Orkney International Science Festival 2018

6-12 Sep 2018

Kirkwall and other mainland and island venues

The 28th Orkney International Science Festival starts off Orkney’s autumn festival season.

It’s a sparkling mix of fascinating science from the very frontiers – and the sheer enjoyment of a festival in an island setting.

This year we have the story of the Higgs boson and the search for new particles beyond, with a return visit of Prof. Peter Higgs himself.

We have a further Nobel laureate, the geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, and indeed a whole day of the latest developments in human genetics from Edinburgh University researchers.

Topics range from black holes to blue carbon, the physics of darts to the science of gin, mountain rescue to Antarctic voyages. You can hear about building a rocket or constructing the Tay road bridge, ancient submerged forests in Orkney or a long-ago observatory in Samarkand, hydrogen for transport or becoming an astronaut.

The festival spirit is there in the vitality and variety of the subjects and speakers, and in the venues which include the 17th-century Skaill House and the 12th-century St Magnus Cathedral.

Indeed there will be two concerts in the Cathedral, part of a rich strand of musical elements including the New Musical Ensemble from St Andrews and an Irish quartet.

It’s a truly international festival, with participants coming from Iceland and Italy, Australia and Ireland, Slovenia and Uzbekistan. It starts with a seafood lunch and ends with a traditional Orkney ceilidh.

This year’s programme is particularly special, as it’s the Year of Young People, and young people will be very much to the fore in all sorts of ways. Upcycling workshops will show how to transform old fabrics and waste plastic into costumes and artworks of haunting beauty.

There are also plans for something very special in Stromness, where an energetic community group is working on an amazing idea which they hope to be able to announce before long!

For details of this, and of the Festival programme itself, expected to go online around the end of April, see the Science Festival website – and it also has a very live online magazine of science and exploration.

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