25th Edinburgh International Science Festival Looks Into The Future

The Edinburgh International Science Festival marks 25 years, from 23rd March, with two weeks of events that look forward to the next 25 years of science and explores the future of our lives, our cities, our food, our play, our medicine, our challenges and our world.

“This year’s Science Festival will see around 200 of the best and brightest minds in science and technology gather in Edinburgh to dissect, debate and celebrate some of the biggest, most outrageous and sometimes controversial, ideas in science," said Amanda Tyndall, Deputy Director of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

"For two weeks the city becomes the perfect melting pot for ideas and we invite audiences to join our futuristic adventures as we explore the promise, potential, peril or pitfalls of life in the 21st century, and how science can shape our future.”

Highlights of the 25th EISF include a specially-commissioned, experiential sculpture from New-York based artist Jason Hackenwerth which will reach from floor to ceiling in the Grand Gallery of the National Museum of Scotland. Visitors can enjoy not only the finished artwork from 29 March, but also can watch the artist create the piece from 23 March.

Natural symmetry

St Andrew Square will again host a free, outdoor photographic exhibition, launched and running from 8am to 6pm daily from Thursday 31 January to Sunday 7 April 2013. The exhibition celebrates the work of top photographers who have been inspired by natural symmetry. Patterns in Nature examines the glorious beauty and complexity of nature from individual snowflakes to the stripes of an angelfish. Landscape architect Charles Jencks and artist and sculptor Peter Randall-Page look at how nature has inspired their work.

The 2013 event programme is as innovative and engaging as ever and looks to tackle the challenges of the future, today.

Audiences can explore the innovations that will transform the cities we live in and the energy that powers them; experience the cutting edge developments that can alter and enhance the human body; and take the chance to question the ever-increasing prominence of technology in our lives.

Flies and soup

The special future themed programme strands cover everything from Future Food – where diners are tempted with alternative menus of insects and invasive species (Eating Aliens 28 March, The Adaptation Diet 30 March) to Future Play, which includes the chance to make the whole city a playground in a specially designed interactive quest (Edinburgh City Sci-Quest 23 March – 7 April, Why We Play 27 March).

Future Worlds looks to the skies with an appearance from Mark Thomson, fresh from co-hosting Stargazing LIVE with Professor Brian Cox (Stargaze with Mark, 27 March) while One Way Ticket to Mars (5 April) sees Bas Lansdorp, co-founder and Director General of Mars One, discussing the project that is currently recruiting volunteers for a first attempt at interplanetary migration in 2023.

Those looking for an inspiring, creative and memorable night out can enjoy the Science Festival Lates events where science, music and art collide - starting with the Festival’s opening party at City Art Centre (Science Festival Lates: Opening Party 21 March) and concluding with Mini Maker Faire Afterparty (7 April).

The programme also features the return of Festival of the Spoken Nerd with Life, Oh Life and last year’s hugely popular sci-creative series LateLab which takes place at Inspace throughout the Festival.

For families, the Science Festival remains the perfect Easter Holiday adventure. Edinburgh’s City Art Centre is transformed into a world of scientific adventure, packed with scary skeletons, racing robots and manic monsters.

New activities for 2013 include the Polyfloss Factory, where children will help out in a working plastic recycling plant – sorting waste plastic, melting it down and creating brand new colourful products to take home, and Crime Scene Investigation where children can try their hand at forensic investigation and decipher the clues in a crime scene.

Other family events around the city include workshops and scientific trails at the National Museum of Scotland and a Malaysian jungle-themed expedition at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

The University of Edinburgh presents a programme of events at the National Museum of Scotland and, after entertaining 35,000 visitors at the 2012 Science Festival, the Scottish Government Expo Funded exhibition InMotion will be running at Ocean Terminal, free of charge, from 23 March – 7 April.

Programme Highlights


Edinburgh International Science Festival has commissioned world-renowned experiential artist Jason Hackenwerth to create a spectacular balloon sculpture that will hang in the National Museum of Scotland’s Grand Gallery. Inspired by the Festival’s 25th year Pisces takes the form of a giant spiralling structure, spanning three floors of the Museum and representing the natural world from coral to cosmos.

The piece will be woven and installed by Jason and his team in a residency at the Museum from Saturday 23 March, offering the public a unique chance to watch the artist at work, before its official unveiling on Friday 29 March.

Patterns in Nature

The Science Festival returns to St Andrew Square to present a stunning large-scale photography exhibition celebrating the beauty, symmetry and complexity of nature’s patterns. Open 31 January to 7 April from 8.00am to 6.00pm daily. Entry is unticketed and free of charge.

Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire

Scotland’s first ever Mini Maker Faire takes place at Summerhall on Sunday 7 April. This all day, family-friendly event features 50 of the UK’s most innovative, creative and resourceful makers, young and old, showcasing their skills and sharing their work in everything from traditional crafting skills to innovative digital technologies.

The Edinburgh Medal

The 2013 Edinburgh Medal is awarded to Professor Peter Higgs and CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research in celebration of the collaborative nature of modern scientific research. Professor Higgs and CERN’s Director General, Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer, deliver the Edinburgh Medal Address on 24 March.

More on the Edinburgh International Science Festival