Music from Ireland, astronomy from Uzbekistan, newly created art and design, and young people to the fore – these will all be features of this year’s Orkney International Science Festival in a special package for the Year of Young People 2018.

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Including this year Modelling the Invisible (particle physics from Durham University), The Selkie’s New Clothes, Youth (from Orkney Camera Club), and others to be announced soon …

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There are more than 70 events, from black holes to boatbuilding, bubbles to Bach, the physics of mountain rescue to the science of gin. There are two Nobel laureates, musical concerts…

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“Those soft green hills, the ledged sea-cliffs, the shallow lochs, those curving sweeps of sand… the story of them all can be traced back, and much of the story goes back around 390 million years…”

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There’s plenty of opportunities to sample local fare, in daily lunches and in special events like a talk and tea in the 17th-century Skaill House. And for a look back at some past highlights . . .

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Tickets will soon be on sale for the 2018 Festival. We expect them to have them online by mid-June. They’ll also be at the Kirkwall Tourist Office. Wherever you are, you’ll be able to book online here …

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You’ll find more in our online magazine. It highlights science and people, with stories of ideas, adventures and exploring new territory, past and present. There’s images
of the countryside, night skies, seascapes

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Festival Updates

The dates for this year’s Festival are 6-12 September 2018. Various topics and speakers are already confirmed and we expect to have the programme online here in early June.

Festival Topics
2018 is the Year of Young People, and so an ideal time for us to have young people to the fore in various ways, and numerous opportunities for people and communities to participate in activities.

Speakers will include Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Prizewinner for Physiology/Medicine in 2001, and there will also be a day of frontline topics in genetics. We will be hearing about the study of genetic links between Orkney and Iceland, going back to Norse times.

We will tell the story of some remarkable people, including the physicist Paul Dirac and the Irish mathematician Sir William Rowan Hamilton, and how a sultan in Samarkand 500 years ago provided the opportunity for a modern measurement of continental drift.

We will look at ancient environments and modern developments with hydrogen and fuel cells, at rockets and space exploration, at the mathematics of Bach and the physics of mountain rescue. We will post up more updates soon.

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The first video highlights are now available to watch. They include the study of Highland folk medicine ‘Pepperwort and Parsley, Beeswax and Fulmar Oil’, and ‘Big Bill and the Guns of Alamein’, describing the vital role of radio equipment and mine detectors in the battle.

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Music for Maxwell, in classical and style, songs from Mr Boom, postcards of John Rae and other famous Orcadians, badges to wear with a smile …

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This was my very first visit to Orkney and therefore, my first exposure to the vibrant and exhilarating Science Festival. It was an incredible week – the Festival pulsated! It was far larger and far better supported than I would have thought possible.
visitor from Edinburgh