Power up The Ideas Factory with Edinburgh International Science Festival

 

Power up The Ideas Factory with Edinburgh International Science Festival
In 2015 Edinburgh International Science Festival transforms into The Ideas Factory - a hub for information, ideas and innovation. Audiences are invited to get their thinking caps on as big ideas transform the halls, galleries, theatres and gardens of Edinburgh from 4 - 19 April. 
Brainwaves - a series examining the mysteries of Brain, Mind & Consciousness 
Light & Enlightenment - UN International Year of Light 2015 illuminates Scotland’s greatest minds 
GastroFest - our mini-festival about the science of food and drink returns
Energy & Environment - a series debating our global climate future featuring IPCC Chair 
Dr Rajendra Pachauri
Numbers That Matter - probing big data and the stats behind our lives
The Reading Experiment - a celebration of science writing in all its forms 
How the Light Gets In - an exhibition showcasing artists working with light
Moral Philosopher Mary Midgley announced as recipient of the Edinburgh Medal 2015  
Nobel Prize winner Prof Peter Higgs heads a list of world-leading scientists and speakers 
Science Festival launches #SciPals half-price scheme for students supported by Siemens 
Amanda Tyndall, Deputy Director of Edinburgh International Science Festival, said: “This year’s Science Festival will celebrate enlightened thinking and doing by drawing together shining lights from the fields of science, technology, engineering, philosophy, the arts and beyond, to mull over some of the big ideas, issues and challenges of our time. But it’s not all serious stuff – there are plenty of sociable science opportunities, with events on everything from to gaming to gin, and beauty to beer”. 
In 2015 the Science Festival focuses on big ideas and brings together great minds from different disciplines - from makers of new inventions and political policy, to world-class scientists and ground-breaking artists. The programme unites pioneering thinkers and aims to foster dialogue about the future of our culture, nation, planet and global understanding. With events examining urgent questions across a wide range of issues – food, health, energy, environment, mind, art, numbers – the Science Festival calls on audiences to engage with the vital ideas of today and tomorrow. 
Leading scientists appearing at the Festival include Edinburgh-based Nobel Prize winner Prof Peter Higgs, physicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and Gaia Theorist James Lovelock, alongside broadcasters Jim Al-Khalili (BBC’s Light and Dark), Hermione Cockburn (BBC’s Coast), Simon Watt (Channel 4’s Natures Giants) and Helen Keen (BBC Radio 4) who join professionals from a range of other disciplines to debate and generate new ideas around a huge range of topics. Scottish superstar trials rider and Red Bull athlete Danny MacAskill talks about the nature of focus and what drives him to achieve extraordinary feats (12 April), former hostage Terry Waite joins neuroscientist Sir Colin Blakemore to discuss his experience in captivity in an event exploring mental resilience (9 April), and best-selling author Matt Haig discusses his experience with depression and using mindfulness as a tool for mental well-being (6 April). 
In December 2015, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will meet in Paris for the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference. Billed as a make or break international effort to curb global warming, this landmark event serves as a focus for the Energy & Environment series, sponsored by E.ON. Keynote event The Road to Paris features outgoing Chair of the IPCC and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr Rajendra Pachauri in discussion with experts and policy makers about the global issues at stake this December, including Scottish Minister for Environment and Climate Change Dr Aileen McLeod MSP. Closer to home, two highly topical debates consider Scotland’s energy future – Black Gold, White Lies? The Truth about North Sea Oil (14 April) investigates how much oil is really left in the North Sea, and what its worth could truly mean to Scotland, while Engineering Our Energy Future: To Frack Or Not To Frack? (9 April) considers each side of the fracking debate and the Scottish Government’s recent moratorium on the matter. 
In Brainwaves, the Festival partners with the British Neuroscience Association - as they bring their 50th biennial conference to Edinburgh for the first time - to present a series exploring brain, mind and consciousness. Two keynote public lectures form the centre of this series: in Why Scotland should lead the Neuroscientific Enlightenment (12 April) Prof David Nutt, former UK Government Advisor on Drug policy, will reflect on the regulation of drugs and alcohol policy in Scotland, and calls for a reappraisal of societal attitudes to harmful drugs, and in The Search for Consciousness: detecting awareness in the vegetative state (12 April) Dr Adrian Owen will examine how improvements in human brain imaging changed how we perceive consciousness, with MRI scanning now able to detect cognitive activity in patients once thought to be in vegetative states. Other events include Gender and the Brain (10 April), examining if there such a thing as a ‘male’ or ‘female’ brain, Neuroethics On Trial (10 April) – where the audience turns jury to judge a panel of experts debating whether brain imaging should be admissible in a court of law, we host a special screening of Alex Garland’s critically acclaimed Ex Machina (16 April) with a discussion hosted by BBC broadcaster Dr Alex Rutherford, who acted as scientific consultant to the film, and there’s even a Neuroscience Ceilidh (17 April) from scientist and fiddle player Lewis Hou. 
We celebrate the science of food and drink with the return of mini-festival GastroFest, supported as part of Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015, delivered by VisitScotland and EventScotland. Highlights include science-inspired farmers market SciMart (5 April), an Easter treat for all the family bringing together food producers, researchers and chefs, and featuring demos from award-winning Edinburgh chef Paul Wedgwood. Diners can explore the surprising links between our senses and our taste buds in Sensory Experimentation (9 April) with a series of tasters designed to trick in experiments exploring flavour, scent and texture (9 April), while Give in to Fermentation (15 April) investigates our ongoing fascination with the fermentation process whilst enjoying a series of beer and food pairings. Drink design has now become a science - GastroLab: Molecular Mastery (11 April) unveils the mysteries of molecular mixology with Prof Andrea Sella and drinks developers Zoe Burgess and Max Venning from London's Drinks Factory, and in Gin-omics for Generation Gin (12 April) we examine the distillation secrets behind this rediscovered classic, with a selection of Scottish craft gin tasters. 
The UN International Year of Light 2015 serves as inspiration for Light and Enlightenment, a series exploring the beauty, form and function of light and its role as a metaphor for knowledge and enlightenment. On The Spectrum (13 April) investigates the nature of colour and explores how we use, interact with and understand it, and Light Fantastic (4 April) examines the many meanings of light across the spectrum of culture. A Sense of Wonder (15 April) celebrates a hero of Scottish science, marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of Edinburgh native James Clerk Maxwell’s ground-breaking theory of electromagnetism. A number of talks examine how light has been used throughout the ages as a metaphor for understanding and discovery - The Enlightenment Debate: Hume vs Reid (17 April) brings this idea home to Scotland, examining the legacy and influence of Scotland’s Enlightenment era thinkers – fathers of our intellectual, economic and scientific modern age. 
Far from being the dull end of science and tech, Numbers That Matter highlights how integral statistics are to life in our online information age. Social Media: Spying? Sentiment? Source of Data? (9 April) investigates the realities of social media sharing and asks who truly owns your data, whilst The Computing Universe (14 April) charts the rise of the machine from computing in the 1930s to the modern day. Big Solutions to Big Data (16 April) examines how we capture ‘big data’ and the big challenges and opportunities that come with it, while Australia’s Numeracy Ambassador – and stand-up comedian - Simon Pampena explores the lighter side of maths in The Savant Garde (11 April) - a comedy journey through the hardest maths problems of all time. 
Those looking for an inspiring night out can enjoy our Lates events - where science, music and art collide - starting with the Festival’s Opening Party at City Art Centre (2 April). The programme also features the return of hugely popular sci-creative series LateLab taking in subjects as diverse as the Tron movie series in a special Atmosphere screening at the National Museum of Scotland to complement the Game Masters exhibition (4 April), to a scientific look at beauty at the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland in Beauty by Design (17 April). Elsewhere The Science of Game of Thrones (10 April) asks whether the phenomena present in George R.R. Martin’s epic tales could perhaps be plausible, while Electric Tales: The Science Years (14 April) promises a night of comedy storytelling packed with love, competitions and a healthy dose of weird. Late nights include two special new events – The Big Bang Bash (10 April) presented in partnership with the National Museum of Scotland - an out-of-this-world party celebrating the wonders of space and Full Spectrum (17 April) – the Science Festival’s first ever club night – an audio-visual experience produced with Astrojazz and Adventures in Light.  
The creative crossover continues with a new visual arts exhibition co-curated by the Science Festival, Summerhall and ASCUS Art & Science. How the Light Gets In showcases the work of international artists intrigued by light in all its many facets, and aims to illuminate the workings of our brain, mind and consciousness, celebrating both the Festival’s Brainwaves and Light & Enlightenment programmes. Artists featured include Oliver Jennings, Benjamin Burtenshaw, Collins and Goto, Fraser Ross, Keith Lemley, William Latham, Andrew Carnie, Art Neuro and Julia Malle. 
The Reading Experiment returns to delve into the world of science writing and encourage audiences to engage with its many forms – from popular science to poetry, literary fiction and sci-fi. A series of author talks, workshops and events explores why everyone can enjoy sci-writing:  in The Science of Storytelling winners of the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writers Award discuss how science can bring new inspiration to writers who love it (15 April), whilst Bad Science Books? Jurassic Park takes on the relationship between science fact and science fiction (7 April), and in Forensic Fact Meets Forensic Fiction, author Lin Anderson examines the scientific fact behind popular crime writing (5 April). Aside from events, this year’s SciKu poetry competition - launching March 2015 – asks entrants to create a ‘science haiku’ about the wonder of light and will be transforming a community phone box on Portobello High Street into a hub for SciKu sharing. 
The Science Festival also remains the perfect Easter Holiday adventure for families. The City Art Centre will again be transformed into a scientific playground, with lots of activities new for 2015: kids can enter the Carnival of the Mind to discover the secrets of their brain, enjoy science storytelling with Timmy the Turbine and explore our new Under 5s Science Trail. Over at Summerhall, families can enjoy an expanded series of interactive science shows and workshops, with more on offer for older children and teenagers. Children can make their own LED badges in Gadget Factory (9 April) find out how a lightsaber works in The Science of Star Wars (12 & 13 April) and dissect a toy mind in Robot Brain Surgery (14 April). Older visitors can immerse themselves in the how-to world of tech, with workshops on everything from electronics and soldering, to coding and video game design. Two new special themed days also group family activities together – in Dino Day (4 April) features robotic dinosaurs, Velma the Velociraptor, a dinosaur-dig, dino dressing-up and a special dino Easter-egg hunt. On Space Day, (12 April) scientist Marcus Chown will talk about the wonders of the universe, with demos from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Rocket in your Pocket science busking, space-suit dressing-up and a planetarium. Other family events around the city include hands on workshops at the National Museum of Scotland where their Lab Rats (7-11 April) have travelled to space and back, a Columbian jungle-themed expedition at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and the University of Edinburgh also presents a packed programme of events for families at the National Museum of Scotland. 
The Edinburgh International Science Festival runs from Saturday 4 to Sunday 19 April 2015. Full details of the 2015 programme can be found at sciencefestival.co.uk. Tickets for all events can be booked online via the website or through the Box Office on 0844 557 2686 from 11am Thursday 19 February 2015. 
Other Highlights
Light Works – The Festival’s large-scale photography exhibition returns to St Andrew Square, with a brand-new exhibit organised by the Royal Photographic Society in celebration of the UN International Year of Light 2015. Light Works is a virtual journey through the electromagnetic spectrum from gamma rays to radio waves, showing how different kinds of light is used in science, technology and medicine, with fifty images taking us from inside the human body to the very edges of space. 
Open daily from Tuesday 3 March to Friday 17 April 2015, 8am–6pm. Entry is un-ticketed and free of charge.  
The Curiosity Mars Rover - A scale model of the Curiosity Mars Rover - NASA’s most technologically complex and famous rover - will be on display in the Grand Gallery of the National Museum of Scotland throughout the Festival. Visitors will discover the features that allow the rover to explore the planet’s surface and how it’s working to determine if Mars has ever had an environment suitable for life. The Curiosity Mars Rover was virtually designed and tested using Siemens software and demonstrates how the power of engineering can help overcome the universe’s greatest challenges.
The Edinburgh Medal - The 2015 Edinburgh Medal is awarded to moral philosopher Mary Midgely. Over the past 30 years, her writings have informed debates concerning animal rights, the environment and evolutionary theory. Mary was a senior lecturer in Philosophy at Newcastle University and wrote her first book, Beast and Man, when she was in her fifties. She has since published over fifteen books, including Animals and Why They Matter, Science and Salvation and Evolution as a Religion. Mary will appear in three events celebrating her life and work at this year’s Science Festival, the Edinburgh Medal Address (7 April), The Whispering Mind (8 April)  and a special In Conversation event with leading environmentalist and originator of Gaia theory, James Lovelock, at The Queen’s Hall (8 April). 
Lunchtime Science – Our popular lunchtime series are back again giving audiences ideas to snack on during their lunch hour in two series of hour-long sessions. Oxford University Press’ author talks series A Very Short Introduction to... returns, covering everything from coral reefs to global catastrophes, whilst Healthy Lunches explores the health-related topics of Motor Neurone Disease, Crohn’s, allergies and obesity. 
Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire – The Science Festival presents the third Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire at Summerhall on Sunday 19 April. This all-day, family-friendly event echoes the ethos of The Ideas Factory, featuring many of the UK’s most innovative and resourceful makers, showcasing skills and sharing their work in everything from traditional crafting to digital technologies. 
#SciPals Student Ticket Scheme –the Festival launches #SciPals, a brand new scheme for students in full-time education offering them half-price tickets on a huge range of events. Students can now enjoy a lunchtime talk for just £2.50 or an evening out for as little as £4. Supported by Siemens.

In 2015 Edinburgh International Science Festival transforms into The Ideas Factory - a hub for information, ideas and innovation. Audiences are invited to get their thinking caps on as big ideas transform the halls, galleries, theatres and gardens of Edinburgh from 4 - 19 April. 
Brainwaves - a series examining the mysteries of Brain, Mind & Consciousness 

Light & Enlightenment - UN International Year of Light 2015 illuminates Scotland’s greatest minds 

GastroFest - our mini-festival about the science of food and drink returns

Energy & Environment - a series debating our global climate future featuring IPCC Chair Dr Rajendra Pachauri

Numbers That Matter - probing big data and the stats behind our lives

The Reading Experiment - a celebration of science writing in all its forms 

How the Light Gets In - an exhibition showcasing artists working with light• Moral Philosopher Mary Midgley announced as recipient of the Edinburgh Medal 2015  

Nobel Prize winner Prof Peter Higgs heads a list of world-leading scientists and speakers 

Science Festival launches #SciPals half-price scheme for students supported by Siemens 
Amanda Tyndall, Deputy Director of Edinburgh International Science Festival, said: “This year’s Science Festival will celebrate enlightened thinking and doing by drawing together shining lights from the fields of science, technology, engineering, philosophy, the arts and beyond, to mull over some of the big ideas, issues and challenges of our time. But it’s not all serious stuff – there are plenty of sociable science opportunities, with events on everything from to gaming to gin, and beauty to beer”. 

In 2015 the Science Festival focuses on big ideas and brings together great minds from different disciplines - from makers of new inventions and political policy, to world-class scientists and ground-breaking artists. The programme unites pioneering thinkers and aims to foster dialogue about the future of our culture, nation, planet and global understanding. With events examining urgent questions across a wide range of issues – food, health, energy, environment, mind, art, numbers – the Science Festival calls on audiences to engage with the vital ideas of today and tomorrow. 

Leading scientists appearing at the Festival include Edinburgh-based Nobel Prize winner Prof Peter Higgs, physicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and Gaia Theorist James Lovelock, alongside broadcasters Jim Al-Khalili (BBC’s Light and Dark), Hermione Cockburn (BBC’s Coast), Simon Watt (Channel 4’s Natures Giants) and Helen Keen (BBC Radio 4) who join professionals from a range of other disciplines to debate and generate new ideas around a huge range of topics.

Scottish superstar trials rider and Red Bull athlete Danny MacAskill talks about the nature of focus and what drives him to achieve extraordinary feats (12 April), former hostage Terry Waite joins neuroscientist Sir Colin Blakemore to discuss his experience in captivity in an event exploring mental resilience (9 April), and best-selling author Matt Haig discusses his experience with depression and using mindfulness as a tool for mental well-being (6 April). 

In December 2015, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will meet in Paris for the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference. Billed as a make or break international effort to curb global warming, this landmark event serves as a focus for the Energy & Environment series, sponsored by E.ON. Keynote event The Road to Paris features outgoing Chair of the IPCC and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr Rajendra Pachauri in discussion with experts and policy makers about the global issues at stake this December, including Scottish Minister for Environment and Climate Change Dr Aileen McLeod MSP. Closer to home, two highly topical debates consider Scotland’s energy future – Black Gold, White Lies? The Truth about North Sea Oil (14 April) investigates how much oil is really left in the North Sea, and what its worth could truly mean to Scotland, while Engineering Our Energy Future: To Frack Or Not To Frack? (9 April) considers each side of the fracking debate and the Scottish Government’s recent moratorium on the matter. 

In Brainwaves, the Festival partners with the British Neuroscience Association - as they bring their 50th biennial conference to Edinburgh for the first time - to present a series exploring brain, mind and consciousness. Two keynote public lectures form the centre of this series: in Why Scotland should lead the Neuroscientific Enlightenment (12 April) Prof David Nutt, former UK Government Advisor on Drug policy, will reflect on the regulation of drugs and alcohol policy in Scotland, and calls for a reappraisal of societal attitudes to harmful drugs, and in The Search for Consciousness: detecting awareness in the vegetative state (12 April) Dr Adrian Owen will examine how improvements in human brain imaging changed how we perceive consciousness, with MRI scanning now able to detect cognitive activity in patients once thought to be in vegetative states. Other events include Gender and the Brain (10 April), examining if there such a thing as a ‘male’ or ‘female’ brain, Neuroethics On Trial (10 April) – where the audience turns jury to judge a panel of experts debating whether brain imaging should be admissible in a court of law, we host a special screening of Alex Garland’s critically acclaimed Ex Machina (16 April) with a discussion hosted by BBC broadcaster Dr Alex Rutherford, who acted as scientific consultant to the film, and there’s even a Neuroscience Ceilidh (17 April) from scientist and fiddle player Lewis Hou. 

We celebrate the science of food and drink with the return of mini-festival GastroFest, supported as part of Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015, delivered by VisitScotland and EventScotland. Highlights include science-inspired farmers market SciMart (5 April), an Easter treat for all the family bringing together food producers, researchers and chefs, and featuring demos from award-winning Edinburgh chef Paul Wedgwood. Diners can explore the surprising links between our senses and our taste buds in Sensory Experimentation (9 April) with a series of tasters designed to trick in experiments exploring flavour, scent and texture (9 April), while Give in to Fermentation (15 April) investigates our ongoing fascination with the fermentation process whilst enjoying a series of beer and food pairings. Drink design has now become a science - GastroLab: Molecular Mastery (11 April) unveils the mysteries of molecular mixology with Prof Andrea Sella and drinks developers Zoe Burgess and Max Venning from London's Drinks Factory, and in Gin-omics for Generation Gin (12 April) we examine the distillation secrets behind this rediscovered classic, with a selection of Scottish craft gin tasters. 

The UN International Year of Light 2015 serves as inspiration for Light and Enlightenment, a series exploring the beauty, form and function of light and its role as a metaphor for knowledge and enlightenment. On The Spectrum (13 April) investigates the nature of colour and explores how we use, interact with and understand it, and Light Fantastic (4 April) examines the many meanings of light across the spectrum of culture. A Sense of Wonder (15 April) celebrates a hero of Scottish science, marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of Edinburgh native James Clerk Maxwell’s ground-breaking theory of electromagnetism. A number of talks examine how light has been used throughout the ages as a metaphor for understanding and discovery - The Enlightenment Debate: Hume vs Reid (17 April) brings this idea home to Scotland, examining the legacy and influence of Scotland’s Enlightenment era thinkers – fathers of our intellectual, economic and scientific modern age. 

Far from being the dull end of science and tech, Numbers That Matter highlights how integral statistics are to life in our online information age. Social Media: Spying? Sentiment? Source of Data? (9 April) investigates the realities of social media sharing and asks who truly owns your data, whilst The Computing Universe (14 April) charts the rise of the machine from computing in the 1930s to the modern day. Big Solutions to Big Data (16 April) examines how we capture ‘big data’ and the big challenges and opportunities that come with it, while Australia’s Numeracy Ambassador – and stand-up comedian - Simon Pampena explores the lighter side of maths in The Savant Garde (11 April) - a comedy journey through the hardest maths problems of all time. Those looking for an inspiring night out can enjoy our Lates events - where science, music and art collide - starting with the Festival’s Opening Party at City Art Centre (2 April).

The programme also features the return of hugely popular sci-creative series LateLab taking in subjects as diverse as the Tron movie series in a special Atmosphere screening at the National Museum of Scotland to complement the Game Masters exhibition (4 April), to a scientific look at beauty at the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland in Beauty by Design (17 April). Elsewhere The Science of Game of Thrones (10 April) asks whether the phenomena present in George R.R. Martin’s epic tales could perhaps be plausible, while Electric Tales: The Science Years (14 April) promises a night of comedy storytelling packed with love, competitions and a healthy dose of weird. Late nights include two special new events – The Big Bang Bash (10 April) presented in partnership with the National Museum of Scotland - an out-of-this-world party celebrating the wonders of space and Full Spectrum (17 April) – the Science Festival’s first ever club night – an audio-visual experience produced with Astrojazz and Adventures in Light.  The creative crossover continues with a new visual arts exhibition co-curated by the Science Festival, Summerhall and ASCUS Art & Science.

 

The Edinburgh International Science Festival runs from Saturday 4 to Sunday 19 April 2015.

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