The Year of Young People 2018 provide the opportunity for so much, not only in varied events but also in the development of a new look for the Festival with the team of young people who emerged to chair and introduce all the events. Young people from Orkney and elsewhere were to the fore in various events, including reports on the progress of hydrogen technology for transport and on electricity generation from kites.
Then there was the music, with the St Andrews New Music Ensemble putting on three concerts with a team of instrumentalists and singers, part of the university’s Music Planet series highlighting its strengths in music and environmental science. With musicians from Ireland as well, with local musicians and actors, there was a rich mix of music and dramatised lectures.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM EVENTS 2018
One of the highlights was Nobel Laureate Sir Paul Nurse (2001, Physiology/Medicine) in conversation with Dave Gray of BBC Radio Orkney. Another one was a dramatised lecture about the life of Paul Dirac, pioneer of quantum theory and arguably, in the title of the presentation, ‘The Strangest Man’. Dirac’s biographer, Dr Graham Farmelo, told the story, with David Sumner and Ragnhild Ljosland taking the parts of Dirac and his wife.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2018 FAMILY DAY
How far can a model car run on hydrogen? You start by connecting up the leads and seeing the hydrogen come bubbling up out of water – and oxygen too. And it was a day when you could make paper from natural materials, paint a 3D-printed butterfly or steer a Mars rover. You could learn to use an astronomical telescope, or make a cloud chamber and see particles from outer space.
The Selkie’s New Clothes
Are inspired by the selkie folklore, shape-shifting beings and their transformative powers. In order to shapeshift they had to cast off their sealskins. Within these magical skins lay the transformative power to return to seal form, and therefore to the sea.
Like the Corn Cut Down by the River
A 19th-century calculation of the tides in the area confirmed the chroniclers’ details. The story of the battle and the tide was depicted on 9 September 2018 in the 28th Orkney International Science Festival in Like the Corn Cut Down by the River, with Orkney Children’s Theatre Club, readers Dave Grieve and Ragnhild Ljosland, and singer Lorcán Mac Mathúna accompanied by Daire Bracken (fiddle) and Eamonn Galldubh (pipes and flute).