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All Day


Orkney Camera Club respond each year to the Festival theme, and this year had an even bigger challenge – to do so online; and they have responded in splendid style. Their exhibition Orkney’s Coastal Waters is a delight, as you can see by going to it on the Artsteps site.

Sea-shapes and rock-forms: an Ian Scott retrospective

The exhibition ‘Ian Scott – a retrospective’ can be seen online at the Artsteps site. Online exhibitions use a lot of computer memory, so it is best to make sure first that all other applications are shut down, and it can take a little time to load. To start with, just clicking on an image is the simplest way around, moving from each one to its neighbour, and then furthermore possibilities can be found.


Katy Firth in association with Stromness Museum has put together an exhibition of 360 degree photospheres of a visit to the island. With each of the images, you can turn it round a full 360 degrees, to see the full range of views from your vantage point. You can go direct to the exhibition, and she is also going to provide online guidance as to how to make the best use of it.


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In an unstable world, a week has become a long time to look ahead. But when Prof. Tom Stevenson spoke in the first Orkney Science Festival in 1991, he was right on target in introducing a new invention with huge long-term significance – a video camera on a chip, a key part of so much of our lives and links today.


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North Ronaldsay’s native sheep forage seaweed. It’s now been discovered that seaweed in the diet can reduce greenhouse gas emission which helping weight gain. Siân Tarrant, warden of the 13-mile-long stone dyke confining the island sheep to the shore, introduces researchers. Dr Katerina Theodoridou of Queen’s University Belfast shows how dietary seaweed can cut methane and ammonia pollution and reduce soya usage. Dr Jessica Adams of Aberystwyth University describes how micro-organisms from the gut of North Ronaldsay sheep may assist macroalgae degradation for biofuel production. The enzymes involved may have potential for novel technologies and enzymatic cocktails, says Dr Luisa Ciano of Nottingham University.


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This second part of the presentation from North Ronaldsay looks at resources from the shore. Siân Tarrant describes how the wool from the island’s seaweed-eating sheep is spun into much-valued yarn at the North Ronaldsay woolmill. Dr Katharina Vones of Dundee University and Dr Ian Lambert of Detroit’s College for Creative Studies describe their work in turning ocean plastic into filament for 3D printers.


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The science behind harnessing energy from the sea. What are waves and tides and how do you capture their power? What impact does ocean energy have on the surrounding environment? What progress is being made by ocean energy technology developers? David Darbinyan and Joshua Lawrence of EMEC are joined by Calum Miller of Orbital Marine Power, who reports on the progress of the Orbital O2 turbine.


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Orkney is pioneering the production and use of green hydrogen, and is the location of a first-of-its-kind integrated energy system trial. This evening’s speakers bring the latest news of pioneering projects – generating hydrogen from tidal energy, decarbonising lifeline island services (ferries and aviation) and key industries (distilling), and integrating the energy system across Orkney’s islands. Neil Kermode, Richard Ainsworth and James Ferguson of EMEC are joined by Gareth Davies of Aquatera.


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Modern science was born amidst the Thirty Years War, a catastrophic conflict that flared up 400 years ago when an invasion of Bohemia ended the King and Queen’s rule after just one winter. The Winter Queen was Elizabeth Stewart, granddaughter of Mary Queen of Scots, and the war affected the lives of many people – among them Kepler, Galileo and the poet John Donne. Howie Firth tells the story, interwoven with the online premiere of a setting of Three Donne Lyrics by the composer Edward McGuire, sung by the Choir of Paisley Abbey with bass flautist Ewan Robertson.


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Round off the day with the atmosphere of The Reel, and the opportunity to take a break and join a table to meet up with old and new friends and exchange news, and some of the speakers from events as well. Drinks options include making yourself one of the special non-alcoholic cocktails described for us by Bill Garnock of Feragaia.

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