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Edinburgh Science Festival Launches 2019 Programme

Posted: 13 February 2019

We’ve launched our 2019 Science Festival programme! Taking inspiration from the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings our theme is Frontiers. We push the boundaries of our knowledge about science as well as exploring uncharted territories.

This year we have something for everyone with events ranging from five-floors of hands-on science fun for young minds at the City Art Centre to world-class speakers and interactive events for all ages at our Festival Hub, Pleasance, and across the city.

Browse the programme online

Download the programme

You'll find various forms of FrontiersPlanetary, Digital, Healthcare, Engineering, Environmental, Social, Food and more, as we invite world-class scientists, academics and authors to discuss everything from overpopulation and space exploration to medical cannabis and Trump’s Twitter feed!

The prestigious Edinburgh Medal is awarded to Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC), who was instrumental in the successful conclusion of the Paris talks.

Programme highlights include

  • A Human Touch, a major free open-air exhibition exploring human influence on Earth opens on Wednesday 20 March in front of the Scottish Parliament. Beautiful and thought-provoking, this amazing collection of images shine a light on the effects our hunger for resources have had on the planet and some of inventive steps being taken to minimise harm and protect our planet for future generations.
  • Prof Dame Anne Glover and Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell examine the profile of female scientists and share their personal experiences of being women in science, Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees explores the themes of his recent book, On the Future: Prospects for Humanity, Prof Richard Wiseman in conversation with comedian and broadcaster Helen Keen investigates the powerful life lessons behind humanity's greatest achievement, landing on the Moon and Prof Jim Al-Khalili shares an insight into his first foray into fiction with his recent book, Sunfall.
  • The ever-so-popular GastroFest is back to peek behind the science of food – everything from gin and tonic to seafood!
  • The Festival sets out to break all taboos! Are we too clean? What is normal? What does a duck’s vagina look like in 3D?
  • In the children’s programme, five floors of hands-on science at City Art Centre is back with the favourites such as Blood Bar and ER Surgery alongside six new workshops and interactive activities.
  • Science in the Spotlight returns with another world premiere theatre production: Melody and Sam: Record Breakers, a tender and hilarious story of friendship and breaking world records, developed with support from Creative Scotland through the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund.
  • National Museum of Scotland’s Grand Gallery will host Build and Break inviting young visitors to BUILD IT – build magical structures with super-sized construction blocks – and then head over to BREAK IT to be set loose on a huge pile of discarded electronics with a screw driver and a pair of pliers (under adult supervision!).
  • Experimentarium takes over Pleasance with some weird, wonderful and cutting-edge science for children who will put the Moon under a microscope and learn about technologies aiding dogs with important jobs! 
  • Summerhall and ASCUS Art & Lab present Metamorphosis, a new contemporary art exhibition exploring where we are today after centuries of engineering the world and environment around us as well EGG, a contemporary circus show about the realities of IVF and egg donation.

Amanda Tyndall, Edinburgh Science Festival’s Creative Director said: “With new venues and partners and a programme packed full of events and ideas our Frontiers theme sees us explore the research horizons of everything from the depths of the oceans to the furthest reaches of space and the intricate pathways of the human brain.  We celebrate the spirit of adventure and enquiry that drives science and the ideas and individuals that are expanding the Frontiers of our collective knowledge and have aplenty of fun on our journey.

“At the heart of all science lies an unquenchable curiosity; a deep urge to explore and explain the unknown and to push the Frontiers of our knowledge about ourselves, the world around us and our place in the wider Universe. We know more and more each day, yet the unknown still outweighs the known. It is the desire to redress this balance that sits at the heart of science. And of our 2019 programme.”