Let's Experiment at the 2023 Edinburgh Science Festival

Science - 2023 launch @Ian GeorgesonEdinburgh Science Festival is the first and one of the most respected science festivals in the world, taking place over the Easter holidays, between 1 and 16 April. Known for producing world-class live events, this year’s Festival invites everyone to get hands-on with science and embrace the concepts of experimentation, innovation, creativity, curiosity and invention that lie at the heart of its 2023 theme – Let’s Experiment!

With innovation and creative thinking across disciplines essential if we are to harness the opportunities and deal with the potential perils and pitfalls of our rapidly changing world, the Festival brings together innovators – scientists, researchers and practitioners – who push the frontiers of our knowledge about ourselves and the wider Universe, and sci-curious audiences of all ages for a variety of talks, workshops and activities in venues around the city.

The Festival also becomes a living laboratory thanks to its experimentation with formats, approaches, and partnerships as it provides new and innovative ways for audiences to interact with science and scientists. This year’s programme is spread across 31 venues and locations around Edinburgh and one-third of it is free to access.

Key Highlights

  • City Art Centre (1-15 April) – five floors of hands-on science extravaganza for children between 3 and 12 years old. With 6 new workshops this year – including Construction Challenges, Ella’s Wobble, Speedy Sails, Creative Coding, Tech Corner and LEGO® Build The Change – and all-time favourites E.R. Surgery and Splat-tastic, City Art Centre is the most fun a family can have this Easter holidays. On sale from 1 March.
  • Experimental Life at the National Museum of Scotland (3-14 April) – new, free, interactive experience inviting everyone to take a deep dive into the weird and wonderful diversity of life. Includes Trees of Life installation from We Throw Switches and artist Robert Baumgarten exploring Darwin’s revolutionary theory of evolution. Developed with support from Creative Scotland through the Scottish Government’s Festival Expo Fund and supported by Lumo.
  • FutureFest (1-2 April) and EarthFest (15-16 April) at the National Museum of Scotland – two family-friendly, hands-on weekends bookmarking the Festival, filled with fantastic shows and new activities. First is a celebration of technology, robotics, artificial intelligence, coding, computers, and space while the latter invites the participants to learn more about our planet, the animals that live here and how we can take care of them. Supported by PLACE funding. EarthFest headline sponsor is Cirrus Logic. Both weekends are supported by Headline Festival Community Engagement Partner LEGO® Build the Change
  • Edinburgh Medal (12 April, City Chambers) – the prestigious annual award celebrating the achievements of the women and men of science and their contributions to the humanity. This year’s Edinburgh Medal recipient is Prof. Marion Nestle, a pioneer in the study of nutrition, public health and food politics, who will explore the wide-reaching implications of what and how we eat – from production and marketing, to the possibilities of fairer distribution of resources. Supported by the U.S. Embassy London.
  • Cherish: Shaping Our Planet (23 March-4 May) – a free, large-scale, outdoor photography exhibition on Portobello Promenade which looks at the human impact on the landscapes that support all life and considers how we can cherish its wonders and tread more lightly upon this Earth.
  • A Climate of Change: Nicola Sturgeon in Conversation with Ambassador Patricia Espinosa (6 April) - climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, but alongside the challenges come valuable opportunities to work together to transform our world for the better. Providing a truly global perspective, Ambassador Patricia Espinosa, former Executive Secretary of the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, 2016–2022) who was instrumental in efforts to make the Paris Agreement a reality and led crucial climate conversations at COP26 in Glasgow, joins Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, for a fascinating conversation exploring Scottish, and global, efforts to face up to our climate emergency.

That just scratches the surface of the programme, with lots of amazing shows for children, families and adults. The Edinburgh Science Festival takes place from 1st to 16th April and you can browse the full online programme HERE or download the festival brochure HERE.

Picture Credit: Stephanie Maia with daughter Valentina (7) experiment with dry ice at Summerhall, one of the Festival’s venues. Credit Ian Georgeson.

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