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Programme for 2019 science festival tackling theme of ‘frontiers’

This year’s Edinburgh Science Festival is taking inspiration from the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with a programme themed around “frontiers”.

Some 270 events across more than 30 venues have been announced for the 2019 festival taking place over two weeks in April.

Organisers are promising a programme that pushes “the limits of our knowledge about ourselves, the world around us and the universe beyond”, taking in subjects as diverse as the universe and space exploration, healthcare, the digital world, the environment and nature.

Highlights of the festival, which runs up to Easter Sunday, include a major free open-air exhibition in front of the Scottish Parliament which explores humans’ influence on planet Earth.

Opening on March 20 and entitled A Human Touch, the collection of images promises to shine a light on the effects our hunger for resources have had on the planet – and some of the steps being taken to minimise the harm caused.

Renowned scientists Professor Dame Anne Glover and Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell will examine the profile of female scientists and share their personal experiences of being women in their field of work.

Meanwhile, Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees will explore the themes of his recent book, On the Future: Prospects for Humanity, while TV personalities Professor Richard Wiseman and Professor Jim Al-Khalili are also taking part in festival events.

The popular GastroFest returns to examine the science of food and drink, covering everything from gin and tonic to seafood.

In the children’s programme, five floors of hands-on science is scheduled at City Art Centre, while Experimentarium takes over The Pleasance venue with some cutting-edge science for youngsters.

Amanda Tyndall, creative director of the festival, 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.”

Councillor Donald Wilson, the city council’s culture and communities convener, said: “The Edinburgh Science Festival transforms the city into a celebration of science and technology every year and its 31st edition will be no exception.

“There is something for everyone in the extensive programme from fascinating talks with Professors and pioneers, to experiments and events to entertain and educate all ages taking place across the city.

“Among the many unique qualities of the Science Festival is its ability to engage children and young people in a way which is fun but can inspire the next generation in science and technology.

“The Festival was the world’s first, and remains Europe’s biggest, science festival and this year there will be hundreds of hands-on activities happening all over Edinburgh. Explore the uncharted territories of life and the universe, right here in the capital.”

The festival runs from April 6-21 this year.