A spring and early summertime series of ideas and inspiration is on the way as Orkney International Science Festival warms up ahead of this year’s events in September.
This year the Festival will have a new hybrid format, with a mix of events indoors and outdoors and online, and it’s setting the scene for its fresh look with six weekly online events with fresh ideas, and some inspiring stories as well.
Topics in the new series – titled Embers into Sparx – include the latest news on space developments in Scotland, and also a call for a renaissance of rail branch lines in response to road congestion and the climate emergency.
There’s the story of regeneration of landscape and wildlife on a Scottish estate, and a new approach to biology which argues that a living organism is more than the sum of its parts.
There’s also the story of one of the greatest sea journeys of all time, made by Sir Ernest Shackleton and several of his crew in a small boat to seek help for the rest of the crew, trapped on Elephant Island.
The idea for the series can about through a collaboration with a new Scottish project, Tech Embers. It’s been set up to bring together people in remote and rural areas across Scotland who are interested in fresh ideas and new technologies.The first of the talks, on Monday 23 May, looks at the dominance in technology of the world’s great mega-regions, where economic activity and innovation arere concentrated. As they attract in ever more wealth and talent, what hope is there for the rural hinterlands of individual countries? A Slovenian innovator says that small communities can forge ahead by making use of digital links to build new partnerships and form virtual clusters. In this way, he says, areas like the Highlands and Islands of Scotland could become part of a new mega-region bringing together innovation and enterprise in rural communities in many countries.