Science Festival '11 Brings Bangs, Bubbles, and the Big Blue

Submitted by edg on Thu, 24 Feb '11 11.24am

Between the 9 and 22 April, this year's Edinburgh International Science Festival will see over 200 adult and family events taking place in 38 venues across the city. 

Highlights of the programme, which was unveiled today, include a Guinness World Record Attempt to create the longest glow-in-the-dark necklace ever made (the opening show with extreme scientist Dr Bunhead), a hands-on exhibition to mark the year of chemistry at the Royal Botanic Garden, and the BBC's Big Bang Theory Roadshow rolls into town.

Topics range from Aardman Animation to the Large Hadron Collider via the Internet, the Pill, the Science of Miracles and the psychology of dog training.

Festival regular Professor Richard Wiseman will be a guest director at the 23rd Edinburgh Science Festival and this year will see the Scottish Storytelling Centre participating in the festival.

“You don't need to love science to love the Science Festival," said Festival director, Dr Simon Gage. "The line-up is spectacular, accessible and just waiting for you – so come and have some fun.”

Mysteries of the deep

A series of events telling the story of our oceans will be headlined by Into the Deep, a free exhibition of photographs in St Andrew Square, curated by Steve and Kathy Bloom.

Open from 25 February to 30 April, Into the Deep features underwater photography, shot from the water's surface down to the ocean floor.

Meanwhile, The Filmhouse will be showing a number of underwater films including Luc Besson's The Big Blue, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Kirk Douglas, while Dr Alan Jamieson explores Beyond the Abyss: Life in the Deepest Places on Earth in an event at the Informatics Centre.

Family fun

The family programme centres around the City Art Centre as last year. All seven floors will be brimming with activities, workshops, performances, and hands-on experiments.

New for 2011 is the World of Bubbles workshops where "bubbleologists" will make round bubbles square, make children disappear into their own bubbles, and generally have fun with bubbles.

On the top floor, The Future's Bright takes kids on a journey where they crack the clues to discover how our lives will change – for the better – once we've reduced the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

The City Art Centre also sees the return of some old favourites such as ER, Unwrapping the Mummy, Dr Clot‟s Blood-Curdling Adventure, Nina and the Neurons and Rampaging Chariots.

Story of Science

The Scottish Storytelling Centre is a new addition to the Science Festival and will be presenting a series of events for young people showcasing children's science authors including Professor Lord Robert Winston and Paul Collicutt, and providing interactive storytelling sessions.

“Story is a friend to Science, as interpreter, educator and playmate," says Donald Smith, Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, "I think this equals Enlightenment plus Fun, which sounds to me like the best of all equations.‟

The Royal Botanic Garden will host a variety of  walks, activities and exhibitions for all ages whilst Discover Science is a fun, family-friendly event created by the University of Edinburgh at the National Museum of Scotland and Adam House on Chamber Street.

Events will also take place at Edinburgh Zoo, the Scottish Seabird Centre, Our Dynamic Earth and the Royal Observatory.

Year of Chemistry

To celebrate the International Year of Chemistry, the team at the Science Festival have devised a new exhibition giving visitors a chance to get up close and personal with Chemistry.

Atomise will be packed with eye-popping experiments, explosive gadgets, drop in demonstrations and hands on workshops which will explore the different elements of chemistry.

Supported by the Scottish Government‟s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, Atomise will be hosted in the John Hope Gateway of the Royal Botanic Garden and will open to the public from Saturday 9 April until 5 June 2011.


Professor Richard Wiseman, as Guest Director this year, has programmed a series of psychology themed events: an exploration of the Psychology of Dog Training, the Science of Cocktails, the Science of Cosmetics and the Science of Fireworks.

Wiseman will be in conversation with Jon Ronson, author of The Men Who Stare at Goats and debating the science of Miracles with The Reverend Dr Andrew Pinsent, Dr Caroline Watt and Dr Peter Lamont.

"Being guest director has felt a bit like being a child in a sweet shop - I have had the opportunity to stage events that investigate some of my favourite topics," said Wiseman. "I hope people will come along and be both informed and entertained."

Adults can also find Professor Lord Robert Winston exploring the impact of human inventiveness, Professor Richard Dawkins proposing Evolution to promote a deeper understanding of human nature, Iain Stewart telling the story of the historic roots of Scotland's landscape and David Sproxton from Aardman Animations discussing their Oscar-winning formula for success.