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Young Academy members perform at Edinburgh Festival

The 2018 Edinburgh festival will see three YAS members and one Emeritus YAS members participate and perform in educational shows.  These shows are:

  • But Where Are You Really From? YAS member Pinar Aksu will perform in this one-hour play, which explores identity, culture, labels and stories of migration.  Just Festival / World Spirit Theatre 24-25 August 19:15, Hall at St John's. Pinar is also involved in producing, but not performing in, a second play with this company, Connected Lives.
  • Picking Over the Bones of the Past YAS member and paleontologist Steve Brusatte will discuss his best-selling book, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs at this Edinburgh Book Festival Event. 26 August 10:30am, Spark Theatre, George Streeet.
  • Big Bucks for Big Bosons: What's the Point of the Large Hadron Collider? YAS member Victoria Martin, one of Peter Higgs' undergraduate students, is leader of the Higgs boson research team at the University of Edinburgh. She will discuss the LHC, the Higgs boson and what is the point of continuing to run the world's largest and more expensive experiment.  Skeptics on the Fringe, 13 August, 19.30, The Banshee Labyrinth.
  • What Keeps You Sharp? Emeritus YAS Member and Former co-chair Alan Gow will explore how our thinking skills change through midlife and beyond, and whether our lifestyles affect those changes. The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas. 7 August 20:10  &  16 August 13:30, New Town Theatre
  • Brain Training on Trial Emeritus YAS Member Alan Gow examines a variety of games promising to protect peoples' thinking skills as they get older.  Audience members will act as prosecution, defence and jury as we examine the claims that brain training games protect your brain. Skeptics on the Fringe, 20 August, 19.30, The Banshee Labyrinth.

There are many more fun, educational and informative Edinburgh festival events for those interested in science, history, culture, and social issues.  For an overview of some of these events, please visit Research the Headlines' Research the Fringe post.

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YAS members collaborate on science communication project: biofilms.

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This summer new YAS members, Dr. Mhairi Towler Director of Vivomotion (www.vivomotion.co.uk), a scientific animation company and Dr. Adam Stokes, an interdisciplinary scientist and engineer, and Director of The University of Edinburgh FabLab, got chatting about potential collaborations at the induction ceremony at the RSE in August. Mhairi had already started working with existing YAS member Dr. Nicola Stanley-Wall from the College of Life Sciences at University of Dundee, to realise her vision for a special exhibition being held in November as part of the Great British Bioscience Festival run by the BBSRC. 

Nicola and Mhairi had produced an animation explaining the process of biofilm formation, along with roller banners, stickers, postcards and T-shirts to help Nicola promote her research at the festival.  They had discussed the idea of making 3D printed models of biofilms for visitors to interact with at the exhibition, but hadn’t found a partner to work with on this.  Enter Adam, who had previously worked with other scientists to make 3D printed models in his FabLab.  Based on a photograph of a biofilm taken in Nicola’s lab, Vivomotion built a 3D model of the biofilm that Adam could use with his 3D printer. The biofilm models were printed and surface treated for Nicola to use at the exhibition (see photo above).  This 3-way collaboration exemplifies one of the aims of YAS, the fostering of interdisciplinary activities with the added benefit that the 6500 visitors to the Great British Bioscience Festival were able to engage with cutting edge research in a hands on way. 

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Heidi is a Research Fellow at the Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology, Heriot-Watt University. Her research investigates the photosynthesis of marine algae and corals and the role these organisms play in the oceanic carbon cycle.

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