Did you know Munch is here?

From the moment of my birth, the angels of anxiety, worry, and death stood at my side, followed me out when I played, followed me in the sun of springtime and in the glorious summer.” The journal entry by Edvard Munch himself might sum up the melancholy a viewer would feel, when faced with his art works. This summer, ironically not being our sunniest, presents an opportune time to follow Munch’s work. One exposition closer to home at the Edinburgh Gallery of Modern Art, "Edvard Munch: Graphic works from the Gundersen Collection" and the other at the London Tate Modern Gallery, "Edvard Munch: the Modern Eye". Read more »

Getting Philosophical at the Film Festival

We tend to think of scientific experts as people to go to when we are looking for certainty and answers, but Paul Broks, an expert in clinical psychology, is interested in questions. They are questions about consciousness and our sense of self– questions that science may not be able to answer– and he is using prose, theatre, and film to ask them. Broks was in town this summer presenting an event called Machine in the Ghost at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. He sat down to tell me about his latest projects and his exploration into what gives us our sense of identity. Read more »

Trip to the cinema

Red carpets, glossy celebrities, lavish awards. Not at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF). The paparazzi and French canapés you would expect when the world of film comes into town have been replaced by a cinephile congregation with debate and the best of British film from all genres at its heart. Among the copious choice there was one category that attracted scientists in particular. The festival’s ‘reel science strand’ offered a rich catalogue of neuroscience-based productions. One of the highlights was an evening of moving short films and a discussion on living with Alzheimer’s disease - the ‘Disappearing Act’. Read more »

Uranium Glass Skull Bowls with Eva Walsh

Art and science are often seen as conflicting subjects. There is a common belief that arts degrees are less strenuous than science subjects, and have less contact time between students and lecturers. More often than not, science and technological advances push art, and the arts in general, forward. Frequently used art techniques are more scientifically influenced than many artists would like to admit. Similarly, nature is a massive inspiration for art, a commodity we all share that must be protected. Scientists contribute to this protection in that they are often seen as the keepers of knowledge about the natural world. Read more »

The Dance Doctor

More at home on the dance floor than at the lab bench, Dr Peter Lovatt is surely an academic with a difference. A one time dyslexic professional dancer, Dr Lovatt now heads up the Dance Lab in the Department of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.

Last year, for the first time, he brought his work out of the lab and onto the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in a show called Dance Doctor, Dance. EUSci went along for a boogie, and caught up with him after the show.

Q. You’ve been featured in the media for your work before, but is this the first time you’ve presented the science from your lab to a non-specialist audience?

I do lots of talking to scientists, but this is the first time we’ve presented our work to an arts based audience, so it’s a real project for us and we’ve taken out all the graphs, all the equations and are just presenting it as public engagement for science. Read more »

Close Encounters of the Wired Mind: When Cucumbers Taste Pink

When Patient X meets psychologist Dr Julia Simner, he prefers to call her by her first name Julia than by her nickname 'Jools'. Indeed, calling her 'Jools' triggers an intense gush of orange Starbust candy flavour in his mouth, a sensation he prefers to avoid when speaking to his doctor. What's wrong with Patient X? Nothing, actually; he's affected by a neurological condition called synesthesia.

In synesthesia, visual colour information merges with other senses. This condition, and colour perception in general, were the topics of the Colour My World Neuroscience Encounter I saw last May at InSpace.
The Encounters are a lecture series put on by InSpace and Edinburgh Neuroscience. This series explores topics related to informatics and neuroscience. InSpace itself is a public engagement research laboratory resulting from a research partnership between the School of Informatics and New Media Scotland.  Read more »

What can Science learn from Art?

We are Scientists; we know how we think...but how do those creative, emotive, paint-splattering artists think? To try to understand, I sat down with Queen’s Medical Research Institute’s artist in residence since July last year - Mark Eischeid.

During his residency he produced two main pieces of art. The first is a “series of drawings with coloured pencil,” choosing three locations within the building and, looking outside, he sketched the colours he saw. Eischeid drew these sampled landscapes at various times of the day to record the change in colour. “It was meant to symbolise the outward looking nature of the work that goes on at QMRI. What goes on here doesn't stop here but always has to be translated outward to the general population,” Eischeid states. Read more »

Bringing Evolution to the Masses

J -  You’re not a scientist, so how did you get involved in explaining evolution and translating it into rap? Read more »

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