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Research the Fringe…

by on 2014/08/02

Some of our readers (those not in the UK or who live under rocks) may not be aware that in August, the City of Edinburgh hosts the World’s largest arts festival, commonly known as the Edinburgh Fringe.  As a number of the contributors to Research the Headlines are based in Edinburgh (and one is actually performing) we thought we would provide some listings of events that may be of interest to our readers.   These might be research related, or include aspects of skeptical/rationalist thought, or just be very entertaining.  Either way, we hope this will be helpful for any readers of the blog who are in Edinburgh for the festivals.  If we’ve missed anything out that you would like to highlight then please let us know in the comments.

First off lets get a plug for the show by our regular Research the Headlines contributor, Dr. Alan Gow, who is presenting “Brain Training on Trial” at the Stand in the Square (Venue 372), on the 18th of August at 15.40.  This show is part of the “Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas” (CoDI) where researchers will discuss their potentially controversial research work with the audience.  This takes place at the same time each day in the Yurt at the Stand in the Square, from the 1st to the 25th of August (not 13th) and tickets cost a mere £5.

The local “Bright Club” (stand up comedy by researchers) are also running a number of shows during the fringe, including one in the CoDI strand and another at the BBC’s venue at Potterrow.  Details of these shows, and of Bright Club Edinburgh’s other activities can be found at their website.

As they’ve done for the last few years of the Fringe, the local Edinburgh Skeptics group have a packed programme of events over the next three weeks under the “Skeptics at the Fringe” banner.  Highlights include local SF author and former writer in residence for the Genomics Forum, Ken MacLeod on the 8th of August, and Prof Richard Wiseman on his favourite topic of “Weird Stuff” on the 22nd.  All of the Edinburgh Skeptics shows are at The Banshee Labyrinth (Venue 156) at 19.50.

The prolific Prof Wiseman has a number of other shows he is involved with this August. “Experimental: The Show That Plays With Your Mind“, is a “show with no performer” at the Voodoo Rooms (Venue 68), at 17.00 from the 17th to the 24th of August.  Also at the same venue from the 2nd to the 16th at 5pm, Richard will take part in the show “And the Goat Remained a Goat”, alongside the Creative Martyrs.  This show explores the story of ghost hunter and psychic investigator, Harry Price, through music, magic and comedy.  The current RtH author, Stewart Smith, has seen previews of both of these shows at the mysterious Edinburgh Secret Society over the last two weeks and would highly recommend them.  Prof Wiseman’s final show in the fringe is “Night School”, based on his recent book of the same name.  This is definitely the most “scientific” of the three shows and involves a “live EEG demonstration, mass suggestion and a free pair of yellow glasses”!  Night School is at the Assembly Rooms (Venue 20) on August 14th at 12.20 and tickets cost £10.

Many of the events we’ve mentioned so far are part of the PBH Free Fringe, and there are a number of other shows in this strand that may be of interest to readers.  Rather than repeat all of these we will just provide a link for the “Science and Rationalism” strand.

If you would like your research with an added hint of alcohol on then look out for Hendrick’s Carnival of Knowledge, running a variety of events from the 7th to the 10th of August.  Topics include: Voodoo, Taxidermy, Zombies and Dissection, with the usual opportunities to sample their rather distinctive gin.  All events will be in Hendrick’s “travelling parlour” which will be located at 1 Royal Circus (Venue 225).

If you’d rather find something for the kids to do, we can recommend Doctor Bunhead’s Secret Science Lab from August 13-24 (not 18th) at the Assembly Rooms (Venue 20) from 11.05.  If you’ve ever seen this stunt scientist perform you know that explosions are the least you can expect.

Just to finish off, here are a few other highlights that can be found under the heading of “Science” in the Fringe programme:

David Mulholland’s Conspiracy 

Oliver Meech: When Magic and Science Collide 2.0

Robin Ince’s Blooming Buzzing Confusion

Edinburgh Medical Detectives

John Lloyd’s Museum of Curiosity Live  –  NEW LISTING

Of course, with so many shows in the Fringe (over 3000) and the other Festivals in Edinburgh as well, there’s bound to be something that we’ve missed.  Please let us know in the comments for this post and we’ll try to update the listings over the next few weeks.

Edinburgh International Book Festival UPDATE

The book festival starts on the 9th of August and there are a few strands in the programme which may be of interest to our readers.  Under the category of “Science” you can find a number of different events and talks, including sometimes controversial figures such as Baroness Susan Greenfield (20 Aug, 8pm) and Prof Richard Dawkins (13 Aug, 4.30pm).  These are likely to sell out quickly.  Other science related events include:

Ben Shephard, Sciences of the Mind, 24 Aug 2:30pm

Prof. Gillian Beer (with Ali Smith), Something Else: Curiouser and Curiouser, 15 Aug, 3.30pm

Trevor Cox, How Sound Affects Us, 15 Aug, 2.30pm

Taylor Downing & Graham Farmelo, War and Scientific Advances, 21 Aug, 4pm

Another strand which may be of interest is entitled Matters of the Mind.  This covers a number of topics including OCD, and people who hear voices.  The latter subject is expanded upon in a series of events sponsored partly by the Wellcome Trust, called Conversations with Ourselves.   As with the Fringe listings above, please let us know via the comments if there’s something important that we’ve missed.

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