Science Festival 2018 - Life, the Universe and Everything
Edinburgh International Science Festival is back for its 30th year, to inspire, delight and provoke with its 2018 programme, themed Life, the Universe and Everything.
As always, the world's first (and Europe's largest) public science festival will feature a huge range of events, exhibitions, workshops, performances and more, all celebrating the diversity of scientific knowledge and development.
The Festival (31 March - 15 April 2018) will use over 30 venues across Edinburgh to deliver almost 270 events, ranging from serious science for grownups to fun family activities and everything in between.
The Science Festival's Creative Director Amanda Tyndall said:
This year’s Festival is a celebration of life, our existence and of the potential that science offers us as individuals as well as for the planet. As always, we deliver this through an incredible programme of hands-on experiments, thought-provoking discussions, dynamic performances, events and exhibitions; all designed to show how important and central science is to shaping and living our lives and inspiring the problem solvers of tomorrow.
It’s our thirtieth festival this year and we appreciate the privileged role we have in delivering not only the world’s longest-running science festival but one of the highlights on the city’s annual calendar of events.
Included in the huge programme of events are:
- Innovative and unusual exhibitions, including a specially built low carbon village in the city centre, an interactive look at the origins and future of life featuring three specially commissioned artworks, and a collection of contemporary art showcasing the work of bio-artists.
- Events and discussions surrounding the ethics of science, covering issues such as the potential uses of genome editing, questions of morality surrounding driverless vehicles, the challenge of managing the digital legacies of lost loved ones and the increasing concern over brain injuries to athletes across a range of sports.
- Examinations of how science, technology and design can improve our lives and the planet's future, including a look at mimicking some of nature's most ingenious 'tech', demonstrating some of the most amazing materials out there and discussing the use of photovoltaics to reach a carbon neutral future.
- Considerations of humanity's impact on life on Earth, and vice versa, including the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year event, an examination of some of the world's most deadly parasites and a panel discussion on intelligence in animals.
- A series of events looking at science's role in humanity's unique social structures, including an exploration of the concept and use of money, a consideration of the secrets of corpses, a look at the future of human sexuality, and ways in which misunderstandings of genetics are being misused for political reasons.
- Ways in which science is responding to concerns over the safety and sustainability of the world and the human race, including a look at living, hunting and foraging in the wilderness, ways to shop ethically, a debate on whether and how humans should try to avoid extinction, and the possibilities of massive geo-engineering.
- Predictions and imaginings about the possibilities of life beyond Earth, with a look at how cheaper space travel might soon be a reality, a discussion of how an encounter with alien life might change our scientific ethics, some ideas for to a new variety of space exploration-related jobs, and a celebration of some of the most remarkable women in the field of astronomy.
As always, the Science Festival will feature a superb range of family events, including the City Art Centre's five floors of fun, full of brilliant hands-on activities for young scientists to get their hands dirty.
Meanwhile at Summerhall, the festival's Experimentarium returns, with events and activities including robot-assisted surgery, an interactive look at the effects of pollution on the body and an exploration of food's effects on our health and wellbeing.
Going beyond the laboratory, the Science Festival also features a range of great cultural events and special activities:
- There's a chance to see this year's Edinburgh Medal presented to Prof Cordelia Fine, author and Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne. Professor Fine will use her Address to discuss her work on the understanding of gender stereotypes and challenging gender perceptions in science.
- For the third year in a row, there's a great programme of science-related theatre for young people, including immersive performance Valentina's Galaxy (ages 2-5), science fiction storytelling show Space Ape (7+), musical comedy The Element in the Room (7+) and promenade performance The Ornithopter (11+)
- There's culture for grownups too with a new interpretation of Kafka's Metamorphosis, plus Nenette, a stunning film utilising timelapse techniques, and a masterclass with award-winning timelapse pioneer Walid Salhab.
- Comedy and entertainment gets in on the act too, with a look at some of the craziest scientific studies ever, standup comedian/voice synthesiser user, Lee Ridley, AKA Lost Voice Guy, and a high-spirited, research-backed, defence of swearing.
- And there are a number of special events, including a large-scale 6 hour social experiment role-playing the end of the world, a live performance of the Deep Time Walk taking a 4.6km tour of Holyrood Park's geological history, and the launch of the 2018 Water of Leith Conservation Trust cleanup.
- Finally, foodies aren't left out, with the return of the ever-popular Gastrofest strand of event, looking at the science of food, plus food economy and shopping behaviours. Among lots else, audiences can find out all about cheesemaking, consider the challenges of baking in zero gravity and look at the bad science behind some of the latest food fads.
The Festival's headline sponsor is EDF Energy, whose Scottish Business Director, Paul Winkle, said:
In the second year of EDF Energy’s headline sponsorship of Edinburgh International Science Festival, I am delighted to see another programme packed full of content which is sure to engage and excite festival-goers.
With sectors like engineering facing a skills gap in the future it is vital that we take every chance during the Year of Young People 2018 to inspire them to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Edinburgh International Science Festival features almost 270 events in 2018, and runs from 31 March to 15 May. The full programme can be viewed or downloaded from the Festival website and tickets are now on sale for all events.
Image of Professor Cordelia Fine - credit: Paul Burston (University of Melbourne),