Explorathon Festival goes online to celebrate research in Europe

Explorathon is the Scottish arm of ’European Researchers’ Night’, an EC-funded festival happening in 300 cities across Europe.

This year, the festival, taking place between 23-29 November, is going online to connect the public with university research through Zoom workshops, Twitter-takeovers, Facebook Live events and more.

Explorathon will feature events led by universities across Scotland in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fife, Tayside and Shetland. All events are free to attend.

The University of Glasgow will present a diverse programme covering everything from Soviet history to neuroscience and video games.

Remember the viral ’blue and black dress’- Explore the weird and wonderful world of illusions at ’Master of Illusions’ (23 November), a family-friendly Zoom talk led by researchers from the Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience.

Ever cared for a virtual pet, mourned a favourite character, or agonised over which video game character to date? Facebook Live event ’Digital Feelz’ (28 November) will explore why we develop emotional attachments to imaginary characters. PhD researcher Gabe Elvery will lead the event online, which will include interactive gaming demonstrations.

’How conversation works’ (26 November) will bring together video game developers and writers to learn how linguistics research can be used to create more interactive dialogue in gaming. The event is led by philosopher Dr Steph Rennick, in collaboration with linguist Dr Sean Roberts.

Several events highlight cutting-edge research in health research, including ’Mapping out pain’ (27 November), aimed at anyone who wants to learn and talk about pain and arthritis.

On Facebook, University of Glasgow engineers will present a virtual tour of their brain rehabilitation laboratory (25 November) and molecular biologists will highlight their latest work on proteins (26 November).

Get in the festive mood and flex your brain muscle with a free food-themed language taster on the morning of Saturday 28th November, led by the School of Modern Languages & Cultures. Dip into Spanish, German and Italian while exploring festive food traditions and culture. Book your free ticket online.

On Friday 27th November, the Scottish Researcher Showcase will take over Twitter. Throughout the day, researchers from across Scotland will share engaging videos and demonstrations about cutting-edge research. Follow the fun with the hashtag #GlobalScienceShow.

Dr Zara Gladman, the University of Glasgow’s Public & Community Engagement Advisor said: "The pandemic has been a really challenging time for so many people. But what it has shown is a real adaptability and creativity among our university community.

"At Explorathon 2020 you can make your own microscope using your smartphone, learn a language, dip into the latest health research and even do mathematics-inspired knitting over Zoom!

"Public engagement helps us stay connected, which is 2020 is more important than ever."

For the full programme, including events from across Scotland, visit the Explorathon website

You can also join us on Twitter @ernscot , with the hashtag #Explorathon20.

Explorathon is part of European Researchers’ Night, funded by the European Commision.

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