The Glasgow Science Festival is set to return to the city next month with a bigger programme of free events than ever.
The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Glasgow’s Looking Forward’, and visitors have a wide range of activities, talks, demonstrations and shows to look forward to once the festival opens on 1st June.
A six-metre-wide floating vision of the entire Earth, physics lessons from trapeze artists, a live roleplaying visit to the Glasgow of the future, a sound installation on the history of science in Scotland, and a celebration of Govan’s ‘Wee Forest’ are among the highlights of this year’s programme.
Now in its 17th year, the festival will stage more than 100 events for visitors of all ages at an expanded range of venues across the city, including the Botanic Gardens, Kelvin Hall, the Mitchell Library and the Kelvingrove, Riverside and Hunterian Museums.
The University of Glasgow’s new Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre, the Community Circus Paisley, and the Mackintosh Queen’s Cross will also host events for the first time, along with a series of local libraries and community spaces.
The popular Science on the Sofa programme, established when the festival was forced to go online during covid lockdowns in 2020, is also making a return this year.
For the whole of June, the Festival’s website will host a series of engaging videos from experts at universities and other institutions across the UK. Viewers will have the chance to learn about cyber security, climate change, virology, biology, misinformation and more, as well as the chance to interact with leading researchers in a series of live chats.
Dr Deborah McNeill of the University of Glasgow is the Glasgow Science Festival’s director. She said: “Glasgow has a proud history of making breakthroughs in science and engineering, and the programme we’ve put together this year offers a fantastic range of events which celebrate the city’s past successes and showcases some of the innovations which are being developed here today.
“We have something in the programme everyone, from family-focused events at the Botanics and the city’s museums which offer kids a chance to engage with science and learn from real researchers, to music and comedy shows geared more towards adults.
“We’re really proud of the selection of events we’ve put together this year, and we’re looking forward to welcoming people to the city to celebrate science with us from June 1st.”
Some of the highlights of this year’s festival include:
- Gaia and her Renewable Energy Miracles: For All, Forever: This event at the Mackintosh Queens Cross looks forward to how Scotland will help the world achieve net-zero. Visitors can use ‘energy goggles’ to see the planet’s energy for themselves, hitch a ride on a sunbeam and take a once in a lifetime tour of Gaia’s energy system. A ticket to the show will also offer free access to ‘Gaia’, a stunning high-resolution six-metre-wide floating Earth created by artist Luke Jerram. Gaia will be on display at the Mackintosh Queens Cross from 13 May until 24 June.
- Sound Installation at the Kelvin Hall: A selection of audio clips from the National Library of Scotland’s sound collections on Scotland’s contributions to science will be showcased at the Kelvin Hall. Visitors will have the chance to listen to oral histories, educational recordings and lectures on some of Scotland’s Science breakthroughs, and share some of their own memories of the city.
- The Physics of the Flying Trapeze: Master trapeze coach Scott Craig will give a peek behind the scenes of a live training session with students from Community Circus Paisley and explain the science that makes it all happen.
- Science & Sorcery: This live, interactive roleplaying comedy show will lead audiences on a mystical journey through a futuristic Glasgow with the science-themed guidance of a Dungeons & Dragons-style dungeon master.
- Wee Forest Community Day: Staff from the Glasgow Science Centre’s community learning team will be celebrating the “Wee Forest” off Govan Road, created as a legacy of COP26. Visitors can take part in tabletop science exhibits, see live music, explore community group tables, and see community artwork. There will also be explorations of the forest itself, with drop-in workshops offering the chance to learn more about its flora and fauna.
The Festival will also host the grand final of the Creating Engineers competition, which attracted entries from more than 3,000 P5 and P6 pupils a from across the west of Scotland who were challenged to solve challenges using the construction set K’Nex.