Amazing Science Festival photos show just how 'Light Works'

With the Edinburgh International Science Festival just weeks away, Edinburgh's citizens and visitors have been getting an early look at an open air exhibition of incredible photography celebrating the UN International Year of Light.


Light Works, organised by the Royal Photographic Society, is located in St Andrew Square in the east end of the New Town, and features 50 captivating large-scale images of the electromagnetic spectrum in all its forms, from gamma rays to radio waves.

Images include huge sparks of electricity illuminating The Z Machine, the world's largest x-ray generator, a self-portrait taken on Mars by the Curiosity Rover, and detailed x-rays taken to prove the authenticity of a masterpiece by Francisco Goya.

Edinburgh International Science Festival Director Dr Simon Gage said:

I’m delighted that once again we’re able to stage a wonderful outdoor exhibition right in the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre for everyone to enjoy. Light Works offers a fascinating insight into the amazingly diverse and wonderful world of Light, unlocking how its mysterious properties affect life throughout the Universe and also showing how scientific research uses light in different ways to make amazing technological and medical advancements

Organisations including NASA, the Natural History Museum, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the British Museum and the European Space Agency have contributed shots capturing dramatic and fascinating aspects of these phenomena. And with no scientific knowledge required, the fantastic pictures and accompanying insightful captions make the exhibition enjoyable for all, regardless of age or experience.

The exhibition runs from 3 March to 17 April 2015, and is completely free and unticketed.

Full information on the Edinburgh International Science Festival (4-19 April) can be found at

Images (clockwise from top):

  • NASA's Mars Rover used a camera at the end of its robotic arm to take this selfie (Image NASA sml)
  • Solar Spectrum - Splitting white light into a spectrum through a spectrometer (Image Nigel Sharp, NOAONSO)
  • Electricity crackles across the surface of the Z Machine (c. Randy Montoya Sandia National Laboratory sml)
  • Mirrors of James Webb Space Telescope being prepared for test (Image NASA MSFC David Higginbotham)

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