Edinburgh Science Festival 2014 Programme Launched

Submitted by edg on Sat, 15 Feb '14 6.59pm

From robot football to making round bubbles square, from the science of intoxication at a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party to a man vs 3D printer contest, this year's Edinburgh International Science Festival promises to get to the "Science at the Heart of Everything".

Running during the Easter holidays (Saturday 5th - Sunday 20th April), the festival carries a pot pourri of science-themed events for adults and children alike.

This year sees a new hub on the 30-venue festival circuit with Summerhall hosting a programme of day and night events for families, teens and adults.

Scientists and broadcasters including Edinburgh-based Nobel Prize winner Peter Higgs, Richard Wiseman, Jim Al-Khalili, Robin Ince, Hermione Cockburn, Simon Watt and Helen Arney, among others, return to the pop science festival.

"For two weeks the city becomes the perfect melting pot for discussion, as we explore the ideas that place science smack-bang at the heart of all of our lives," said Amanda Tyndall, Deputy Director of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

The festival builds on strands of previous years. Organised mayhem will return to the City Art Centre as it is transformed into a "science playground" for kids with a pile of workshops, shows and interactive events. Among this year's new activities, children can journey through a giant digestive system as they learn about biology.

The National Museum of Scotland also hosts hands-on kids workshops and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has a Columbian jungle-themed expedition.

Food and drink are under the microscope in GastroFest. Diners can explore how molecular gastronomy influences taste and perception at Sensation (5 April) with Edinburgh-based event creators Jelly & Gin, how functional foods can be harnessed to improve life at Feast of the Commonwealth Gala Dinner (11 April) with menu from top Edinburgh chef Neil Forbes, or browse the science-inspired farmers market SciMart (6 April) with demos from BBC chef Mark Greenaway, and curated experiments from Festival brewer Barney’s Beer.

The Making It strand of events showcases maker innovation and developing technologies with an interactive showcase at the National Museum of Scotland and a series of practical workshops at Summerhall.

Visitors can get to grips with the National Museum of Scotland's most iconic objects in Print the Museum, where 3D printers recreate popular items from the collection, or can cheer on either side as artist Dominic Wilcox does battle with a 3D printer in Face Off: Man vs Machine (12 April) - can a printer challenge man's natural making skills?

The Mini Maker Faire, which joined the fest last year, closes the festival on 20 April with events and workshops celebrating Maker culture, DIY Science and the exchange of ideas between amateur tinkerers and scientists.

With the Scottish referendum on independence later this year, in Scotland Decides media commentators Lesley Riddoch and Tiffany Jenkins will lead discussions on health, energy resources, and the psychology of voting as they pertain to Scotland's future.

The Festival's Opening Party at City Art Centre (3 April) kicks off a series of Lates events, featuring the return of the popular sci-creative series LateLab, with curator Amanda McDonald Crowley exploring how art, tech and food intersect.

Other highlights include Techno Threads and Future Fashion (16 April) a fashion show exploring wearable technologies and featuring designers CuteCircuit - Katy Perry’s costumier of choice – and a Science Ceilidh from Peter Lovatt – aka Dr Dance - and neuroscientist Lewis Hou.

The creative crossover continues with an expanded programme showcasing the work of artists and writers directly inspired by science and technology. Science at the HeART of things features a series of exhibitions and installations co-curated with Paul Robertson at Summerhall, while artists and scientists consider what they have in common in Anatomy of an Artist: The Chemistry of Collaboration (4 April).

New campaign The Reading Experiment delves into the diverse world of science writing, encouraging audiences to engage with science literature of all kinds.

A series of author talks, workshops and events ask who should write about science - explored in Stranger than Fiction (15 April) - and the science of Scottish crime writing is examined in Forensics and Fiction (8 April).

A SciKu competition launching March 2014 will ask entrants to create a ‘science haiku’ about any science inspired subject they like.

This year's Edinburgh Medal is awarded to Prof Mary Abukutsa-Onyango, Prof of Horticulture at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology – who for the past two decades has dedicated herself to finding sustainable solutions to the double burden of obesity and malnutrition that challenges Africa in the 21st century.

Prof Abukutsa-Onyango will deliver the Edinburgh Medal Address (9 April), and is a special speaker at Feast of the Commonwealth Gala Dinner at Our Dynamic Earth (11 April). Last year’s Medal recipient and subsequent Nobel Prize winner Prof Peter Higgs is also appearing at the Festival, this year in conversation with Prof Frank Close at the Queen’s Hall (9 April).

More on the Edinburgh International Science Festival