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Fly me to the moon for online Caithness science festival


By David G Scott

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The Caithness International Science Festival (CISF) 2021 is running online throughout this month and has a a special presentation with an astronaut tomorrow evening (Wednesday, March 10).

The festival explores the diverse nature of science, technology, engineering, art and maths and, this year, celebrates the many contributions that Caithness has made to the world of steam.

Professor Iain Baikie, left, with astronaut Duane Carey at the Science Festival in 2018. Picture: DGS
Professor Iain Baikie, left, with astronaut Duane Carey at the Science Festival in 2018. Picture: DGS

Professor Iain Baikie who runs CISF 2021 said: "Every year we welcome British and international presenters and lecturers to bring you fun and interactive learning experiences no matter what your age or background."

This Wednesday evening at 6.30pm former NASA astronaut Duane “Digger” Carey will present an online talk about going to the moon. It is aimed at 5-12 years but should be of interest to older people as well.

Professor Baikie said: "We did a practise today and Duane mentioned that he was going to issue Digger’s Gateway Challenge. The Gateway is a proposed space station that will orbit the Moon and support a human Moon colony.

"Digger is asking our audience to write three paragraphs on this subject – if they find it a worthwhile idea or if funds are better spent elsewhere?"

A youngster enters a virtual world with a VR headset at a previous festival. Picture: DGS
A youngster enters a virtual world with a VR headset at a previous festival. Picture: DGS

These short essays will first come to the CISF 2021 committee and then Duane will pick a winner that he will forward to NASA.

The format of the talks are an introduction, short movie, slides and then a Q&A session with new material, said Professor baikie.

Other highlights include Dr Michael Leach's presentation on Thursday, March 18 called “Animals behaving badly”. Dr Leach previously spoke about gorillas at a popular event in the Assembly Rooms two years ago.

"We had two online presentations at the weekend and they were very well attended and received. Our online program is available at www.science03.org and booking is free."

Tonight (Tuesday, March 9) there is a talk at 7pm on ”Meteorites and the solar system".

"If our virtual festival works well then it is likely we will consider a blended format next year," added Professor Baikie.

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