Science fiction predictions, the past glories of the church organ and a new electronic recreation, a trip to Hoy to hear about underwater archaeology, the bright light of photobiology, plus opportunities to chat about it all over some fine Orkney food and drink…
Music and art, crafts and costumes, stories of people and ideas, all in the setting of the Earl’s and Bishop’s Palaces in Kirkwall, Orkney, in the 21st Orkney International Science Festival, September 2011.
In the Year of Scotland’s Islands, the Festival featured events across Orkney from an astronomy weekend in North Ronaldsay to an evening of underwater archaeology in the Hoy Kirk. It was opened by an islander – the Scottish science fiction writer Ken MacLeod who comes from the Western Isles.
To Skaill House for readings and an 18th-century tea, to Boardhouse for the miller’s tale, to Swannay for the brewer’s story; and then came the physics of string theory with rock guitar, the story of renewables in Westray – plus the secrets of ultra-running…
Events ranged from physics with rock music to Bach’s mathematics, from Jane Austen and revolutions in science and society to the Flashing and Banging Chemistry Show. The Festival was opened by The Economist’s writer-at-large, Johnny Grimond.
Margaret had no family links to Stromness, but developed a strong association with Orkney when she visited in the 1950s. She was born in Berlin in 1904 and, when ten years later the First World War broke out, her family moved to Britain. She was at an age to be very strongly affected by the war, and the experiences of the war probably part-prompted her to become involved in pacifist movements in later life.
Part of the Homecoming Scotland year of 2009, the event For A’ That linked the message of Robert Burns’s poem of the same name with issues of social justice and environmental responsibility in the world today.
The founder of Barefoot College, Bunker Roy, described how technology could empower the poorest people to help themselves, and geneticist Sir Walter Bodmer spoke on new insights on DNA and history. The Festival was opened by the Scottish Government’s chief scientific adviser, Prof. Anne Glover.