Peter Higgs to be festival highlight

Peter Higgs will make an appearance at the festival. Picture: contributed
Peter Higgs will make an appearance at the festival. Picture: contributed
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Elephant toothpaste, a glass dress and Lego models of the Wonders of the World are among the star attractions set to give a spark to this year’s Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Around 200 of the best and brightest minds in science and technology are set to appear at the annual two-week event, which has proven so successful it now boasts a second venue.

Events at the festival, which runs from April 5 to 20 at the City Art Centre and Summerhall, will examine everything from politics, art and literature to DIY.

One of the most anticipated events is likely to be A Conversation with Peter Higgs, which will see the Edinburgh University professor make his first major public appearance in the Capital since winning the Nobel Prize for Physics.

Other highlights will include GastroFest, a mini-festival about the science of food and drink – and as the country prepares to vote on independence, Scotland Decides will examine the political questions shaping our scientific future.

Amanda Tyndall, deputy director of the festival, said the combination offered something for everyone. She said: “For two weeks the city will become the perfect melting pot for discussion as we explore and highlight the centrality of science to all aspects of our lives.

“We’ve put together events for people who might not necessarily think they are interested in science, subjects like food, music and fashion.

“And this year, we’ve responded to the fact that the City Art Centre, our main venue, is maxed out. There’s been such a demand for science events we created a new strand of performances for families, which will be held at Summerhall.”

The Edinburgh International Science Festival was founded in 1989 and has hosted the likes of Professor Richard Dawkins, TV physicist Brian Cox and Dolly the Sheep creator Professor Sir Ian Wilmut.

Ms Tyndall said the appearance of Prof Higgs – who put his name to the so-called “God particle” which explains why matter has mass – was exciting news for the science festival.

She said: “Professor Higgs is a long-time friend of the festival and having him here is a huge boon for us – it will be the first time he has made a major public appearance in the city since winning the Nobel Prize.”

Last year saw the festival celebrate its 25th anniversary, with one of its highlights a three-storey balloon sculpture by New-York based artist Jason Hackenwerth in the Grand Gallery of the National Museum of Scotland. Among the other highlights this April will be Anatomy of an Artist – during which Professor Helen Storey and Summerhall curator Paul Robertson will examine links between art and science.

Tickets can be booked online at or through the box office on 0844 557 2686 from today.