Monday, 7 June 2021

10 THINGS TO DO AT EDINBURGH SCIENCE FESTIVAL

 Can you believe that we are actually allowed to go to things again? Since my last slightly-nervous-about-everything post, I'm starting to feel a bit more relaxed about the return to normal life. I'm still being pretty cautious, but the idea of doing things with other people isn't the big stress it was for a while.

So on that note, it's very exciting that this year's Science Festival is just around the corner! This year's Festival (running 26 June - 11 July) is themed around how science connects us - from how we've relied on technology to keep us connected in the last year, to the scientific breakthroughs that have guided us through the pandemic, and how we're all connected to Planet Earth and the wider Universe. 

This year's Festival boasts 160 online events and experiences (so many) for people of all ages, but they've also got a fun programme of live experiences with outdoor events, walks, exhibitions and installations. This year loads of their events are free too! 

There's a lot to choose from, so here's my top picks from this year's Festival.

1. The Dead Interesting Tour Take a journey back in time to Warriston Cemetery and hear the tales of its fascinating tenants and the trails they blazed during their time on earth. This is hosted by science storyteller (and my pal!) Sian - I can confirm she is wise and funny, and definitely worth following around a graveyard.

2. Women in STEM street art trail I am ready to get out of the house and this art trail encourages you to go explore the city, discovering 9 remarkable women who have made amazing achievements in science, technology, engineering and maths. 

3. Elemental This event promises a magical, multi-sensory journey through an intriguing, immersive digital world where magic meets alchemy and alchemy meets science. I don't really know what that means, but it sounds fun and it's free!

4. SciMart A Science Festival favourite, SciMart is a farmers market with a scientific twist! This year it's hosted in Edinburgh's beautiful Royal Botanic Garden, and will be packed with local producers, artisans and scientists who'll reveal fascinating facts about food. 

5. Ask the Experts at Edinburgh Zoo Imagine working at the Zoo and getting to hang out with penguins, lions and zebras all day! At this event you can find out what it's really like behind the scenes and ask whatever you'd like (for starters, I'd ask - do the penguins like doing their little parade? Do you think any animal has wanted to eat you? Do animals secretly ever escape?).

6. Glitter Bar: A Makeover Takeover! Promising to teach you how to sparkle without shame, this event sounds ace! Hosted by Dr Nicole Seymour, a queer ecology scholar, and Mystika Glamoor, the high priestess of Edinburgh drag (what a title!), this event showcases biodegradable alternatives to microplastic cosmetic glitter. You'll get glitter and glues to try on at home - this ain't your usual Zoom call.

7.  Botanicals - The Heart of Gin Imagine the scene: it's a balmy summer evening, you're walking through a beautiful Botanic Garden with a Botanist who's showing you a unique blend of botanicals that have been combined to make a lovely gin. You then get to drink that gin and learn cool facts from Edinburgh Gin's Head Distiller, followed by a private viewing of an art exhibition. Culture is baaaack, and I bet it tastes amazing. You can do all of that at this exclusive gin tasting! 

8. Spacewomen I always scout the SciFest programme for space (and dinosaurs), so I'm pleased to see this online talk, taking place 60 years after the first woman was launched into orbit. This panel of cool space women talk about their experiences and hopes for the future as we enter an exciting new space age.

9. Cheeseology at Home It's fair to say that the Science Festival loves cheese, but don't we all. If you're not quite ready to hang out in public spaces with strangers (fair), elevate your at-home entertainment with an evening of cheese facts and a special cheese tasting (I.J. Mellis are producing a special SciFest cheese box so you can eat-a-long as you learn). 

10. The European Stone Stacking Championships If you fancy a day trip, you can head out to sunny Dunbar and watch some champion stone stackers! Stone stacking takes materials found in nature and works with Earth's gravity to create sculptural towers, archways and over awe-inspiring structures from rocks and stones. You'll see some cool things, and can have a go yourself!

This year's Edinburgh Science Festival runs Saturday 26 June - Sunday 11 July, and you can browse their full programme here.

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