Science Festival 2021 Connects Us

Science - launch

With 220 events, tours, discussions, workshops, downloadable resources and interactive experiences, there’s lots to choose from at this year’s 33rd Edinburgh Science Festival, the world’s first and still Europe’s biggest science festival - running from Saturday 26 June to Sunday 11 July. So with a festival theme of One World: Science Connects Us, let’s check out some of the highlights, with over 80% of the programme available to audiences free of charge – and the digital programme available to anyone in the world, truly connecting all the sci-curious minds around the globe.

Science - Human Nature

1. Human Nature [on Portobello Promenade]: Visit this large-scale outdoor photography exhibition on Portobello Promenade and explore how we connect to nature as humans. Consider the importance of the natural world to human health and happiness and discover how the global community are tackling the challenges of the climate crisis that threaten our green spaces. Through a series of arresting images, Human Nature highlights the importance of the natural world, how it matters to our wellbeing, and the fragility and biodiversity of our one precious planet. Human Nature will run from Sat 12 Jun—Wed 21 Jul.

Science - Human Nature2

2. Elemental [at Summerhall]: Discover and interact with the elements on this magical, multi-sensory journey through an intriguing, immersive digital world where magic meets alchemy and alchemy meets science. Play, discover, create and experience for yourself how a limited number of elements come together to create the almost infinite variety of our Universe. Booking is essential for Elemental at Summerhall.

Science - Pale Blue Dot

3. Pale Blue Dot [at National Musuem of Scotland]: Delve deep into our seas and oceans in this multi-sensory exploration of everything marine, celebrating Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020/21. Taking you through every layer of the ocean, Pale Blue Dot explores the vastness, majesty and mystery of our seas. From curious species to amazing ecosystems, oceans bounties and intriguing research, find out what makes the marine landscape so special and how we can protect one of the most precious habitats on Earth. Booking is essential for this event at the National Museum of Scotland.

Science - In Memoriam

4. In Memoriam [at Royal Botanic Gardens]: is a new touring artwork by Luke Jerram, presented in the open air location of the Gardens. The installation is a temporary memorial for the public to visit and remember all those we have lost from the COVID-19 pandemic. In Memoriam is also made in tribute to all the NHS health and care workers who have been risking their lives during the crisis. Referencing those people who have been in hospital and care homes during this crisis, the flags are created from NHS bed sheets and arranged in the form of a medical logo.

Science - Women in Stem

5. Women in STEM Art Trail [at locations around the city]: Join us as we celebrate amazing women who have passionately contributed to the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). The Trail features large-scale graffiti portraits of female STEM professionals, the Trail takes over 9 iconic locations around the city as it highlights the achievements of 9 inspiring women. Follow the trail, experience the art and learn more about these inspiring women as part of the Festival.

Science - Engineering

6. This is Engineering… As You’ve Never Seen It Before [on the Mound Precinct]: An exhibition by the Museum of Engineering Innovation and photographer Ted Humble-Smith which takes you on a fascinating journey through some of the UK's greatest engineering innovations. These images are an artist's interpretation of the thought process behind 10 world-leading breakthroughs, all of which are winners of the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award.

Science - Oscillation

7. Oscillation in Light and Sound [in St Andrew's Square]: Explore light and sound with our interactive crystals! Oscillation consists of five giant crystal blocks that come alive through movement. Every experience is unique - the result of your own interactions with the blocks. Pitch changes depending on your distance and colours reflect and refract differently according to your movement. This is an immersive way to learn all about light and sound waves, for adults and children alike!

Science - Awen

8. AWEN: is a self-guided walk developing a deeply personal encounter with the environment beyond human scale. Interactive art, sound, movement and play are prompted by global climate data and science. You can start your walk from anywhere in the world. As you move through your surroundings, you will receive poetic and playful prompts from your smartphone. 

Science - online

9. Online Talks: The programme of lectures and discussions are always a highlight, and this year there are over 50 panel discussions and Q&As with authors on a range of subjects from the science of art to climate change, including these favourites of ours: Computer Says Oh No!SpacewomenGendering AI: the Case of Conversational AssistantsThe Greatest Inventions of the Future and No-one Left Behind in the Fight Against Climate Change

Science - Kids Lab

10. Online Workshops for Kids: No matter the weather this summer, Edinburgh Science Festival has you covered! With over 60 family focused shows, activities and workshops available online as part of this year’s programme, you’re guaranteed to find something for your child to enjoy from the comfort of your own home - including fun workshops such as Wild Vets [from Mon 28 June], Ella's Wobble [from Fri 2 July], Speedy Sails [from Tue 6 July] and Little Giants [from Fri 9 July]

Science - Edinburgh Medal

And finally let's not forget The Edinburgh Medal 2021: Every year City of Edinburgh Council award the Edinburgh Medal to honour men and women of Science and Technology who have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity. This year it is awarded to Professor Heidi Larson for the role she has played in recognising the importance of popular and widespread misunderstandings of vaccines; approaching it with empathy and understanding, not condemnation, developing programme, international organisation and networks to practically engage with communities to advance public health and social well-being. The Edinburgh Medal address will be available to watch online on Sun 4 July.

Amanda Tyndall, Edinburgh Science’s Festival and Creative Director said: “It is an understatement to say that it has been an exceptional year; a year that has shown us just how intimately interconnected our world is. We share one world and need to innovate and collaborate to tackle global challenges and embrace the opportunities ahead. In in a spirit of optimism, resilience and hope – our 2021 Festival explores new ideas and formats that ensure audiences can safely get their science fix this summer.

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