EDINBURGH SCIENCE FESTIVAL
l—The First Edinburgh International Festival ofScience and Technology begins this fortnight, with a series of
events. exhibitions, films and talks. designed to make
. science fun for all sectors of the public. The Lisr‘s
Science Correspondent Simon Gage reports. giving full details and background. He starts by speaking to Prof
‘ Howard Firth. the Festival‘s Director.
was all about mad professors and nutnbcr crunching calculations. be prepared to change your mind. The Edinburgh Festival of Science. the first of its kind in the world. aims to
but there will be visiting astronauts. an exhibition devoted to the sophisticated technology that anirnates Kermit and Miss Piggy. and the intriguineg titled lecture. Why hasn't Scotland Exploded?
At the helm ofthe Festival. which packs over 71) events and 411 exhibitons into 11) days. is director Howard Firth. An ()rcadian by
was responsible for setting up BBC Radio ()rkney in l‘)77. But he has
The First Edinburgh Science Festival runs between 3 and 12 April. Only those events that fall into this issue are recorded here.
The next issue olThe List will carry details of
the end of the Festival. Coverage has been broken down into
Exhibitions and Events. Exhibitions are listed
day then event. Venue numbers reler tothe venue list and map.
Tickets for lectures and events
' are available in advance from the Ticket
Centre. 31/33 Waverley Bridge. Edinburgh.
1 For a daily update on Science Festival
1 information. ring 031228 4756.
Inlormation is accurate, to the best olour
knowledge at time of going to press. bulwe
advise conlirming events with the Festival.
l NB: two editions of the Science Festival Events newspaper exist: make sure you're looking at the second edition!
l i by title first then venue. Events are listed by
lfscience at school left you feeling it
be as lively and as entertaining as the Festival Fringe. There won‘t exactly be bunsen burners in Princes Street.
birth. he graduated in mathematical physics at Edinburgh llniversity and
always retained his love of science. and hopes eventually to go back to it ‘Every spare minute I have now. 1 read physics. just for pleasure.‘
Ilis enthusiasm for his subject comes across in the Festival programme: events have been carefully tailored to appeal both to children and adults. to scientists and non-scientists.
‘I think part of the problem with how science is perceived. is the way in which it has been taught' says Firth. ‘Scientists sometimes make the excuse that being a bad communicator is a necessary consequence of being brilliant. In fact. of course. some very lucid sciencists have also been good teachers.” But there haven‘t perhaps been enough who have been prepared to recognise. as Firth does. that ‘rather than memorising a set of facts you‘re better ol'fgetting out a Meccano set. or a home radio and using your hands.‘
The Festival will be offering plenty ofopportunity for a hands-on approach. especially for children: secondary schools from 1.othian region have been invited to design a vehicle that will travel as far as possible. powered only by the weight ofa 31111 gram egg. and the Discovery Dome promises to explain mysteries like why bath water spirals down the plug-hole in different directions. depending on which hemisphere you are in.
The Festival will also inaugurate the Edinburgh Lecture and the Edinburgh Medal. awarded to recognise work of international significance. This year's speaker is
Professor Abdus Salam who won the
Nobel Prize for Physics in l‘)7‘) for his work on radioactive decay. And with contributors to the Festival coming from Colombia. India. Russia. America and Europe. Firth hopes too that there will be a valuable exchange ofideas. ‘Western science has become crippled by its mechanistic view of the world; everything human or conscious has been ruled out .‘ We need. he suggests. to learn from
00 5 £773,500 iv 6‘)
1. British Geological Survey Murchison l louse. West Mains Road. 667 111011. Bus: 411.42.
2. Caledonian Hotel Princes Street. 225 2433. Btis: 2. 3. 4. 4A.‘). 111. 11)A.11.12. 15.16.17.
3. Chaplaincy Centre l'niversity of lidinburgh. Student Centre. 1 Brislo
Square. 667 1111 1. Bus: 23.
4. City of Edinburgh Art Centre 2 Market Slreel. 225 2424. Bus: any to liast lind of Princes Street.
5. Edinburgh Exhibition
and Trade Centre Inglislon.
33331136. Btis: 1111); Airport Btis from Waverley Bridge.
¢ obit“ g “a; ’3 9 E a mac‘s S2 II a 2 E
6. Edinburgh Science Walks [)epart: Royal Museum of Scotland. Chambers Street. Contact: Annette Drummond-Young. 225 7031. Bus: 4().4l.41A. 42. 61 . 8‘).
7. English Speaking Union Hall 22 Atholl Crescent. 22‘) 1521). Bus: 2. 3. 4.4A. l126.96.36.199.26.3().31. 33.43. 44. 65. 6‘). 73.74. 75. 78. 85.86.
8. Festival Club Universityoflidinburgh. Student 17nion. Bristo Square. 667 11)] 1. Hits: 23 27. 28. 2‘). 41.42.46.
9. Filmhouse I.othian Road. 228’ 2688. Bus: ‘). 188.8.131.52.17.l834. 35. l 10. Fruitmarkel Gallery 2‘) Market Street. 225 2383. Bus: any to East End of Princes Street.
Albert Thomson llall. Chambers Street. 225 8432. Bus: 411.41.41A. 42. 61 . 8‘).
12. Heriot-Watt University (irassmarket. 2256465. Bus: 12.
13. Heriot-Watt University
Currie. 44‘) 51 l 1. Bus: 22.
14. Holyrood Park Bus: 1. 6, 24. ()1.
15. Holyrood Palace Car ParkContact: David
l.and.441755‘). Bus: 1.6.
24.61. 16. Moray House Science Lecture Theatre 1 lolyrood
Road. 556 8455. Bus: 1 . 6.
17. Napier Polytechnic Colinton Road. 444 2266. Bus: 4. 4A. 9. ll). 1(lA.45 47.
18. National Galleries 01 Scotland The Mound. 556 8921. Bus: 184.108.40.206. 45.
other cultures where priorities are
He is worried. too. about how readily science is ignored. ‘We’re at a time when so many major questions of science are on the national agenda but people just aren't listening to what scientists are saying.‘ llis frustration becomes clear as he conjures up nightmarish images of scientists trapped behind thick walls ofglass. ‘shouting at the world but
not being heard.‘
From his paper-strewn desk he produces a cutting from the Times Educational Supplement which
carried out a survey on the percentage of young people in Europe interested in a particular subject. In science the UK came bottom. Nor was there a compensatory interest in anything else. except forone thing: arts. Firth found it very depressing. ‘I can see no kind offuture for this country if young people decide to put the arts as the aim ofall their interests. to the exclusion ofscience. the environment. politics and everything else.' The Festival perhaps. will go some way towards redressing the
26 The List 24 March—6 April 198‘)