New Glasgow University Science Festival

Published: 7 March 2007

Three-month extravaganza will take science to the people

The University of Glasgow is to launch a new science festival.

With more than 80 events lined up between March 12 and June 28, the festival has been established to commemorate 100th anniversary of the death of Lord Kelvin, one of Scotland's greatest scientists.

Professor John Coggins, University of Glasgow Vice Principal of Life Sciences, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, said: 'This is an exciting new science festival for the city, showcasing what the University of Glasgow is all about.

'For more than 500 years, Glasgow University has been at the forefront of scientific thought and this festival is a way of showing the country, and the world, that science is just as important now as it has ever been.

'Our scientists are continuing to make world-class breakthroughs and they want to share their new knowledge and their enthusiasm with as many people as possible.

'The Festival features academics from across the range of subjects at which we excel. There will be contributions from graduate students and research fellows as well as from our Chancellor, Professor Sir Kenneth Calman, who will give a public lecture on science and ethics and Scotland's Astronomer Royal, Professor John Brown who will be using magic to illustrate the wonders of the universe.

"Many of the activities are designed for schools and families and we hope they will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers in Scotland.

"There will also be a serious side to the festival. A discussion on the relationship between science and religion will take place in the University Chapel. An evolution and creationism debate has been scheduled to look rationally at an area that has produced hysteria in some circles.

'There are also public lectures on environmental justice and an examination of artificial intelligence and the definition of consciousness.

'There will also be an open evening at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, which will feature easy to understand talks describing the future of cancer research and an explanation of the expansion programme at the Institute.'

University of Glasgow Principal, Sir Muir Russell, said: 'This festival will be a real boost for the city and brings science to the people. Our staff are committed to making their science accessible to the public and this festival is a perfect platform for them to do that.

'Enthusing youngsters about science is a key priority of this University and I believe the Glasgow University Science Festival will do just that.'

A total of 25,000 people are expected to take part in the Festival, which received funding from the Science and Society budget of the Scottish Executive. The vast majority of the events are free.

Family days activities will allow the public to make and race a solar powered car, extract DNA from fruit and vegetables, lie on a bed of nails, stand inside a giant bubble, see a glass smashed by sound and make and keep their own radio.

Events for schools include CSI River City, where pupils use forensic science to solve a crime, Taming A Tsunami in which Dr Gordon Curry talks about his experiences during the 2004 tsunami in Thailand and explores the science of a tsunami and Arcs and Sparks in which Dr Ken Skeldon presents a show about the history of electricity which includes spectacular high-voltage electricity demonstrations.

The Festival will also coincide with the re-opening of the Lord Kelvin: Revolutionary Scientist exhibition at the Hunterian Museum in late May, a permanent display based around the life and work of Glasgow's greatest scientist. An exciting mix of hands on activities, original scientific instruments, demonstrations and computer-generated images bring this display to life in the newly refurbished Hunterian Museum - which this year celebrates its 200th anniversary.


Glasgow University Science Festival

Ray McHugh (

For more information, please contact Ray McHugh at the University of Glasgow Media Relations office on 0141 330 3535 or email

First published: 7 March 2007

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