The Reading Experiment highlights the wonder in non-academic science writing
- Paul Gallagher
- 18 March 2014
The series of events will focus on everything from science fiction to poetic 'Sci-Ku'
‘It’s a chance to show off how much we love books and how much we love science, and have lots of interesting chats with people about both.’ So says writer and performer Sian Bevan, one of the brains behind The Reading Experiment, an ambitious series of events spanning Dunbar, Edinburgh and Midlothian’s Science Festivals. Non-academic science writing is all around us, explains Bevan, ‘in some obvious ways, like inventions within science fiction, but there’s also forensic science in crime writing, the speculation about scientific ideas in literary fiction, or even mathematics within poetry.’
Accordingly, these events will delve into areas like technology and literature, the ethics of expanding brain function and the question of who has the authority to write about science, as well as workshops, a science publishing event and even cabaret. In Dunbar’s SciFest Crime Writers’ Discussion, four authors will discuss how recent technological developments have changed the worlds of reading and writing.
Online, The Reading Experiment website will host specially-created Reading Lists highlighting science writing in unexpected places, as well as the fantastically-titled ‘Sci-Ku’ competition, asking readers to capture a science-inspired theory, story or idea in three lines.
And the results Bevan is hoping for from this ‘experiment’? ‘People reading some recommended books, thinking about the science within their favourite books (I’ve got a whole theory about the science in Alice in Wonderland which I can only explain in pubs) and maybe having a go at a sci-ku or two. Or making us a cake. That’s always a great result.’