The Edinburgh Science Festival is an annual festival organized by the Edinburgh Science Foundation, with the dates varying from year to year. This year, the festival will be held from April 9 to 24. You know what that means — it’s time to get your geek on! This year’s event marks a return to the festival’s family hub at City Art Centre and two major new interactive exhibitions, DataSphere and Consumed, along with a vibrant and varied program of other events for audiences of all age ranges.
The focus will be on everything from personal to planetary health with an emphasis on the urgency of tackling the climate crisis. It will also explore lifeforms, lifecycles, revolutionary ideas, and solutions to global challenges.
History of Edinburgh Science Festival
Founded in 1989, the Edinburgh Science Foundation is an educational charity that operates Edinburgh Science’s Education and Festival programs. The festival’s principal sponsors were the Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Executive. The first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, inaugurated the festival. Some famous speakers have included Richard Dawkins, Brian Cox, Sir Ian Wilmut, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Christina Figueres, and Cordelia Fine.
The foundation is best known for organizing Edinburgh’s annual Science Festival, which is the world’s first public celebration of science and technology as a festival and is still among Europe’s largest. It is also well-known for its science education outreach programs, Generation Science and Careers Hive, along with its community engagement work.
Through its work, the foundation aims to inspire, encourage and challenge people of all ages and backgrounds to explore as well as understand the world around them. The foundation works throughout the year to create and deliver workshops, exhibitions, inspirational shows, discussions, debates, and performances that promote science communication and push the boundaries of people’s engagement as well as a fascination with science.
The festival is the U.K.’s largest science festival with nearly 270 events for families and adults. For adults, the program will feature discussions, debates, workshops, tastings, and nights out – all with a scientific flavor!
None of this is surprising considering that Edinburgh is often called the world’s festival city! It hosts a range of festivals all year round covering different kinds of interests including jazz & blues, art, books, storytelling, and films. There’s even a Royal Military Tattoo Festival! Another popular one is The Edinburgh Festival Fringe which calls itself “the single greatest celebration of arts and culture on the planet”.
Edinburgh Science Festival timeline
The Edinburgh Science Foundation is founded.
The World Science Festival is founded by Columbia University professor Brian Greene in New York.
The foundation works with the U.K. Space Agency and partners around Edinburgh to develop bespoke events to celebrate astronaut Tim Peake's six-month Principia mission aboard the International Space Station.
The organization changes its name from Edinburgh International Science Festival to Edinburgh Science to reflect the growing diversity of the Edinburgh Science programs.
Edinburgh Science Festival FAQs
Why are science festivals important?
As they offer an enjoyable setting with social interaction, visitors often develop increased curiosity in science and also value the opportunity to interact with scientific research through different forms of public engagement.
How many people visit the Edinburgh Science Festival?
In 2019, over 179,000 people participated in the event.
How many festivals are there in Scotland?
Scotland is home to over 200 festivals, including the famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Edinburgh Science Festival Activities
Visit the Edinburgh Science Festival
Book your tickets to Scotland and visit the festival in all its glory. You can participate in workshops and engage in discussions. We guarantee that the fun and learning don’t stop at this two-week event. Can’t visit Edinburgh? You can even participate online!
Find your nearest festival
Visit your nearest science festival if you can’t make it to Edinburgh. There are several organizations active around the world that host events in-person and online. Find one that works for you.
Have a science party
Invite your friends and family over for a science party! Dress up as the atom to surprise your friends and conduct fun (and safe) experiments in your house. Unleash your creativity and scientific curiosity about the world — safely.
5 Amazing Science Facts That Will Blow Your Mind
The Eiffel Tower grows taller during summer
The Eiffel Tower can grow up to six inches taller during the summer as metals expand on being heated — conversely, it shrinks in the winter.
Hawaii is moving closer to Alaska
Hawaii moves three inches closer to Alaska every year due to the movement of tectonic plates. It moves at the same speed at which our fingernails grow.
Stomach acid can melt steel beams
Our stomachs digest food because of highly corrosive hydrochloric acid with a pH of 2 to 3, which is strong enough to dissolve stainless steel.
Rats laugh when tickled
Documented evidence has shown that rats can laugh when tickled and even playfully chase after the hand.
Hot water freezes faster than cold water
Under some conditions, hot water freezes faster than cold water, a counter-intuitive phenomenon known as the Mpemba effect.
Why We Love Edinburgh Science Festival
It nurtures young minds
As one of the leading science communicators in the world, Edinburgh Science can be credited with nurturing children’s natural curiosity about the world around them and encouraging them to learn more.
It’s family friendly
While many of the programs are aimed at inspiring kids, there are several events that adults will find enjoyable as well. No matter your age, you’re bound to have a great time at the festival.
It also has online events
There’s no need to fret if you can’t attend the event in person. Edinburgh Science has you covered! There are a host of events that can be attended online from the comfort of your bedroom. What’s great is that most of them are free!
Edinburgh Science Festival dates