The two busy weeks of the Edinburgh International Science Festival have passed and what a crazy time it’s been! I was on EdSciFest’s creative team this time last year, so it’s been a fun change of perspective seeing it through the Museum’s eyes.
The Big Bang Bash was our space-themed party for grown-ups. Among the cacophony of treats were demonstrations of how to make a comet, the chance to take spacesuit selfies and upside-down challenges on the gravity-defying inversion tables. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m now tempted to wear a jumpsuit to work every day!
It’s not just events – real science happens here too. A group from the Informatics department at Edinburgh University made an unusual prop: the Data Bomb, a replica of the Howitzer shell that might be familiar to Glaswegians as a donation box in Queen Street and Central train stations. But rather than donating money, you instead donate data with its built-in USB port or selfie camera.
Your information buys you access to knowledge and other benefits online, but have you ever wondered why? It might sound odd, but the team are exploring just how much data we all give away every day – from our smartphones, our Facebook accounts, our tweets – and seeing if they can monetise it. You can follow them on Twitter @ExplodedData and yes, it turns out they can!
One of my favourite events explored the stories of those living and working with Motor Neurone Disease. Standout speaker of the day was Gordon Aikman; he’s recently turned 30 and is living with MND. Last year’s clever fundraising campaign, the Ice Bucket Challenge, raised awareness around the world but Gordon’s website is well worth a look for anyone who wants to learn more.
EdSciFest was just the beginning of an exciting year of science here at National Museums Scotland. More great science will be coming soon, so keep a watch on our website!