Edinburgh International Science Festival launches its 2015 programme

Attribution/author:Article by: David Kettle

This year's theme is 'The Ideas Factory', and highlights include GastroFest, LateLabs and Nobel Prize winner Peter Higgs

A neuroscience ceilidh, a celebration of Disney’s Tron, and an exhibition of visual artists working with light – all are among the huge and eclectic programme for this year’s Edinburgh International Science Festival, launched today.

Subtitled ‘The Ideas Factory’ – with the aim of being a hub for information and innovation – the festival has interactive events for children, popular science for those with a passing interest, and a wealth of more serious discussions for science aficionados.

Among the big names taking part this year are Edinburgh-based Nobel Prize winner Peter Higgs, moral philosopher Mary Midgley (who will receive this year’s Edinburgh Medal), and influential Gaia theorist James Lovelock, alongside broadcasters Jim Al-Khalili, Hermione Cockburn, Simon Watt and Helen Keen.

There’s the return of last year’s popular GastroFest, a festival within the festival exploring the science of food and drink, with a SciMart farmers market and events exploring molecular drink design and our fascination with fermentation.

And in the run-up to December 2015’s crucial Paris meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the festival focuses on environmental issues, with a discussion between outgoing IPCC Chair Dr Rajendra Pachauri and Aileen McLeod MSP, Scottish minister for environment and climate change, as well as debates on fracking and North Sea Oil.

Summerhall extends its Science Festival events this year, and also co-curates and hosts a visual art exhibition of work by artists using light. This is complemented by Light Works, an outdoor photography exhibition on St Andrew Square bringing together 50 images of light in science, technology and medicine.

As ever, there’s plenty for kids: Edinburgh’s City Art Centre is transformed into a science playground with bookable events, there are workshops and hands-on events in the Royal Botanic Garden, and shows on how to build a dinosaur and video game design at Summerhall.

Among the festival’s huge number of other events, the Reading Experiment celebrates science writing from poetry to science fiction, an informal LateLab event looks at an online tool to track users’ moods, and there’s even a discussion on the science behind Game of Thrones.

The Edinburgh International Science Festival runs Sat 4 – Sun 19 Apr, with the Light Works exhibition in St Andrew Square opening on Tue 3 Mar.

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