Cllr Donald Wilson, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, will travel to Abu Dhabi next week to visit the Abu Dhabi Science Festival which has welcomed the Edinburgh International Science Festival as its Major Programme Partner for the second year.
The Edinburgh International Science Festival, of which the Lord Provost is Honorary President and former Chair, was invited to collaborate with the first ever Abu Dhabi Science Festival in 2011 and was instrumental in developing a programme of world class events in science, technology and innovation as well as taking more than sixty trained science communicators to Abu Dhabi to lead and work alongside local undergraduates. The inaugural event was a spectacular success, with huge and enthusiastic audiences.
The Rt Hon Donald Wilson, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, said: “Edinburgh has a long and proud history of innovation and imagination – including of course the world’s first ever Science Festival. A quarter of a century on and it continues to inspire, with year’s event attracting over 80,000 people and featuring experts in fields as diverse as psychology, comedy, photography and dance.
“A key challenge for us in raising Edinburgh’s profile in the Middle East is finding niche areas of activities on which to build on our profile and connections. Cultural, educational and economic linkages are already developing well but, with the Gulf States attempting to reduce their reliance on oil and gas, I see our strengths in science and technology as presenting yet another fantastic opportunity.”
Dr Simon Gage, Director of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, commented: “We are proud to be part of this inspirational investment in the children of Abu Dhabi and to take some of our hands-on science activities, created and developed in Edinburgh, to an international audience. The 2011 Abu Dhabi Science Festival was a spectacular world-beater and recognised the quality of not only the activities from Edinburgh, but also of our science communicators. We are delighted that, once again, the best and most popular of our science workshops, exhibitions and shows will be brought to life with the help of 800 enthusiastic local students making the 2012 festival bigger and better.
“Edinburgh invented the concept of science festivals 25 years ago. There are now hundreds of them around the world with the Edinburgh International Science Festival remaining a benchmark for the best events anywhere. This partnership is a great example of Edinburgh’s excellence in festivals being ‘exported’ and showcases Edinburgh and Scotland’s ability not only to run spectacular events but also to excel in science and technology.”
The 2012 Abu Dhabi Science Festival will offer an even more exhilarating variety of best-in-class science experiences with new attractions in areas such as robotics (a life-sized roaming T-Rex Animatronic Dinosaur), an impressive presentation of electricity (Dr Megavolt), chemistry with plenty of explosions (Bigger Bang Show), and arts & science with bubbles moving to music (Pep Bou). New events created by the Edinburgh International Science Festival team include a realistic workshop called Crime Scene Investigation which uses forensic techniques to solve a crime and a special adaptation of Edinburgh’s Cosy Cosy Game Show to reflect the conditions experienced in the United Arab Emirates. The Super Cool Game Show participants design their table top houses to keep cool using air conditioning and insulation.
In addition to running events, the Edinburgh team are also training more than 800 local undergraduates in good science communication techniques. These students then help run the Abu Dhabi festival. This training has spanned an entire month and is probably the largest programme of its sort in the world.
The Lord Provost will travel to Abu Dhabi as a guest of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.