Below are the listings lorthe Edinburgh Science Festival, 6—16 Apr. Note that some at the special events and exhibitions published in the last issue are still running. For prices (where not shown), booking details. and general queries, contact the Science Festival Box Oltice (031 226 5138). Open Mon-Sat mam-6.30pm; Sun 2pm—6.30pm.
I It’s All In the Stars Royal Lyceum. Grindlay Street. 9—12 Apr. 10.30am and 2pm. £5 (£2.50). A play aimed at explaining some basic science to school children. Well-received.
I Film Festival Lothian Road. 031 228 2688. A series of films covering a wide spectrum of science themes. (see film pages for previews).
Altered States and The Crazies (double bill) 6 Apr. 6.45pm. £3. 7 Apr. 2.3()pm.£2. The Fly and Shlvers (double bill). 6Apr. 11pm £2.
The 1000 eyes of Dr Mabuse Apr 106.30pm £2. and 8.30pm £3. Apr 1 1. 3pm £8.30.
I John Barleycorn and Mailing Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre. Royal Mile. 7.30pm. £1 (50p). Burns‘ poem andthe malting process are considered by Dr Geoffrey Palmer.
I Computerised Food Labels Queen Margaret College, 36 Clerwood Terrace. 2pm. Andrew Robinson discusses the development and applications ofa computerised system for food manufacturers so that legally correct labels can be automatically produced in any language.
I Luminescence. Lipids. and Labels Royal Museum of Scotland. Chambers Street. 2.30pm. Prof David Phillips will consider how luminescence can be used to study lipid systems. lipids beingimportant constituents of foodstuffs. and ﬂuorescent ‘labelling' techniques.
I The Drought Deliers Mountbatten Building. Grassmarket. 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Dr Scarlett Epstein takes a look at how camels have been bred to produce milk during droughts in famine-prone countries in Africa and Pakistan.
I Food Irradiation: Facts or Fiction? Royal Museum of Scotland. Chambers Street. 3.45pm. Dr Palsan Loaharanu attemptsto answer the most commonly raised questions about food irradiation. and then takes a look at the worldwide application of the technology.
I Food. Physics and Frivolities Royal Society. 22—2-1 George Street. 6.30pm. A discussion about the connection between science and eating. and a look at how to minimise constraints such as economic. health. social and religious reasons on enjoyment of food.
I How Can We Change Our Eating Habits? Royal Museum of Scotland. Chambers Street. 10.30am. Jan de Vries covers modern dietary problems. the importance ofa healthy diet to prevent illness. and mental behaviour and its relation to food. I Foul Contagion Mountbatten Building. Grassmarket. 5.30pm. The risks and control of diseases transmitted from animals to man like salmonellosis and listeriosis. explained by Dr l.D. Aitken. I Growing Crops in a Global Greenhouse Mountbatten Building. Grassmarket. 10.30am. Dr David Hand tells how world-wide production of carbon dioxide is turning the globe into a gigantic field trial for the technique of boosting carbon dioxide levels in commercial greenhouses to increase crop production.
I Trees tor Food. Fuel and Fertiliser Mountbatten Building. Grassmarket.
PLANET OF THE PDMEGRANATES
In the last decade, the Voyager spacecratts have revolutionised our knowledge of the outer giant planets oi the Solar System. In ‘Voyage to Neptune’ (Mon 9, see listings), Nigel Henbest, television astronomer and popular science writer, will describe our spectacular new views at Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and, in particular, Neptune which Voyager tinally reached last August.
‘Belore this,’ Henbest explains, ‘we knew virtually nothing about Neptune.’ Previously, the outermost planets were thought to be inert and changeless worlds. ‘One surprise has been the appearance at immensely poweriul weather systems. As weather on Earth seems to be mainly driven by energy from the sun, we expected that Neptune, being so lar lrom the Sun, would have very little variable, energetic weather. Uranus, which is similar in size and closerto the Sun, has very bland features, without clouds or spots.’ But Voyager 2 revealed a huge ’dark spot’ against Neptune’s blue haze, which is a hurricane as large as the Earth. ‘Winds of up to 700 miles per hourwhisk round the planet-these are the fastest in the Solar System. This shows that we understand weather less well than we thought—there may be lessons to learn lor weather on Earth lrom Neptune.’
Voyager 2 has shown that Triton, Neptune’s largest moon, is just as interesting as its parent planet. ‘It is a little smallerthan our own moon, and it
has a strange surface, which looks like a wrinkled pomegranate.’ The surlace is as bright as lresh snow, and pink ice caps the poles. ‘This is actually methane ice’, continues Henbest, ‘which probably evaporates in Triton’s summer. The biggest surprise about Triton is that there are active volcanoes, powered by lrozen nitrogen, which blast darker material lrom underneath around live miles into the atmosphere. There are a lew theories as to why this happens and we’re not sure which is right— it’s weird, anyway.’
Pictures of Triton’s pink ice caps and active volcanoes will be among many at Voyager’s views which will illustrate the talk.
As the back view at Neptune laded in the distance, Voyager 2 linished its task. Although there is one planet further out lrom the Sun, the frozen gas planet Pluto, itwill not lie in Voyager's path. So now the spacecralt just drills oil into silent black space. The mission may not be entirely complete, though, as both Voyager cralts carry recordings ol Jimmy Carter’s message oi welcome to aliens they might encounterwhen they reach the distant stars. It’s not really worth hanging around for a reply though —that won’t be lor another 40,000 years.
The mapping of the distant stars is the subject or ‘The Lamps Oi Atlantis' (Mon 9, see listings), in which Prolessor Archie Roy will investigate the origins ol the constellations. These were named at the dawn ol history by people who recognised images at their mythological heroes and legendary creatures in the patterns of stars in the night sky. But when and where was this done, and who were the constellation-makers? How could the Greek poet Aratus describe a sky which he could not see and which had ceased to exist 2000 years belore him on the ever-changing celestial sphere? Archie Roy will explain how the great catastrophe which destroyed Minoan Crete played its part. (Hazel Muir)
12.30pm. i’roflanet Sprent and DrJoan Sutherland on the benefits ofgrowing plants which possess the ability to ‘fix' nitrogen directly from the air instead of through fertilisers to produce food in many of the arid and semi-arid areas ofthe tropics.
I Agriculture in the next litteen years Royal Museum of Scotland. Chambers Street. 5.15pm. Prof Wilson identifies key issues and the probable course ofevents that will determine the shape of the agricultural scene in the 21stcentury.
I Hhum: Discovery and Excavation Royal Overseas League. 100 Princes Street: 7pm. Caroline Wickham-Jones tells the story of the uncovering ofthe site of Rhum. on Scotland's west coast.
I The Geometry ol Soap Films and Soap Bubbles Geography Department. Drummond Street. 2pm. free. Dr Cyril Isenberg will talk about creating soap bubbles and films. including the construction of a ‘bubble cube'.
I Magnetic Travels Mountbatten Building. Grassmarket. 2.30pm. Dr Margaret Klinowska explains how whales. dolphins and porpoises can use the magnetic field of the Earth to aid their travels.
I Population, Energy and Food: Past, Present. and Future Royal Museum of Scotland. Chambers Street. 7.30pm. The constraints of disease. restricted energy
supplies and inefficient food production have been lifted from humans to such an extent that the population is now exploding. Dr Eric Voice considers energy and food strategies to make life tolerable for humanity in the next century.
I Colour Royal College of Physicians. 0 Queen Street. 7.30pm. l’rofCharles Taylor explains with the helpof experiments how different the world would appear if we could only see in black and white.
I A Matter 01 Taste Scotch Whisky- Heritage Centre. Royal Mile. experiment l().30am—5pm. lecture 3.30pm. £1 .50. over 18s only. Dr Piggott conductsan experiment on taste and smell with the help of the public who can key in their perceptions on a computer as they sample various whiskies. He will lecture on human senses. food quality. and discuss the experimental results.
I The Litmus Test Royal Botanic Garden. lnverleith Row . 6.45pm. Tickets free from BBC Reception. 27 Thistle Street. Edinburgh or at venue. Radio Scotland‘s popular science quiz with Heather Couper. Nigel Henbest. Howard Firth and Robert Ralph.
I Art and Science: The Point ol intersection Richard Demarco Gallery. 17 21
Blackfriars Street. 2.30pm. £2. The common ground between art and science will be discussed in this debate. includinga psychologist. a geologist and an art critic. I Music Workshops and Concert Netherbow Arts Centre. Workshops: 11am and 3pm. Concert 7.30pm.Tickets: 031 556 957‘). workshops £4 (£2.50) concert £3. Soundstrata interprets all kinds of music. from classical to rock using up to the minute technology. The workshop sessions will concentrate on a computer composition and improvisation performance for beginners. The evening concert will include new works by Reuben Taylor and Alladyce Mallon. and will also feature Janet Beat‘s ‘Aztec Myth’ for mezzo-soprano and tape.
I Good Health lrom Britain’s Orchards French Institute. 13 Randolph Crescent. 12.20pm. David Kitton tells the story of cider. its traditions and origins.
I FOOd for Plants Royal Botanic Garden. lnverleith Row. 10am. free. RonSpiers looks at how we feed plants. and goeson an informal tour of the Royal Botanic Garden to illustrate points.
I New Views ot Star Formation Royal Museum of Scotland. Chambers Street. 10.30am. Dr Glenn White reviewsour basic knowledge of star formation. and shows how recent advances have altered our ideas.
I The Passed and The Present: The Archaeology ol Excrement Royal Museum of Scotland. Chambers Street. 2.30pm. Archaeologists can learn much from ancient human and other animal excrement. as well-preserved human bodies. Not for the squeamish.
I Edinburgh Lecture and Presentation of the Edinburgh Medal Signet Library. 7.30pm. ProfGouId will receive the Edinburgh Medal for his work in evolutionary biology and deliver his Edinburgh Lecture on the theme Science and Society.
I A Century of Stardom Royal Museum of Scotland. Chambers Street. 7.30pm. TV astronomer Heather Couper will look at some highlights of the first hundred years of the British Astronomical Society.
I Monsters and Mad Scientists Filmhouse. Lothian Road. 3.30pm. £2.80. Andrew Tudor looks at the changing face ofscience as portrayed through the cinema.
I Fruits ol the Forest Royal Botanic Garden. lnverleith Rovy',2.3llprtt—5pn1£4. A talk on some of the exotic fruits we can harvest. including a chance tosample some of them.
I Voyage to Neptune Royal Museum of Scotland. Chambers Street. 10.30am. A look at the remarkable discoveriesof Voyagers l and 2 during their grand tour of the solar system. Astronomer Nigel Henbest's talk will be lavishly illustrated. I Sun. Stones and Speculation Mountbatten Building. Grassmarket. 10.30am. Archie Roy asks about the purpose of the stone circles erected in hundreds of places all over Britain. Ireland and Northern France by megalithic man.
I The Search lor Gravitiational Waves Mountbatten Building. Grassmarket. 13.20pm. l’rol James Hough asks w by w e look for the mysterious gravitational waves which are probably cansed by violent supernova explosions in deep space.
I The Lamps olAtlantis Mountbatten Building. Grassmarket. 2.30pm. Who put the constellations in the sky '.’ Why 2’ When'.’ Archie Roy tells “an astronomical detective story.‘
I Inside the Stars Mountbatten Budding. Grassmarket. 5.30pm. Dr Richard Carson explains the life-cycle ot a star w ith a look at such phenomena as supergiants. white dwarfs and black holes.
The List (1- IL) April won 71