before the grand unveiling. You will then be able to see the sculpture in situ until the 14th April.
For more information about the Science Festival’s 25th birthday programme check out their website. For more details, news updates and tickets for all of Edinburgh’s twelve major Festivals, check out the Edinburgh Festivals website.