Glasgow’s Transforming for this year’s Science Festival

Published: 30 April 2024

Glasgow is set to transform into a celebration of the city’s past, present and future on the cutting edge of science and technology as the Glasgow Science Festival returns in June.

Glasgow is set to transform into a celebration of the city’s past, present and future on the cutting edge of science and technology as the Glasgow Science Festival returns in June.
The programme for this year’s festival is being officially unveiled today (Tuesday 30th April) ahead of the start of the series of events which run between 6th and 16th June.
The festival, now in its 18th year, brings together representatives from UK universities, voluntary organisations and government bodies to lead more than 150 activities, talks, workshops, and exhibitions centred around the theme of ‘Glasgow's Transforming’.
The theme will be explored during events across the city in venues including the Riverside, Kelvingrove and Hunterian Museums, the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, and the University of Glasgow’s Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre.
Visitors will have the chance to learn more about the city’s involvement in health and wellbeing research, innovative tech breakthroughs, the intersections between art and science, the importance of nature and biodiversity and Glasgow’s rich scientific and industrial heritage.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow’s School of Computing Science showcase their VR technology which turns a 30mph car trip into thrilling fast-paced spaceship adventure without causing motion sickness. The technology will be showcased at the Riverside Museum between June 14th and 16th.
Glasgow Science Festival is delighted to be supported and funded by the Scottish Government and the University of Glasgow.
Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade Richard Lochhead said: “Glasgow is a centre of world-class science, innovation and research. The Science Festival celebrates that proud tradition and enables people to learn about and share in the city’s new achievements. I hope it also inspires the next generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians and entrepreneurs, whose skills we will need as Scotland grows the sustainable industries of the future. That is why the Scottish Government is delighted to support this wonderful event and others like it right across the country.”
The festival’s popular Science on the Sofa programme, which began in 2020 when in-person events were cancelled due to pandemic lockdowns, returns once more, offering a diverse selection of educational online videos, events and activities.
Science on the Sofa can be accessed from the festival’s website for the entire month of June, covering topics including dealing with plastic waste, tackling the threat of viruses making the jump from animals to humans, and how women are contributing to space research.
Dr Deborah McNeill of the University of Glasgow is the Glasgow Science Festival’s director. She said: “Glasgow has been in a state of reinvention for hundreds of years, shapeshifting from a world leader in textiles, shipbuilding and engineering to the pioneering hub for a wide range of science and medical research that it is today.
This year’s festival will celebrate that spirit of invention with events for visitors of all ages. It’s particularly apt that we’ll be exploring the ways in which Glasgow’s transforming during the year which the city celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Lord Kelvin, who contributed so much to the modern world, from laying to first transatlantic telegraph cable to developing the temperature scale that bears his name”.
“I’m looking forward to welcoming people from across the city, around Scotland and beyond to this year’s festival, and virtual visitors to our Science of the Sofa programme.”
Some of the highlights of this year’s festival include:

  • Fun and Useful Virtual/Augmented Reality for Transport Passengers: This event at the Riverside Museum between June 14th and 16th showcases research from the University of Glasgow’s School of Computing science which uses virtual and augmented reality technology to reduce motion sickness on road trips.
  • Exploring Kelvin's Space Problem: The University of Glasgow’s Advanced Research Centre will host multi-media artistic exploration of Lord Kelvin's solution for filling 3D space using a single shape with minimal surface area. Visitors can visualise Kelvin’s solution through a series of paintings, texts and an interactive 3D model including work from artist Dr Gregor Harvie.
  • CinemaARC: A series of science-related films will be shown in an outdoor cinema at St Mungo Square, including scientific shorts showcasing the work of the University of Glasgow’s Advanced Research Centre, a family screening of Disney Pixar’s Lightyear and a chance to see Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity.
  • Science on the Streets: On Friday 7th June, researchers from the University of Strathclyde will lead two heritage walks through the city centre and Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis. Walkers will hear about how Glasgow scientists like James Watt and Joseph Lister helped shape the modern world.
  • Transforming Glasgow’s Health Escape Rooms: Researchers from the University of Glasgow’s School of Health & Wellbeing have designed a series of escape rooms at the Clarice Pears Building on the theme of improving the  city’s health. On Saturday 8th June, visitors will learn data analysis, Braille reading and British Sign Language and use audio visual or creative thinking to solve health-related challenges.
  • Human and Animal Intelligence: On Wednesday 12th June, the Advanced Research Centre will host a Café Scientifique event hosted by Dr Kirsten Blakey of the University of Stirling to discuss the moral implications of recognising animal intelligence. What would giving up intensive farming mean for our diets and how might it help tackle climate change?

The festival will also continue its longstanding relationship with schools through the Creating Engineers competition, which invites pupils from P5 and P6 to tackle challenges using k:Nex kits. This year, the festival is also running a competition for children aged between 4 and 18 to develop an idea for an app which could solve real-life problems using science, technology, engineering and maths. The winning entries will be displayed at the Riverside Museum between June 6th and June 16th.
For more information on this year’s Glasgow Science Festival lineup, visit the festvial website.

First published: 30 April 2024