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The March of Science

Another listing of science events going on around Edinburgh this month. Although I’ve stretched the definition of “Science” somewhat. And, indeed, “Edinburgh”

There’s a lot of stuff on this month, thanks in large part to the Edinburgh International Science Festival with events throughout the city in the last week of March (highlighted in blue in the pdf). But it’s not the only game in town – or indeed out of town.  Dunbar Science Festival is hosting various events towards the start of March (in red on the pdf), and is only a short train ride from Waverley.

Edinburgh Science Events – March 2016 [PDF link]






Science in Edinburgh – February 2016

I was at an event last week organised by Edinburgh Beltane (not that one) on marketing science events. Inspired partially by that, and by my thought that someone should do for Edinburgh what Londonist did with their “Week in Geek“, I realised that I was “someone”, and had some time on my hands. I was feeling listless, so I made a list.

For such a short month, February does seem rather busy, but that may be partially down to Innovative Learning Week. Anyway, if I’ve got everything working right, this should link to a PDF. It’s a work in progress, so I might get things a bit more shiny for March, just in time for Edinburgh International Science Festival.

PDF link: Edinburgh Science Events

Free the Edinburgh Festivals!

Festival season is in full swing in Edinburgh, with the Fringe and International festival just kicked off, the Art Festival having been on for a week already, with the Book Festival and several more to come. There’s a wealth of talent and performances on offer, and you’d have to be pretty wealthy to see all of it. But it needn’t be expensive, there’s lots of stuff happening for free.

Free Festivals

PBH Free Fringe

The grand-daddy (or possible “Crazy Old Uncle” of free shows at the Fringe is the PBH Free Fringe. Started way back in THE PAST by Peter Buckley-Hill in the basement of a pub, it’s now expanded to a diverse range of venues across the city, putting on comedy, music, spoken word, theatre and much more. The shows are free to put on, and any money the performers make comes from donations from audiences pub into a bucket at the end of the show. All the shows are listed on the website, and also in the Wee Blue Book that you can pick up from any PBH venues. Even this little book can seem somewhat overwhelming, but I find a good strategy if you have some free time is to head to the Banshee Labyrinth and go see whatever show is starting next. Particularly if you get there just after 7:30.

Free Festival

A somewhat similar name, and a broadly similar model, the Free Festival puts on a range of shows for free in various venues across the city. But not the same ones as the PBH festival. Oh no.

La Favorita Freestival

There are only so many combinations of the words “Free” “Fringe” or “Festival”, so why not make up a new one! And why not buy some pizza too!

Heroes of the Fringe

A variation on the model – in that tickets can be bought in advance, with any remaining places before the show going under the “pay what you want” model. They have a double-decker bus this year, which is great. As it means you won’t have to go to The Hive so much. Unless, you know, you want to?

Free Music

Lots of places are putting on free music shows throughout the month. Some of which do so regularly throughout the year, and some just for August. Here are a few of them.

National Museum of Scotland

Free Fringe Music in the galleries at NMS on Chamber Street, each day at 14:00 from a wide range of musicians.

St Giles Cathedral

St Giles continues their weekly “St Giles at 6” concerts on Sunday evenings at 18:00, but there are also concerts going on at lunchtimes throughout the month.

St Mary’s Cathedral

St Mary’s in the West End is also putting on free lunchtime concerts:

St Mary’s Metropolitan

St Mary’s in the East end is also putting on free lunchtime concerts:


Many pubs and clubs and other venues have live music on throughout the day and night, mostly as part of one of the free festivals outlined above. Also other venues featuring free stages, and various one-off events going on around town. Just keep an eye out. Or an ear. Also some cheap(ish) shows going on at Henry’s Cellar Bar:

Pale Imitation Festival:

Be A Legend:

Other Venues and Festivals

Royal Mile

If you don’t want to get flyered, don’t go down the Royal Mile. If you have somewhere to get to very soon, don’t go down the Royal Mile. If you have (perfectly reasonable) aversion to fire eaters and CRUSTY JUGGLERS then… Well, there are many reasons NOT to visit the Royal Mile in August, but I think it’s worth a trip, bearing the above warnings in mind. There are stages at various points between David Hume’s statue at the top of the Mound, and the Tron Kirk where it crosses the Bridges, and there’ll be stuff happening along there all day, and live music in the Tron Kirk. Plus, if it all gets too much, there are plenty of little closes to retreat down.


The BBC tent at Potterow has been a welcome addition to festivalgoers in the last few years, if perhaps not so welcome among the staff and students at the Informatics forum. There are events going on daily (and nightly) in the big blue tent – the website says most of these are “sold out”, but it’s worth asking on the day if there are any spare tickets. Unless it’s Just A Minute.

They often broadcast the shows on the big screen in the garden, where you can listen on headphones. There’s also a small stage in the pink tent/bar where a variety of people perform throughout the day.

Book Festival

Charlotte Square can be a haven of peace and tranquility during an otherwise hectic time. While most of the author events charge, it’s free to go sit in the garden, or browse the bookshops, and the “Jura Unbound” strand of events in the Spiegeltent at 9pm each evening are free to attend, with various literary and spoken word folks appearing:

Art Festival

There are lots of artist events and free performances organised as part of the Art Festival. The “Art Late” events are a fiver this year, but worth going  if you can – a great chance to wander round some of the city’s galleries “after hours”, closing with a unique performance.

Forest Fringe

The good folks at the Forest cafe always put on an interesting series of events throughout August. They’re based down at Out of the Blue at Drill Hall this year, which is just off Leith Walk.

There is also stuff going on the cafe on Tollcross during the day:


The Tatoo will be setting off fireworks every night from the Castle, and there’s the big display at the end to mark the closing of the EIF. It costs a fair whack to get into the Gardens for that, but there are awesome views from all around the city. I’m fond of Inverleith park.

There’s doubtless much more that I’ve missed, but keep an eye out, you should be able to find something interesting going on. Although I think this is enough to be going on with

They Continually Generate Acronyms

Yesterday afternoon I took a break from analysis of data from The Cancer Genome Atlas to attend the second meeting of the Edinburgh Alliance for Complex Trait Genetics, where one of the talks was on improvements that have been made to the Genome-wide Complex Trait Analysis software.

I guess geneticists are lucky Guanine starts with a G. Otherwise inventing acronyms would be a whole lot trickier.


Rather than compiling a weekly list of talks, I’ve put them all into a google calendar, which can be found at the calendar link above or here:

I’ll try to keep them as up to date as possible. If you want to subscribe to the whole lot, click on the +google calendar button in the bottom right of the calendar, or click on the links to see individual calendars.



The above is an image generated by Wolfram Alpha using their Facebook Personal Analytics function. Each of my facebook friends is a node, linked to me in the centre, but also linked to each other. Certain clusters form that can be more easily seen when I’m out of the picture. next

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ENCODE: The blogosphere resonds

I’ve put together a storify with some of the reactions to last week’s Encode announcement. Haven’t managed to get it to embed properly in WordPress, so here’s a link:

The full list of papers and assorted other materials is here: