Edinburgh International Science Festival 2010

by endlesspsych

For those of you in the dark about just what the Edinburgh science festival is, allow us to enlighten you – it was founded in 1989 to take science to the masses, it encompasses a series of events for two weeks in April(3rd-17th) that aim to bring to people of all ages and backgrounds the wonder of the world that surrounds them.

Today the Edinburgh Science festival 2010 program was launched and we’ve had a quick look through to identify some of the highlights this year.

This year’s festival celebrates the International Year of Biodiversity with an exhibition of photographs by Stephen Bloom (12 March to 16 May) in Princes street gardens.  Other events worthy of note include Sonic dreams (“a hyper realistic 3D sound system that fuses art and science”), a two day video game development workshop courtesy of Abertay University (12th-15th of April) and from the 8th of April until the 10th the team from BBC’s Bang goes the Theory will be in town for their science roadshow. And not forgetting the conversion of the City Arts Centre into seven floors of science and technology based demonstrations and fun: everything from Nina and the Neurons to LEGO robots! – between the 3rd and 17th of April (excluding the 11th). Edinburgh Zoo also has a fantastic program of events from debates on the reintroduction of wolves to Scotland to the post-mortem of a cow as well as the opportunity for youngesters to take part in a sleepover in the zoo and see what the animals get up to at night.

The Royal Botanic Gardens also get in on the act with activities ranging from biodiversity trails to the international conference on the  science of phenology (the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and inter annual variations in climate) where there will be a talk on the impact of climate change for the general public on the 9th of April.

The University of Edinburgh and the National Museum of Scotland will be hosting a series of events under the banner of Discovering Science, where youngsters will be able to meet medics and vets, discover what makes super-bugs “super” and find out why it’s so hard to build an intelligent robot.  Dr Bunhead will also be putting in an appearance to explore natures mightiest and strangest experiments and the excellent Helen Keen will reprise her 2008 Fringe show “It is Rocket science”.

Edinburgh Filmhouse will be showing a series of science themed films during the festival: the “Seven Wonders Of The Solar System” and “Journeying To The Edge Of The Universe”. There will also be an exploration of the 400 year history of the telescope.

Alongside the events and demonstrations the festival also plays host to a series of ‘big ideas’ lectures. Topics up for discussion are the human mind, anti-matter, dark matter and how the rock guitar can explain the Universe (excitingly this appears to feature the riffs of AC/DC).  The festival also attracts some big names of science:  Marcus Chown on his top 5 bonkers things in the universe, Richard Wiseman on the psychology of comedy, Brian Cox explaining why  E=mc² and comedian Robin Ince returns to Edinburgh with his show “Carl Sagan is my god and oh Richard Feynman too”.  Other speakers appearing include Richard Dawkins, Dr Raj Persaud, Prof. Jim Al-Khalili and Professor Iain Stewart of BBC1’s “How Earth made us“.

There are literally 101 other events I could recommend and urge you to attend, and if you are anything like me, your inner geek will be salivating in anticipation until everything kicks off in April!

We will endeavour to bring you reviews of at least some of the events taking place and hopefully also obtain a few interviews with as many of the luminaries taking part that we can grab.