The Edinburgh Science Festival recently came to an end but I had the pleasure to visit with my daughter once again. We don’t get to go every year but if it is on whilst we’re in the area then I make sure we get to do something.
This year we went on the first day. We eschewed the lure of a Dino day at Summerhall and went to the National Museum of Scotland for a day that ended up being more technical than scientific but was a great experience nevertheless.
I liked the sound of “Lost in Space”, a presentation about our place in the universe. We were lucky to get in as we literally got the last ticket. The presentation was good and for the children there was a chance to touch and learn more about meteorites. My daughter also got to have a go on Oculus Rift, a brand new virtual reality headset. I had heard good things about the next generation technology. She was less impressed, even when I told her that she was one of the first people in the world to try it out. Her conclusion: it was blurry and buggy.
I was impressed when my daughter wanted to do the “Code Yourself!” workshop, using a software platform called Scratch which she had previously used at school. This session was really well presented and perfectly pitched at the right level for the children.
Code Yourself is actually a full course you can study online. You can download Scratch for free so she can pick this up again in the future if she wants.
There were other areas that had very hands-on little experiments but the rest of the day was spent in the videogame exhibition “Game Masters” that was also in the Museum but not part of the Festival. This was a big collection of original arcade and video games from the very early days until the present day, including Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Outrun, Super Hang-On. There were also series of games like Super Mario Bros that they showed through the generations, so you could play it on NES, Nintendo64 and Wii.
Overall it was another great day out. It’s always interesting, always different. I really wish I could be in the area longer so I could see events throughout the Festival and check out the Mini Maker Faire at the end. This summer Maker Faire is coming to London – I can’t wait…
• Spare Cycles: A great day out at the Edinburgh International Science Festival
• Spare Cycles: A great day out at the Edinburgh Maker Faire
• Spare Cycles: The Royal Observatory Planetarium – a great day out
• Spare Cycles: An evening out at Café Scientifique