Edinburgh Science Festival, scheduled for 4–19 April 2020, was cancelled due to the global spread of COVID-19. Although the physical event won’t go ahead as planned, we are incredibly excited to be hosting a digital alternative, Elements of #EdSciFest, instead.
Sticking with our original theme of ‘Elementary’, our new digital mini-Festival explores science’s role in addressing the biggest global environmental challenges through five strands – Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Aether, representing the digital world.
Each element provides a different way of looking at some of the challenges and opportunities facing humanity in a complex world. The All Fired Up strand focuses on how we tackle the climate crisis with the urgency it requires. One Earth explores the circular and sharing economies, tackles our extinction crisis and looks at ways we can feed the world on a global scale. The Air We Breathe looks in to air pollution and fuel alternatives that will help bring clean air to as many people as possible. Water for Life dives into our relationship with rivers and oceans and the protection they need from exploitation. Finally, Aether Go Digital looks at the power we hold at our fingertips, the potential solutions that technology holds to our problems and the issues that might arise from it.
These strands will consist of online entertainment, curated articles, downloadable resources and much more covering all the Science Festival favourites throughout the month of April.
Scroll down to discover the Elements of #EdSciFest
Live streamed content will include talks from broadcaster Claudia Hammond on the importance of rest in our fast-moving world, science writer Marcus Chown explores the vast complexities of the Universe and Professor Ilan Kelman looks at how the majority of 'natural disasters' are created or exacerbated by human choices.
Elsewhere, The University of Edinburgh have prepared a range of videos exploring issues around climate change. Also, Digital World (Skills Development Scotland) are sharing a range of digital workshops and online learning with fun tasks challenging audiences to Defend the Hospital and Steal a Pizza.
Instead of the Dinosaur Weekend that was planned for children at the Pleasance, the Festival has designed a series of dinosaur crafts that kids can download and make at home. Plus, two events that were planned for the Festival’s flagship family venue, the City Art Centre, will now take place in digital form as part of an Edinburgh Science takeover of the popular Earth Live Lessons YouTube series. On 10 and 11 April, viewers can livestream talks focused on our amazing oceans and Scottish wildlife.
With our climate in crisis and our world in turmoil, buffeted by false news and media manipulation, it has never been more important to shine a spotlight on the threats, challenges and opportunities that face planet Earth – to champion reasoned and rational thought and the value of evidence, and to help equip the public and our policy makers with information that helps them make informed decisions about the things that matter most.
We hope you’ll join us for Elements of #EdSciFest.
Aether was said to be the fifth element, the ‘other’ that was unknown, something that linked us together. In times when we are separated, the ‘other’ that can bring us together is digital.
The reach of social media, social apps and even a phone call is linking us to other humans at a time of need. We are social creatures and our digital future is facilitating this contact.
But digital is helping to save our planet in ways beyond being connected. Digital allows the development of Big Data, which is making leaps in allowing us to find trends and patterns in vast quantities of data leading to breakthroughs in medicine and space. Digital makes software which can run simulations to help in modelling our environment and tracking what may happen in the future based on past experiences. Digital creates robots who can carry out tasks to change the way we interact with the world around us and each other. Digital is everywhere and the Aether is the leap into what is next.
Part of this strand is made up of a series of Cyber Skills Live Lessons from our Festival supporters, Digital World. These fun, interactive lessons include testing audience’s cyber security skills in How to Steal a Pizza, plus learn some Python code to track down a cyber-criminal gang in Every Picture Tells a Story.
Click below for a collection of digital events, articles, downloadable resources and recommendations under our Aether, Go Digital strand.
Supported by the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund
Supported by DeltaDNA
Supported by CityFibre