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Big Bang

Weekend explores the mechanics of life

The Big Bang Weekend is an arts, literature and science event taking place in Wigtown in February

From Frankenstein’s monster to the future of AI and from outer space to the inside of the brain, The Big Bang Weekend explores the mechanics of life.

The arts, literature and science event, in Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town, from 2-4 February 2018, will be an inspiring and entertaining mix of talks by leading scientists and authors, plus comedy, music, film, cabaret, food and drink.

With lots to do for adults and children The Big Bang Weekend is all about the search for life, wherever it may be and whatever shape it takes.

Synthetic biology and robotics experts from the University of Edinburgh will leave their labs to play a leading role in the event – talking to the public about their world-leading work in everything from cloning to artificial intelligence.

Jessica Fox, Festival Director, said: “The Big Bang Weekend celebrates the point where science and the arts collide. There’s a whole series of lectures and fringe events in the idyllic setting of Scotland’s National Book Town.

“With the new discoveries being made in space exploration, artificial intelligence and genome engineering, we explore the intriguing question of when is something alive?

“We are particularly pleased that there will be such a big input by scientists from the University of Edinburgh’s synth lab and robotics lab which are doing such incredible work – pushing back the boundaries in so many fields.

“We’ll also take time to celebrate Galloway’s very own scientific giant, James Clerk Maxwell. His work in the 19th century on the electromagnetic spectrum may be the key to understanding life as we know it and is a great reminder of Scotland’s great contribution to the world of science.”

This will be the second Big Bang Weekend – the one in 2017 was dedicated to the role of women in science. The event is run by Wigtown Festival Company, organisers of the annual Wigtown Book Festival, as part of its year round initiative. It is part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Union – LEADER 2014-2020 programme, to promote cultural tourism.

One of its great joys, according to Jessica, will be the chance to hear lectures or attend events, then search the shelves of the town’s bookshops to find out more. Jessica, who was previously employed as NASA’s storyteller, is also artist in residence at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre forMammalian Synthetic Biology.

She said: “So much of knowledge has become regimented and specialised – events like Big Bang are rare opportunities to celebrate true liberal arts again and offer access to wonderful lectures and learning opportunities for any age.

“Bookshops are a great reminder of how ideas often relate to each other, how we should never stop learning and that thoughts, like the rambling shelves in the bookstores, are all interconnected.”

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