Talks

There is superconductivity to whalesong, Arctic seaweed and Galapagos seabirds, Svalbard’s seas and Colombia’s mountains. There is papermaking, orca sighting, beachcombing, the story of women in shipbuilding, and the boats of Hudson’s Bay … and much, much more in a very full programme of events with what we hope will be something for everyone.

LOOKING OUT TO SEA

September 5, 2020 → 10:00 am11:00 am

Research students at Heriot-Watt University’s International Centre for Island Technology give short talks on their work in topics like marine resources – and an opportunity to enjoy the view over Stromness harbour!

ALONG THE TIDE-MARK GATHERING DRIFT

September 5, 2020 → 3:30 pm4:15 pm

A beaver-chewed timber from North America, a sea heart from the rainforests of the southern Caribbean. A skate’s egg case, a lump of paraffin wax, and a lobster creel tag from Newfoundland. Martin Gray, who runs the Orkney Beachcombing page, describes the wealth of treasures that wash up on an Orkney shore and the searching and foraging quest that has taken Orcadians to the shore since Neolithic times and before.

BEYOND THE WORLD’S MEANING

September 5, 2020 → 5:00 pm5:45 pm

Are science and theology opposites? Not so, said the Orkney-born theologian John Oman: they face the same world, but in different ways. His theology puts in a radically new foundation for its relation to science, subordinating authority and tradition to personal experience. His great-great-niece Patricia Long tells the story of his life, and Howie Firth outlines his ideas, to argue that John Oman is one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century.

ANEW THE VINES HAVE FRUITED

September 5, 2020 → 8:00 pm8:45 pm

We go live to Ljubljana where Dr Edward Kobal of the Slovenian Science Foundation takes a look at the science of wine, and how land and soil and air all play a part, from the high plateau of the Karst to the shores of the Adriatic Sea.

SCIENCE FESTIVAL SERVICE

September 6, 2020 → 10:00 am10:30 am

Words, music and images from St Magnus Cathedral for a Sunday morning, with Rev. Fraser Macnaughton and the Cathedral Choir and organ.

SIGHTING CETACEANS

September 6, 2020 → 11:45 am12:30 pm

Orkney’s waters can provide spectacular sightings of marine mammals, but research so far has been limited. Orkney Marine Mammal Research Initiative was launched this summer to undertake long-term studies of cetaceans in Orkney waters and gather information from public sightings. It plans to work alongside other UK organisations such as Seawatch Foundation. Emma Neave-Webb, with a wealth of experience in surveying marine mammals in Sanday and elsewhere, describes the life of cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises – whales, dolphins and porpoises. She is joined for questions by Karen Hetherington and Imogen Sawyer.

SANDAY, SCAPA, AND SHORES AROUND THE ISLES

September 6, 2020 → 2:00 pm2:45 pm

Dr Tom Rendall takes a journey from his native Sanday, where the shore sweeps out in great sandy bays like Otterswick and Backaskaill, to the coast at Scapa and its views across the Flow, with Birsay and parts of the East Mainland as well. He looks at the impacts of the sea upon island communities, with readings from Orkney writers and a song from Dr Sarah Jane Gibbon.

STORIES IN STONES

September 6, 2020 → 3:30 pm4:15 pm

It starts with a handful of stone artefacts from the Ness of Brodgar, in the heart of Neolithic Orkney … and Prof. Mark Edmonds of York University and UHI goes in search of their origins. Some are striking, others seem simple by comparison; all of them have stories to tell about how stone was caught up in people's lives over 5000 years ago.

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