Facing the Future: Edinburgh Science Festival 2024

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The Easter school holidays are about to start, which means it's the return of Edinburgh Science Festival (30 March - 14 April)! This years theme is Shaping the Future, which showcases some of the cutting-edge science and technology that can help us create a future that is sustainable, accessible for all and exciting. We've browsed through the programme, and picked out some of our maths highlights for you.

City Art Centre

At the City Art Centre, your entry pass lets you book up to three hands-on workshops. In Little Sparks (age 5+), young scientists can get stuck into circuits and work through challenges to create an electric-powered device. In Creative Coding (age 7+), budding engineers can program a robot to navigate around an obstacle course. And CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (age 7+) challenges your problem solving skills, as you become a forensic scientist and decipher the clues left behind at a crime scene. Plus lots more workshops to choose from! The City Art Centre is open Sat 30 March - Sat 13 April, except Sundays.

National Museum of Scotland

At the National Museum of Scotland, there are a range of free drop-in events to choose from:

Creative Informatics: Unleashing the Power of Data (30 March - 7 April) is an exhibition that lets you explore some of the innovative products, new experiences and groundbreaking work that has been developed through funding and support from Edinburgh's Creative Informatics programme. Suitable for all ages.

Discover Our Science (2-5 & 9-12 April) gives you the chance to meet some real life scientists from Edinburgh University and discover what they have been working on in the worlds of chemistry, maths and medicine, and have a go at being a scientist yourself. Suitable for all ages.

In LEGO Build the Change (8 - 14 April), learn about real-world challenges and build your own brilliant solutions in a hands-on activity about rewilding. Suitable for ages 5+

Plus, there are lots of bookable workshops and family shows happening at the National Museum of Scotland to choose from.

Museum on the Mound

Explore the secret world of coins and banknotes at Edinburgh's museum all about the history of money.

In Pounds and Pence – The Science in Your Pocket: Coins, use a wealth of fascinating material to discover the materials and methods used to make coins. You’ll even have the opportunity to strike your very own coin!

And in Pounds and Pence – The Science in Your Pocket: Banknotes, use rarely seen specimens from the Bank of Scotland to examine the complexity of banknote design using microscopes, explore the security features on banknotes and pit polymer against paper to test for strength.

Tues 2 - Sat 6 & Tues 9 - Sat 13 April. Free, drop-in. Suitable for ages 5

Geometry, Art & Mind

This free exhibition made an appearance at Maths Week Scotland two years ago, and is returning to Summerhall. Mind-bending mirrors make marvellous optical illusions, mapmakers fight to make flat maps from a round Earth, and is it possible to know what “four-dimensional space” would look like? Explore the difference between how things really look and how you might perceive them, with the Maths Outreach and College Engagement Teams from the University of Edinburgh.

30 March to 26 May (Wednesdays to Sundays). Free, drop-in. Suitable for all ages.

Discussions for Adults

For adults, there some great maths themed talks and discussions to choose from.

Identity by Algorithm (3 April): Increasingly, artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to identify patterns in the huge quantities of health and wellbeing data each of us generates every day. This conversation between bioethicists, philosophers, and data specialists invites you to consider whether you want to outsource the job of deciding ‘what sorts of people we can be’ to algorithms.

Pints and Puzzles (8 April): Join Mathematicians Katie Steckles and Ben Sparks for a mind-boggling evening of puzzles and mathematical thinking. Pit your wits against a series of beautiful, bamboozling maths brain teasers in this sociable night of fun.

A Very Short Introduction to Fractals (9 April): Discover the infinite complexity and surprising science of mathematical fractal shapes. Professor of Pure Mathematics at University of St Andrews, Kenneth Falconer, uncovers this new way of seeing the world and its exciting possibilities.

Head to the Science Festival website to see the full programme and book your tickets.

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