Programme highlights at the Edinburgh International Science Festival 2013
The 2013 fest isn't just for kids, although slime creation and balloon modelling do feature
Jungle expeditions, gastronomic experiments and extreme balloon modelling are all on offer at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Struggling to get your head around it all? Kelly Apter guides you through the highlights
Not to be outdone by its ever-expanding August cousin, the Fringe, the Edinburgh International Science Festival is growing bigger each year. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the City Art Centre, where 100 drop-in workshops will be taking place each day between 23 Mar and 6 Apr. From hands-on experiments for ages 3+ to Crime Scene Investigation for ages 8+, a day pass will buy you access to all the activities on offer from 9.30am–4.30pm, including the chance to make your own slime and dissect a (fake) eyeball.
Don’t let the kids have all the fun, though. On Thu 21 Mar, for one night only, adults can experience the CAC’s four floors of hands-on fun. It’s just one part of a new initiative to get more adults involved in the Festival. Also on offer through the Science Festival Lates and LateLab strands is a screening of sci-fi movie Logan’s Run (Inspace, Sat 23 Mar), an opportunity to push the boundaries of your culinary diet at Inedible or Incredible? (insect mousse, anyone? Inspace, Sun 31 Mar) and A Night with Dr Dance (Teviot Row Debating Hall, Fri 29 Mar) where you can pick up some sharp moves, and learn the science behind them.
Taking the whole family to Asia is beyond the reach of most of us, but joining in Expedition Botanics for £10 (two adults, two children) will at least bring you closer to the wonders of Malaysia. Drop into the Royal Botanic Garden from Fri 29 Mar–Sun 7 Apr for a two-hour exploration where you can learn about blood-sucking leeches, find mystery plants, plant seeds and enjoy the hospitality of a traditional Malaysian village. The Botanics also plays host to Forestry DNA Detectives on Fri 29 & Sat 30 Mar, where scientists will teach you how to spot the difference between fox faeces and pine marten poo.
Fancy yourself as something of a sleuth? Then grab family or friends and prove your detective mettle. The Secret of the Shooting Star is an interactive street theatre journey for ages 14+, which starts at the National Museum of Scotland at 10am on Sat 6 Apr, and ends seven hours later who knows where? Teams of up to five people can take part in what is being billed as part game, part treasure hunt, with a touch of murder mystery thrown in. Having received your instructions in advance, you’ll wander the streets of Edinburgh gathering clues, solving riddles, meeting characters and generally helping to bring about a major scientific discovery.
If observation, rather than participation, is more your thing, then they don’t come much bigger than Pisces. The largest visual event ever to grace the Science Festival programme, Jason Hackenwerth’s installation will take seven days to create: and you can watch him in action. Using hundreds of balloons, Hackenwerth and his team will weave them together to create a Greek myth-inspired spiral structure. Taking place in the National Museum of Scotland’s Grand Gallery, you can observe the creative process from Sat 23–Fri 29 Mar, then view Pisces in full effect from Fri 29 Mar–Sun 14 Apr.
Edinburgh International Science Festival takes place from Sat 23 Mar–Sun 7 Apr.