Nostalgia: Learning the magic of science

IT’S a birthday celebration that you’d expect to go off with a bang – and the Edinburgh International Science Festival is unlikely to disappoint as it marks its 25th anniversary this year.

The line-up for the extravaganza of experiments includes a three-storey balloon sculpture and a taste of food from the future as more than 200 of the brightest minds in science and technology gather in the Capital next month.

Deputy director Amanda Tyndall last week vowed: “This year’s festival will be the biggest and best yet.”

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There has been something for everyone throughout the festival’s quarter-century, with TV science teacher Dr Bunhead putting on an explosive performance during his Filthiest Show on Earth in April 2003.

In 1990, during the second Edinburgh International Science Festival, lord provost Eleanor McLaughlin earned a kiss from Adam Robot.

But the story of science in the Capital goes far beyond the festival’s 25 years.

The Queen was handed a lesson or two by Edinburgh Academy pupil David Ogden in 1974 when she visited the school’s science lab.

Children were entertained in 1987 when Canadian scientist Dr Jack Vallentyne – aka Johnny Biosphere – dropped by Broughton Primary School to recruit children for his “campaign to save the world”.

He explained environmental issues facing the planet during what the Evening News described as a “thought-provoking show”.

Wearing a safari suit and carrying a globe, “Johnny” used slides, recordings of animal noises and practical demonstrations to put across his message about the balance of the ecological system and the threat of pollution problems such as acid rain.