Had Prof. Ron Drever lived just a few more months this year, he would almost certainly have been awarded a share of this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics, for his part in one of the greatest scientific achievements of all time, the discovery of gravitational waves.
It started with a seafood opening lunch, and over the next seven days more than 60 events followed. Topics ranged from astronomy to Arab science fiction, black holes to beremeal, relativity to early radio, new light on MS to hopes for hydrogen power.
The harvest of the sea was to the fore in the 2015 Festival’s opening event. News of the latest research on sustaining local crab and lobster stocks was accompanied by a seafood lunch provided by Orkney Fishermen’s Society, with additional support from several sources.
Nobel laureate Peter Higgs was in conversation with fellow physicist Frank Close, the venue the impressive new Orkney Theatre in Kirkwall Grammar School. The school also hosted the exhibition From Maxwell to Higgs, brought north by a team from Edinburgh University.
The Maxwell Torch was specially created for events throughout Scotland in 2015, the International Year of Light. The International Year of Light celebrates the 150th anniversary of James Clerk Maxwell’s papers...
Vistas of earth, sea and sky opened up in 2014, with a look into Orkney’s geological past as a great lake in Devonian times, and then a look further back in time to the origins of the universe and of life itself with one of the great astrophysicists of our time, Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe.
Songs of strength and struggle, of women north and south, with stories as well, set the scene in an eve-of-Festival concert; and there were stories from many places – from William Balfour Baikie’s exploration of the River Niger to James Clerk Maxwell’s probing into the nature of light.
When you sample the local fare at some of the Festival events, you may wonder where you can buy some to take home with you. There’s now a solution – a new pocket guide to some of Orkney’s ‘Peedie Producers’.
What makes the Clipperton Project’s Floating Laboratory special is the mix of people aboard – scientists, artists, photographers and people promoting the spirit of exploration in tackling the challenges of today’s world.
Prof. Steve ‘Jake’ Jacobs has written and presented a series for the Discovery Channel, and also for National Geographic TV and Fox Television where he was the creator and on-air host of the series Jake’s Attic.
Exploration was to the fore in 2013, the bicentenary of the birth of the great Arctic explorer John Rae. The Festival was opened by the widely-travelled documentary film-maker Alan Ereira, who showed his new film, made with Kogi people of Colombia, opening up a dialogue with western science.