Edinburgh International Science Festival

Fri 7-Tue 78 Apr. Various Venues.

The Edinburgh International Science Festival is upon us once more, posing an array of mind-boggling questions and investi ating the most interesting advances in science and technology. You can fin talks, workshops, films and exhibitions happening every single day of the festival; for further information and tickets call 0131 473 2070. Detailed below are a selection of daily highlights, but be sure to pick up a brochure for full listings, or call the programme hotline on 09067 303001 (calls charged at £1 per minute to cover p & p).

Lessons In Deceptio Technopolis@Adam House, Tue ll—Thu 13 Apr.

Since Penn and Teller started taking the magic out of, well, magic, in their glossy TV exposes, you might well think that you know all there is to know about magicians. You'd be wrong, and two men at the Edinburgh International Science Festival are prepared to show you why. On the surface Peter Lamont and Robert Wiseman appear as two ordinary academics working in the field of Psychology, but they hide a deep, dark secret both are former professional magicians. Last year they wowed the crowds at the festival with their show Séance, which took place in the highly atmospheric Mary King's Close. This year's all-new show Lessons In Deception occurs in the more cheerful setting of Adam House, but the content should still send shivers down your spine.

Lamont aims to illustrate 'ways in which we can be deceived in an educational and entertaining manner,’ but promises it's not just a show and tell affair. ’Lessons In Deception Wlii not be a simple expose that would be too dull,’ he assures. Instead you can expect to witness a Victorian spirit-rapping session, marvel at the exploits of a flea circus and discover some of the more curious ways in which audiences can be deceived.

Both men are well qualified to offer their opinions, with Wiseman turning up on BBC’s Out Of This World With Carol Vorderman (credibility by association, obviously) while Lamont’s dedication has taken him to India in search of the Indian Rope Trick. They propose that the real secret to deception is psychology, Minors and trapdoors aSide, the magician can deceive you because he knows where you are looking and what you are thinking’. Elementary, my dear Watson. (Louisa Pearson).

Are We Alone? Fri 7 Apr, 7pm. £4 (£2.50). Royal Museum, 2 Chambers Street, 473 2070. ()ne of life's bigger questions goes under the microscope as Dr Monica M. Grady looks at evidence for life outwith our little planet, in the RSSA Annual Science Festival Lecture. The Brain Fri 7—Sun ‘) Apr. 7—8.30pm. £6 (£4). Adam House, 3 Chambers Street, 473 2070. Blurring the edges of scientific fact and theatrical fiction. Forkbeard Fantasy‘s latest show takes you on a journey of discovery inside the old grey matter. Created by l-‘orkbeard‘s


Millennium Spring Flower Show Sat l—Sun 2 Apr, 11am—5pm. £1.50 (50p). Royal Botanic Garden, Inverleith Row, 552 7171. The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society present this colourful show in the Caledonian Hall.

Sport Rugby Scotland V England Sun 2

writer/director Paul B Davies -— with a little help from neuroscientist Dr Emil Toescu The Brain blends comedy, theatre and film with a host of gadgets and visual trickery.

Mars - The Once And Future World Sat 8 Apr, 6—7pm. £4 (£2.50). Royal Museum, 2 Chambers Street, 473 2070. Our fascination with the red planet comes under the spotlight at this talk, posing the question could Martian meteorites have created Earth‘s life-forms or, to put it another way, are we all, strictly speaking, Martians?

Apr, 2pm. Murrayfield Stadium, Riversdale Crescent, 346 5000. The Rugby Five Nations Cup continues as Scotland take on England.


Storytelling Scotland Lecture Thu 30 Mar, 2.30pm. Free. Netherbow Arts Centre, 43—45 High Street, 556 9579/2647. The final talk in this series is entitled Reinventing Scotland: Writers, Filmmakers and Historians.

Thin But Getting Fatter Sat 8 Apr, 5.45pm. £4 (£2.50). David Hume Tower, George Square, 473 2070. Not a talk about the nation’s eating habits, but rather a look at artificially produced materials which grow fatter when stretched. These groundbreaking materials have a wealth of potential uses, from body armour to packagin .

Can Bioengineered Bugs Bufid A Better Bicycle? Sun 9 Apr, 6—7pm. £4 (£2.50). Royal Museum, 2 Chambers Street, 473 2070. Advances in genetic engineering are creating bacteria which process metals, ceramics and plastics. Learn more about these environmentally friendly labour-saving devices.

Strike Up The Band! Sun 9 Apr, 7.45pm. £4 (£2.50). David Hume Tower, George Square, 473 2070. What happens to a fiddle when it’s filled with water? This is just one of the intriguing questions examined by Dr Murray Campbell, musician and physicist, when he looks at how sounds are produced. Celestial Real Estate Mon 10 Apr, 6—7pm. £4 (£2.50). Royal Museum, 2 Chambers Street, 473 2070. Launching a space probe is a serious business, and this talk looks at the most desirable areas for celestial missions.

Brave New Babies Tue 11 Apr, 5.30—7pm. Free. Royal Museum, 2 Chambers Street, 473 2070. With supermodels selling their eggs over the intemet there’s no doubt that parents are increasingly able to choose their future child’s characteristics (should they so desire). A panel of experts will lead the debate following a screening of Channel 5’s Perfect Babies.

Natural Disasters - Friend Or Foe? Tue 11 Apr, 7.45pm. £4 (£2.50). David Hume Tower, George Square, 473 2070.

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Collapsing black holes and meteor strikes are just two of the many violent natural events which threaten life on Earth. But some of these dramatic processes can be beneficial, as Professor John Brown explains.

Lessons in Deception Tue 11—Thu 13 Apr. 12.30pm, 3.30pm & 7pm. £3 daytime/£5 evening. Adam House, 3 Chambers Street, 473 2070. Peter Lamont and Richard Wiseman present an entirely original show demonstrating the psychological and scientific principles behind magic. See panel.

The Physics of Star Trek Wed 12 Apr, 7—8pm. £4 (£2.50). George Square Theatre, University Of Edinburgh, George Square, 473 2070. From beam me up, Scotty to warp speed ahead, Star Trek created a world of scientific possibilities. Professor Lawrence Krauss explains how Captain Kirk’s universe stacks up against the real one. See photo caption.

Visions Of The Future Wed 12 Apr, 8pm. £5 (£3). The Hub, Castlehill, Royal Mile, 473 2070. A panel of “visionaries’ lead what promises to be a colourful discussion into what the future holds. Will time travel and quantum teleportation be all the ra e?

The Creation Of The Universe Thu 13 Apr, 6.30pm. £4 (£2.50). George Square Theatre, University Of Edinburgh, George Square, 473 2070. Get up to date on the current theories on the origins of our world at this lecture.

The World of Micro-Robots Thu 13 Apr, 5.45—6.45pm. £4 (£2.50). Royal Museum, 2 Chambers Street, 473 2070. Tiny submarines which deliver drugs inside the body are just one fascinating example of the world of micro-robots. Find out more at this lecture.

When Gene Roddenberry created his classic 19605 space-age horse opera, little did he know it would end up under scrutiny by eminent physicists. But that's exactl what has happened, and Professor Lawrence Krauss is the man who'll e giving an expert opinion on what the series editors got right - and wrong. From Captain Kirk's phaser to Scotty's unreliable transporter this is your chance to boldly go where no person has gone


The Physics of Star Trek, Wed 12 Apr, 7—8pm. £4 (£2.50). George Square Theatre, University Of Edinburgh, George Square, 473 2070.

The Scottish Forestry Strategy Wed 5 Apr, 7.30pm. £2 (£1). Greens Hotel, 24 Eglinton Crescent, 557 6238. Richard Broadhurst of the Forestry Commission leads a talk about this strategy, which looks set to have a major influence on the development of woodland management in Scotland.

Cultural Connections: Scotland And The Norse Countries Mon 10 Apr, 7pm. Free. Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, 225 4825. A talk by broadcaster

and commentator Billy Kay.

Cafe Scientifique Tue 11 Apr, 7—9pm. Free. lnstitut Francais d’Ecosse, 13 Randolph Crescent, 225 5366. Science Fact vs Science Fiction is the topic for discussion at the French Institute. Has scientific fact overtaken fiction or vice versa? Stick your oar in. Part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

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30 Mar—l3 Apr 2000 THE lIST 85