In celebration of both the 10th birthday of the Glasgow Science Festival and Scotland’s 2016 ‘Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design’, this year’s event features a bumper programme full of fantastic events, including film screenings, debates, pub lectures, exhibitions, family days and food and drink.
The aim of the festival, which will run from 9-19 June, is to showcase the outstanding contribution Glasgow and Glasgow based researchers make to the worlds of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM).
Although the festival has a somewhat serious purpose, the varied events in the festival, which take place in venues across Glasgow, are often lighthearted and hands-on and encourage thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds to explore STEMM and the social and ethical issues surrounding these subjects.
With it being the 10th birthday of the festival, celebrations are definitely in order and really, what’s a birthday without cake? The ‘Big Birthday Science Bake Off’ will allow the public to enter their best science-themed cakes in a competition hosted at the University of Glasgow – think Pi Pies, edible Earths and periodic puddings
Aside from birthday celebrations, the festival will feature many events that relate to the theme ‘Glasgow Innovates’, which is part of the ‘Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design’ – an initiative led by VisitScotland.
In the wake of the groundbreaking discovery announced earlier this year, ‘Making Waves: Listening to Einstein’s Universe’ will see Professor Jim Hough FRS and other University of Glasgow black hole hunters share the story of how gravitational waves were detected in a discussion at the Boyd Orr Building on 10 June.
From the therapeutic potential of cannabis, to doping in sport, drugs will be the focus of discussion in two of the events at the festival. ‘Drugs in Sport: The Trial’ will allow audiences to sit in on the jury of a mock
court case, where lawyers and scientists will debate the issue of drug doping, at this event hosted by comedian Susan Morrison on 14 June. ‘Cannabis: What Do We Know’, is set to be another interesting drug-themed event, which takes an objective look at cannabis. The UK’s leading expert on the drug, Professor Roger Pewtree, and other pharmacologists will discuss both the abuse of the drug and its use as a medical treatment on 11 June at The Record Factory.
Other events at the festival will promote the achievements of lesser-known women in science. A talk by Catherine Booth from the National Library of Scotland at the Glasgow Women’s Library will shed a light on Scottish female scientists of the past while the beautifully illustrated book “The Mighty Women of Science” will be launched at the festival by Clare Forrest and Fiona Gordon.
Some other GSF highlights include ‘Peake into Space: Cosmic Cabaret’ which coincides with UK astronaut Tim Peake’s return to earth and will showcase specially commissioned space themed poetry, music and comedy by local artists; a screening of the award-winning drama ‘Patrick’s Day’, followed by a Q&A with UoG clinical psychologists to explore the issues around mental health; outdoor screenings of both Jurassic Park and E.T the Extra Terrestrial in the gothic quadrangles of the University of Glasgow and many other events that allow audiences to explore science in new ways.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said of the festival: “We are delighted that Scotland’s themed year will feature as a dedicated ‘Glasgow Innovates’ programme strand this year, with topics as diverse as gravitational waves to career opportunities in Scotland’s space sector. So whether you are a budding scientist in the making or keen to ask an expert a burning question – it’s set to be a packed two weeks of education, inspiration and fun.”