Festival explores science’s power to transform

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Vaccine-building workshops, a guide to the mathematics of pizza, and hands-on activities exploring good and bad bacteria are among events involving University experts at the Edinburgh Science Festival.

The shows are part of a packed programme focused on the theme of how seismic shifts in science and ideas have led to industrial, climate and data revolutions.

Running from 9 to 24 April, this year’s event – the world’s first and Europe’s biggest science festival – features 120 events, tours and exhibitions, as well as workshops for children, young people and adults.

Other highlights include the return of University scientists to the National Museum of Scotland for the first time since 2019 where they will deliver a programme of bookable and drop-in events, talks and workshops for all ages.

Festival line-up

This photo was taken at a previous event.

Experts from across the University will share their expertise and insights, leading a variety of events across a diverse range of topics.

Below is a list of all the events involving University researchers, organised by theme.

Explore the full programme on the Edinburgh Science Festival website:

Full programme


National Museum of Scotland – workshops

Ready, Steady, Grow: The Lifecycle of a human body

Join scientists from the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health to learn about the challenges of creating a new life from successful fertilisation of an egg, to the growth and development of an embryo, and ultimately the creation of a healthy human.

What’s inside?

In this workshop, expert anatomists will introduce you to the basics of medical imaging, including X-Rays, CT and MRI, and help you learn about the inner workings of your body through interactive exercises and real-world examples.

Disease Detectives

In this workshop, explore how different infections spread, how we can identify the culprit, and how to then treat the illness. It will be run by real life Disease Detectives – scientists at the University of Edinburgh who are working to find out more about infectious diseases.

Host Busters Family Workshop

Get hands-on with fun activities run by scientists from the Roslin Institute, to learn about useful and harmful bacteria and how they spread, and play the Host Busters game to see if your bacteria can survive in different farm animals, and find out what it’s like to be a scientist.

Amazing Immunology: Build a Vaccine

Build your own vaccine from 3D-printed parts, ‘vaccinate’ a pet in a fun ball game, and explore how vaccines inform the immune system and protect against disease in this series of hands-on activities run by medical scientists from the University of Edinburgh.

This photo was taken at a previous event.

National Museum of Scotland – drop-in activities


Find out what fruit flies can tell us about immunity, and make some discoveries of your own. Get hands-on to identify live fruit fly mutants under the microscope, diagnose malaria from blood samples, and predict what will happen in a live plant growth experiment.

Circles in Maths, Nature… and Everyday Life

Explore why pizza is round and other questions through interactive challenges and puzzles. Find out what it really means to be a mathematician from University students and staff as they discuss their research and how mathematics underpins discoveries.

Quantum Spies

Explore the mysteries of quantum informatics with Edinburgh scientists. Expose hidden messages, cover your tracks, and intercept secret transmissions, all by manipulating the quantum nature of light.

This photo was taken at a previous event. 

Tam Dalyell Prize Lecture

Tam Dalyell Prize Lecture

Professors Philippa Saunders and Andrew Horne this year share the University of Edinburgh’s Tam Dalyell Prize for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science in recognition of their work to include lived experience and the needs of people with endometriosis in their research. They’ll share how they are combining their clinical and research expertise with women’s experiences to find new ways to approach this devastating condition.


Outdoor exhibitions

Vaccine Voyages

This outdoor exhibition explores the first global health mission, showing how the horrors of the Atlantic slave trade were entwined with the vaccine revolution.

Worlds of Care

This outdoor exhibition reflects on the care we give and receive, and how we respond to the challenges of an ageing population. Explore how care is commonly portrayed, percieved and experienced, and journey through different worlds of care.


Self-guided walking tours

Secrets of Healthy Cognitive Aging

In 1932 almost all children living in Scotland who were born in 1921 sat a test that measured their thinking abilities. Travel through time to learn about the unique history of the Lothian Birth Cohort studies, the people involved and what they can teach us about brain health and ageing.


How does your brain change during the course of your life? Consider this question as you discover Edinburgh’s neuroscience landmarks past and present in this walking tour created by Edinburgh Neuroscience.

Edinburgh’s Hidden Chemistry

This self-guided tour follows a few of the chemistry highlights within Edinburgh’s history, and invites you to explore the great chemistry discoveries which took place in our city.

Tree Spotting: How Green is your Neighbourhood?

Take a self-guided walk through the Tollcross area to discover the legacy of urban planning and neighbourhood characteristics, and learn  how scientists seek to understand the influence of environmental factors influence our health later in life.

A Mathematical Tour Around Edinburgh

Hear and see the mathematical delights hidden in Edinburgh’s city centre. Uncover secret history, discover some highlights of mathematics developed over the past two thousand years, and try your hand at intriguing puzzles and games.

Exploring Edinburgh’s Volcano

Take a walk around Holyrood Park and explore the evidence of ancient volcanoes and how the geology still shapes the city and landscape we see today. There are two versions of this trail available – one for families and one for adults and young people.

Images: Douglas Robertson; University of Edinburgh