What do guide dogs, an armadillo, astronauts and jewellery making have in common?
They’re all part of Dundee Science Festival. Now in its seventh year, the two week celebration of science explodes into life this weekend.
For the next fortnight venues all over Dundee will be turned into laboratories and some of the city’s top scientists will be explaining the mysteries of their profession.
Rebecca Erskine is exhibition and community engagement manager at Dundee Science Centre. She’s the brains behind the festival.
“Our aim this year is to get out into the community much more. There are areas of the city where, for whatever reason, people don’t get the opportunity to engage with cultural events as often,” she says. “We want to make sure this year’s science festival is for the whole city.” Dundee Science Centre is the festival’s hub and the location where many of the events will take place.
Community hubs across Dundee will play host to events as diverse as jewellery making, tower building and ultraviolet photography.
“We’ll have events in the Wellgate, Kirkton, Menzieshill and Douglas,” Rebecca explains.
“Interest in outer space has been piqued by Tim Peake’s mission and there will be a great event about the night sky at Douglas Community Centre.”
Animals also feature highly in the event’s programme. “We’re going to have an armadillo!” Rebecca exclaims. “It’ll be part of a handling session where people can learn about lots of different animals.
“We also have a great amount of involvement from the Guide Dogs this year so there will be lots of puppies for people to see.”
There’s a hands-on approach to many of the festival’s events. “One of my favourites are the jewellery making workshops,” Rebecca adds. “You can try your hand at making a silver pendant .”
Another event introduces audiences to screen printing. Screen Print a Scientist will also shine a light on famous Dundee scientists including Geoffrey Dutton, D’Arcy Thompson and Margaret Fairlie.
Meanwhile, Fun with STIXX uses a special rolling machine to transform old newspapers into robust building blocks . Visitors can use them to create their own constructions and take part in the science festival’s competition to see who can build the tallest tower.”
As well as engaging people in the basics of science, the event features some of the most cutting edge researchers working in Dundee. “I work in science and even I’m amazed at what’s going on in the city,” Rebecca says.