Exploring Earth’s wonders: TechFest’s environmental lecture series


AS COP28 gears up for its crucial session in Dubai, TechFest, Aberdeen’s renowned science festival, is offering an engaging opportunity for inquisitive minds to delve into the planet’s environmental wonders. The festival has meticulously curated a series of insightful lectures on captivating environmental themes, from urban evolution to volcanoes in Antarctica.

Thanks to the generous support of joint principal funders bp and Shell, along with public program sponsor Equinor, each of these enlightening talks is available for a mere £2 per person, making knowledge and exploration accessible to all.

Renowned biologist, writer, science communicator, comedian, and TV presenter Dr. Simon Watt is set to enthral audiences at RGU’s Sir Ian Wood Building on Friday, November 10, with his talk titled “Real Urban Jungle.” Dr. Watt will embark on a journey to uncover the remarkable array of species that have adapted and thrived in what he terms the “urban jungle.” Urban environments have not only accommodated countless species but also witnessed the birth of entirely new ones. Join him at 7.30 pm as he introduces you to these fascinating city-dwellers.

On the same evening, at 6.30 pm, Dr. Carlos Fernandez from Robert Gordon University will present “Waste Materials – Really?” This thought-provoking talk will provide an overview of the diverse range of waste materials utilized across various industries. It delves into the concept that what might be considered waste in one industry can be a valuable resource in another. The presentation will particularly focus on waste materials from the whisky production processes.

Venturing to the frigid realms of Antarctica, typically known for its vast ice sheets, you may be surprised to learn that this frozen continent is home to not one, but two active volcanoes. John Howell, from the University of Aberdeen, will share his expedition to Antarctica in March 2023. He and a colleague embarked on a mission to map the caldera of a volcano on Deception Island using drones. The goal was to assess the potential risk of volcanic eruptions to the growing number of tourists who visit the region. Join him at “VOCL: Volcanoes in Antarctica – VirtualGeology,” to be held at the Fraser Noble Building, University of Aberdeen, from 6.30 pm, on Thursday, November 9.

These stimulating events are part of Aberdeen’s renowned annual science festival, TechFest, which marks its 30th anniversary this year. The festival boasts a diverse program of captivating events for all ages, reflecting the latest advancements in science and technology. With over 25 engaging workshops, lectures, and hands-on experiments designed for children, teenagers, and adults, there’s something for everyone.

Sarah Chew, TechFest’s Managing Director, emphasises that the festival isn’t solely for young science enthusiasts. In light of the pressing global challenges such as climate change and environmental issues, TechFest has assembled three intriguing and engaging talks, ideal for students or adults eager to explore these captivating subjects or simply broaden their horizons. “Climate change and the environment are, of course, huge topics, particularly with COP28 coming up. We have put together three really interesting and engaging talks, which are ideal for students or other adults who have an interest in these fascinating subjects – or who just want to learn something completely new for just £2!” she says.

And the best part? These talks are available for just £2.

The festival offers a unique opportunity to listen to a wide array of internationally acclaimed speakers, including leading scientists who will share their real-world research and insights. Attendees can also enjoy behind-the-scenes tours and engage in a Q&A session with an astronaut. Beyond the realm of environmental science, TechFest features a wide range of thought-provoking events spanning cyber safety, wildlife photography, artificial intelligence, and gravitational waves.

The festival unfolds across multiple venues in Aberdeen, including RGU’s Garthdee campus and the University of Aberdeen. With booking now open and the program readily accessible on the TechFest website, enthusiasts can secure their spots.

TechFest is a charitable organisation based in Aberdeen, aiming to inspire young individuals to embrace STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) by showcasing their relevance, practicality, and fun in everyday life. The organisation hosts a series of year-round events for schools and the broader community, in addition to the annual science festival.For more information about TechFest and ticket bookings, please visit TechFest’s official website.

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