Scotland’s Geographer Royal, Prof. Charles Withers of the University of Edinburgh, tells a richly illustrated story of Scotland’s islands in maps, from 16th-century maps that included imaginary islands to modern digital cartography. It is a story in which maps served varied purposes, in which Orkney’s islands figure centrally and in which maps became powerful paper landscapes. Supported by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society
Numerous shipwrecks in Orkney waters in the 1700s made better maps urgent. Kirkwall Grammar School master Murdoch Mackenzie applied his Edinburgh University mathematical training to a highly detailed survey of land and sea, to produce a radically different level of map, which remained the standard until the modern admiralty chart. Neil Kermode tells the story. In association with Orkney Heritage Society
Wilderness instructor Zeki Basan shows you how to use the tannin from heather, and other natural materials, to turn salmon skins into a soft and strong leather. Outdoor event, numbers limited, booking essential. Hosted by Wheems Organic Farm, South Ronaldsay. £25 price includes farm-fresh lunch. Meet in car park at St Peter’s Church by the shore.
The work of the great mapmaker Murdoch Mackenzie, says Prof. Tom Stevenson with some practical demonstrations, was the beginning of two and a half centuries of innovation that led to the Decca navigation system and then today to the GPS system accessible through our smartphones wherever we are.
50 years ago a man set foot on the Moon. How – and why? – did they do it? What were the risks? What did it feel like for these extraordinary space explorers and their support teams? Eric Walker relates the story of the Apollo landings with archive photos, images of the Moon from his home observatory, and 3D-printed models of the lunar surface.
Scotland's 2nd Astronomer Royal, Charles Piazzi Smyth, born in 1819, pioneered the use of mountain tops to observe the stars in clear air with an expedition to Tenerife. In Egypt he measured the dimensions of the Great Pyramid and its astronomical orientation. Matjaž Vidmar of the Royal Observatory Edinburgh tells his story.
Steve ‘Jake’ Jacobs, former chief scientist of the Discovery Channel, is back with a family science show for the family, explaining scientific thinking by using common everyday items. “Young scientists and future wizards of all ages are welcome,” he says. “Be prepared to be challenged, laugh, be amazed, jump and duck for cover!” Sponsored by Faraday Studio
Can we reverse climate change? Ice on Fire is an eye-opening documentary that focuses on many never-before-seen solutions designed to slow down our escalating environmental crisis. The film goes beyond the current climate change narrative and offers hope that we can actually stave off the worst effects of global warming. Orkney based companies, Orbital Marine Power and the European Marine Energy Centre, feature in the documentary which covers their quest to harness the power of our oceans. Following the film, several participants will be available for Q&A, including Neil Kermode of EMEC, a representative of Orbital, and Prof. Peter Wadhams who in the film highlights Arctic methane dangers from permafrost melt. Nominated for the Golden Eye at Cannes Film Festival, the film is produced and narrated by Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio, George DiCaprio and Mathew Schmid and directed by Leila Conners. Tickets are specially priced at £5 & £3: book directly from Pickaquoy online, or 01856 879900. Screening in partnership with the Pickaquoy Centre
Streams of dust bombard the Earth from space every day – and so violently says Prof. Arjun Berera of Edinburgh University, that they are capable of dislodging tiny living creatures like bacteria and other organic material floating in Earth's atmosphere and sending them hurtling through space.