My second day at the British Science Festival began with a bang as I met Michael Moseley outside the University Library. I then went to his talk on how he plans and produces some of his shows. He talked about some of the documentaries he had done on spontaneous combustion, Helicobacter pylori’s connection with gastric ulcers, walking with dinosaurs and his debut into the BBC with Nitrous Oxide. We also heard about some of the documentaries that may be produced in the future, so look out for ghost sightings and their banal scientific explanation.
Next it was lunch with the whole gang before heading towards a fascinating talk on how science is assisting the arts: The Scottish Ten. This is a project in collaboration with CyArk (cyark.org) to accurately and objectively create digital documentation of ancient and modern buildings and other environments. The Scottish Ten project consists of five UNESCO World Heritage sites in Scotland and five international sites. This talk showed some amazing results from 3D laser scanning of monuments ranging from Mount Rushmore in the USA, Rani ki vav in India to Roslyn Chapel in Scotland (and no they didn’t find the Holy Grail). Dr Lyn Wilson (who incidentally was kind enough to take my picture) gave an amazing presentation illustrating how this technology could be used. This includes urban planning, informing conservation, documenting archaeological sites, improve accessibility, physical replication of historical objects and Building Information Management (BIM). You can find out more at www.scottishten.org.
After dinner, I went with Ed to the beach to relax and enjoy the sunset (which is an overoptimistic notion in Scotland). Despite the cloudy sky, it was a beautiful beach and we saw a couple of seals swimming around (perhaps trying to enjoy the sunset as well).
Then it was back to the University to watch Murder, Mysteries and Microscopes; where crime writer Stuart MacBride, forensic experts Lorna Dawson and David Barclay, and Pathologist James Grieve performed in a lively and pastiche drama hosted by Quentin Cooper. It was very interesting to understand the difference between fictional crime fighting and real forensic investigations, with the pitfalls and unlit avenues that detectives have to go through in order to solve murders and other dark deeds.
And now, as Homer says in the Odyssey, “There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” Good night.