Edinburgh International Science Festival highlights 2011

Dr Bunhead

Lego robotics, mini jungle safaris and wind turbine workshops

Ah. Science. No, not the teensy rapper from the 2005 Big Brother house (we at The List are nothing if not timely), although perhaps it does suffer from a similar image problem. Organisations such as the Glasgow Science Centre and the Edinburgh International Science Festival, and institutions such as Dr Brian Cox, have been making a concerted effort to reclaim their field from arid mental images of boffins in labcoats, as is aptly demonstrated by the Science Festival’s noisy, smelly, squelchy and kind of exciting programme this month.

Obviously, the festival is held during the Easter holidays for a reason – many of the hands-on experiments are targeted squarely at children, and the whole of the City Art Centre has been turned over to the young ’uns, with a series of areas taking in Lego robotics, mini jungle safaris, wind turbine workshops, a parent-and-child science-themed gameshow, and chance to hang out in the lab with Nina and her Neurons. The best way to negotiate this is to buy a daypass to the CAC (£6.25 for 3-6 year olds, £8.75 for over 7s) and book in to three of the ongoing events, although there are some smaller drop-in activities too. There are a number of interesting one-off events in other venues, too, most notably Dr Bunhead in Pyromania (Sat 9 Apr, 2pm and 7.30pm), in which ‘TV’s most extreme scientist’ explodes things all over the Usher Hall.

However, what of the grown-ups? We don’t just want to have our cerebral cortexes tickled by talks from the likes of starry scientists Cox and Richard Dawkins (George Square Theatre, Fri 16 Apr, 7.30pm). The Science Festival has cleverly put together a programme of interactive after-hours events, too: both the CAC and the major Atomise exhibition celebrating International Year of Chemistry (based out of the Royal Botanic Garden) are open on certain evenings with an adults-only policy – grab a glass of wine and squelch amid the interactive experiments to your heart’s content (City Art Centre Without The Kids, Thu 14 Apr, £10; Atomise Later, Tue 19 Apr, 7.30pm, £15).

Various venues, Edinburgh, Saturday 9–Friday 22 April.

Full listings at http://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/events/science-festival/


Lego Robosports

Robot programming fun using the NXT generation of Lego Mindstorm. Ages 8+. Part of Edinburgh International Science Festival. Booking is essential.

Edinburgh Science Festival

Hands-on science for families in venues across the city with a programme ranging from the entertaining to the controversial and, of course, the icky. For 2019, the programme follows a theme of 'Frontiers'.

Nina and the Neurons: In the Lab

Neuron-related lab fun inspired by experiments from the popular CBeebies show. Please note that Nina herself will not be present at the workshops, leading us to wonder how well she'll be doing without her neurons. Ages 3+ Part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

The Future's Bright: Wind Turbine Workshop

The Future's Bright Trail and Exhibition shows us new and easy ways to be greener. Make a simple wind turbine and test it in the wind tunnel. Ages 5+. Part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Dr Bunhead presents Pyromania

TV's most extreme scientist (unless you count the similarly chrome-domed and white-coated Heston Blumenthal as a scientist), Dr Bunhead reveals the silly, dirty, mucky and in this instance explode-y side of science in a pyrotechnic extravaganza. Book early to become part of the live Guinness World Record attempt to create…

City Art Centre – Without the Kids

A chance for adults to enjoy some wine and take part in the Jungle Safari, mix a blood milkshake in Blood Bar and compete in the Cosy Cosy Gameshow. Have fun and play without the kids. Part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Atomise Later …

Explore this brand new exhibit without the kids. Get your hands dirty with experiments celebrating the International Year of Chemistry. Price includes a glass of wine. Ages 18+. Part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

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