Science for the ages

With the Edinburgh International Science Festival starting later this month, we thought we’d take a look at how the festival’s programme is for everyone – from curious kids to grown-up science fans!

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Running from 26 March to 10 April 2016, EISF is the UK’s largest science festival (plus, fun fact – it was also the world’s very first) with over 270 events exploring the wonder, fun and fascination of all aspects of science.

So however old you are, or feel, here’s just a selection of the great events on offer!

Tots (3-6)

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It’s never too early for children to start to find out about the amazing world around them, which is why the Festival takes over the City Art Centre for a fortnight. There’s all sorts of workshops, shows and interactive activities to keep the wee ones enthralled, in a mixture of bookable and drop-in sessions.

Another great option is Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens which, as well as being a wonderfully scenic spot in general, has lots of fun events for ages 5+, such as Building Better Homes for Animals: A Guide for Humans.

Kids 7-12

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Just as with the smallest children, there’s a fantastic range of science things to occupy older kids, including special themed days like Dino Day and Space Day which are full of fun family activities.

There’s also the opportunity to enjoy two pieces of children’s theatre, specially commissioned by the Science Festival in association with Imaginate.

Audiences can interact with a real ‘live’ robot to help Ada save her friend O.K.A.Y. in Borderline Theatre Company’s Uncanny Valley, or follow the story of a boy and girl fascinated by the story of almost 30,000 bath toys accidentally dumped in the ocean, in Lost at Sea from Catherine Wheels.

Teens (13-17)

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If your teen has a fascination with all things icky, then he or she is sure to love Zombie Science: Brain of the Dead, a spoof lecture from Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies taking them inside the brains of Hollywood’s half-dead horrors.

Or, for a chance to get hands-on in a less gruesome way, why not try Solder On, Wearable Circuits or Make a Silver Ring, three great workshops allowing teens to learn about how to solder electronics, create wearable tech and (you’ve guessed it) make their own silver ring, with jeweller Scarlett Erskine.

Young Adults (18+)

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Those with lots of energy should check our Dr Peter Lovatt’s Let’s redesign the world, and dance, where a different world is imagined, one where dancing is held in as high esteem as medicine and the potential physical and mental health benefits.

Plus, there’s a chance to cut some rug yourself with the ever-popular Big Bang Bash, where as well as a space-themed Science Ceilidh and a DJ set from Kid Canaveral, there are chances to build a Mars colony with Lego, discover the wonders of the solar system and enjoy space-themed cocktails from the Bar at the End of the Universe! Don’t have 42 of them though…

Grown-up science

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While the Festival is certainly there to make the subject fun and accessible, it’s about serious science as well, with top experts in their fields on hand to illuminate and inspire.

For instance, there’s Survival of the Century, a discussion with Lord Martin Rees, Fellow of Trinity College, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge and former President of the Royal Society, on how and if humanity can make it as far as 2100.

And on a lighter note (with hints of blackberry and plum…) there’s Adventures in Viticulture, where food ambassador Christopher Trotter will challenge common assumptions on wine – does it matter whether it’s a cork or screw top, could we ever have vineyards in Scotland and is expensive wine really better?

These are just some of the 270+ events at the 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival. Find out more about the Festival including links to the programme and ticketing details.

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