Highlights from Events 2017

One of the highlights was Prof. Peter Higgs In Conversation with his former mathematical physics student Dennis Canavan. The Nobel laureate looked back at the events that had shaped his career and led to the prediction and discovery of the Higgs boson.

The programme also featured the story of one of the key people in the discovery of gravitational waves, Prof. Ron Drever, whose great-grandparents came from Westray.

There was a look back to the story of two Spanish Armada shipwrecks, and a possible explanation advanced in 1939, and then a look further back to the great 12th-century renaissance of science and philosophy that took so many people to journeys across Europe.

Visitors from various European small islands came to hold their annual meeting and contribute several talks to the Festival programme, including an account of tidal power development in the islands of Brittany.

The Festival was opened in fine style by Christopher Somerville, the walking correspondent of The Times, and later a seafood lunch, following talks on the work to make Orkney’s brown crab fishery sustainable.

There were insights into the building of Craigellachie Bridge and the new Queensferry crossing, and the story of the impact of Loganair’s North Isles air service, which got under way 50 years ago.

There were accounts of Highland folk medicine, and of the North Coast 500 route, of night sky photography and 3D printing. There were details of new insights into energy and old routes across Norway. There was genetics and genomics, wind and woodwind, the Turin shroud and the Maeshowe dragon. It began with hot and cold rolls before a walk in the rain, and it ended with a ceilidh, and much discussion along the way.

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