City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Science Festival: "Sociable" Science For Adults


By Editor - Posted on 07 March 2013

SciFest Late Lab patterns

The 25th Edinburgh International Science Festival (23 March-7 April) will be opening its doors in the evening with a series of events where adults can take part in experiments and enjoy talks, performances, films, tabletop science and even creative catering in a relaxed and social atmosphere. 

The EISF will kick off with an opening party on Thursday 21 March (8pm – 11pm) that for the first time is open to the public. Tickets are £10. Adults wishing to experience a safari deep into the jungle, or try their hand at keyhole surgery in A&E can enjoy a child-free evening at the City Art Centre for one night only. Across four floors, all the activities that are usually reserved for the under 12’s are set up for the grown-ups. From dissecting eyeballs to rampaging robots, from the Blood Bar to blowing bubbles, participants are invited to grab a bottle of Culture#1 – the exclusive Science Festival beer – and get stuck in.

LateLab, which was launched last year, will transform the University of Edinburgh’s Inspace into a creative, social and participatory event space where adults can make, do and interact with art, science and technology. Part installation, part salon, LateLab is the perfect opportunity to mingle with other Festival-goers and speakers, and enjoy fascinating events with a social twist. Tickets are free but require booking ahead (booking opens two weeks in advance).

Mixed into the regular Inspace favourites such as Electric Bookshop and Pecha Kucha, as well as the Dialogues festival will be Gastrolab which will explore exotic eating from edible flowers to insect mousse, Fit for Orbit which offer a pre-flight health check for future space explorers and Matter over Mind where the Festival will examine the subtle interactions between the brain and the body.

LateLab events

Saturday 23 March

Logan's Run

To introduce our new strand of research into entertainment & urbanism, Michael Anderson's 1976 film shows the remains of human civilization living a hedonistic lifestyle in a sealed domed city. Set in 2274, this computer-run utopia takes care of all aspects of life, including reproduction.

Citizens understand that in order to maintain the city, they must undergo the fiery ritual of Carousel when they reach Last Day, their 30th birthday, and are given the chance to be reborn. If the Lifeclock crystal in the palm of your hand started to blink, would you try and outrun the Sandmen?

Sunday 24 March

Field Guide to Space

Most of us dream about space exploration - but haven't yet touched those stars ourselves. Can earth science and other open data connect us physically and personally to the exploration of the universe? Can we adorn and decorate our lives with what we've learned from space?

Tonight we'll look at a variety of real space data and the international, cross-disciplinary collaborations that can discover its secrets. Experience that certain thrill when you know you're connected to something extraordinary like a space station flying overhead.

Wednesday 27 March

Alt-w | Pressed for Time

The keepers of the Electric Bookshop are creating a publishing time-machine. It will provide unexpected and immersive experiences for intrepid book readers, using a combination of human interaction and artificial intelligence to create custom 'books' that they can take away.

Come along and listen to how old and new media, electronics, programming and traditional craft will enable the machine to be an anachronistic mishmash of time periods from literature, printing and publishing. It's the best open source bedtime story ever.

Thursday 28 March

Encounters: Matter Over Mind?

Think you're in control of your own thoughts, emotions and actions? You may just want to think again. As we continue to unlock the secrets of the subtle interactions between the brain and the body we are discovering that we may not be the conscious decision makers we think we are.

Can your posture affect the way you think? Might the next generation of books read your mind, changing the way they are written to suit your mood?

Experiment with Thomas Cochrane’s Mood Organ – a synthesiser which ‘plays’ your emotions. Or experience Martin Kershaw’s live sax improvisations and join psychologist Peter Lovatt and sci-fi writer & Alt-w Fund alumni Hannu Rajeniemi in discussion around the nuanced relationships between our outward appearance and our inner experience.

Friday 29 March

Pecha Kucha

Devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public, this has turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creatives worldwide.

It is curated in Edinburgh by Gordon Duffy, Principal of architecture practice Studio DuB. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of "chit chat", it rests
on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds.

Saturday 30 March

Fantastical Life

As the building blocks of life become better understood we increasingly have the potential to create new forms of life. Experience the DIY-bio movement as artists, scientists explore the interface between biology, engineering and art & consider biology as a new material for design.

We ask what the future of synthetic biology has in store as New York based artist Jason Hackenwerth – whose giant work ‘Pisces’ will grace the National Museum of Scotland during the Science Festival – discusses the inspiration behind his fantastical work.

Alastair Elfick, of the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Foundation and the Synthetic Aesthetics sci–art project will also share his work on how biological organisms & cells can be engineered to create everything from new materials to replacement joints & cheap drugs.

Sunday 31 March

Inedible or Incredible?

In a future of uncertain food supplies, do we need to open our minds to unusual options? This year’s Gastrolab will push the boundaries of the edible, asking you to consider adding to the menu things you may never before have thought of as food.

With edible Kokedama installations from Pyrus Flowers, a presentation from Craig MacFarlane on insect cuisine in Benin, gourmet insect mousse from EntoBox & a selection of locally foraged delights selected by Miles Irving, GastroLab promises to be so good you’ll want to eat it!

Wednesday 3 April

Dialogues 1

The first of two Dialogues concerts at LateLab marks the culmination of the annual Digital Media Studio Project at ECA. New experimental work will be created for this premier public presentation.

Each team has explored a wealth of new technologies to help develop an articulate understanding of the potential for their use in digital design, sound and performance.

Thursday 4 April

Dialogues 2

This second of two Dialogues concerts at LateLab marks the culmination of the annual Digital Media Studio Project at ECA. New experimental work will be created for this premier public presentation.

Each team has explored a wealth of new technologies to help develop an articulate understanding of the potential for their use in digital design, sound and performance.

Friday 5 April

Fit For Orbit?

Calling all wannabe space cadets, this is your chance to test your fitness – both physically and psychologically – for space flight and get measured up and assessed for your ability to withstand years in zero gravity and the isolation of deep space.

Space-health briefings from extreme medicine expert Kevin Fong, an intro to the basics of deep-space first aid with NASA scientist George Pantalos & a psychological grilling from theatre company Grid Iron this LateLab help prepare for a future that might lie off planet.

Saturday 6 April

Future Play 1

Human ingenuity and playfulness are expressing themselves in a plethora of new platforms – from community gaming to digital arts, randomised music and augmented reality.

Join us for a night of performances by artists working in the realm where digital meets physical. Retro LEDs, motion-generated music & participatory games come together in an exploration of the future of interactive entertainment.

More on the Edinburgh International Science Festival