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Matjaz Vidmar - What's Up?

News and other snippets about past and present
Talks series
Science and art projects
Netowrks, groups and societies
and more...

In collaboration with
Royal Observatory Edinburgh Visitor Centre
Institute of Physics in Scotland,British Science Association, Royal Society of Edinburgh and Royal Astronomical Society
British Interplanatary Society
Space Careers UK (UK SEDS)
Curious Edinburgh
Cabaret of Dangereous Ideas and Astronomy on Tap, Edinburgh
Orkney International Science Festival, Midlothian Science Festival, Edinburgh International Science Festival and Slovenian Science Festival
Social Studies of Outer Space Network, Social Studies of Outer Space Network and Astrosociology Reserach Institute

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Space and Astronomy Tours (SAT)

My flagship Space and Astronomy Tour (SAT) are framed as extened public engagement visits to remote communities, where I deliver a mixture of public (evening) events, interact with local Astronomy groups, and visit schools and local youth groups. They sometimes also coincide with, or link into, other projects such as science festivals or scientific or community development workshops. Events delivered are a dynamic mix of talks and hands-on activities, showcasing both high-tech kit as well as significant historical artefacts.

In 2019, two tours are being planned in close coordination with BIS Scotland and CPS200 activities. As such we are hoping to be visiting Skye, Outer Hebrides, Sutherland and Invernessshire end of June / early July and Orkney, Caithness, Shetland and Aberdeen in September. More details will soon be available here and on my blog.

Here are some details about my past visits to Islay, Orkney, Sutherland and NW Highlands and Islands.
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Charles Piazzi Smyth 200th Anniversary of Birth - CPS200

Charles Piazzi Smyth (CPS) was born Jan 3rd 1819, so 2019 is the 200th anniversary of his birth. As well as being an Astronomer of note, and the second Astronomer Royal for Scotland, CPS was a photographic and spectrographic pioneer, inventor of mountain-top astronomy, a popular author, an Egyptologist, the originator of the Edinburgh Time Ball and One O'Clock Gun, and a significant figure in the life of the City of Edinburgh.

As party of celebrating this anniversary, a programme of events and projects will be unveiling over 2019, led by Prof Andy Lawrence. For instance, there will be a new exhibition at the Nelson Monument, a variety of public talks including a tour of the more remote areas of Scotland, a public experiment with the Time Gun, and a Symposium all about CPS' life and work.

More information about the CPS200 celebrations are available from the programme's website.

Space Enlightenment Festival

The pan-Scottish Social Dimensions of Outer Space network is organising the inaugural Space Enlightenment Festival (SEF) in Spring/Summer 2019, in order to highlight the vital contribution of humanities and social science to framing the future of Scottish and global engagement with outer space.This festival will coincide with several key anniversaries, for instance the 200th anniversary of the birth of most famous Edinburgh Astronomer Royal, Charles Piazzi Smyth, and the 50th anniversary of the first human landing on the Moon.

The festival timeline will "launch" at the Edinburgh International Science Festival edition of the Shoreline of Infinity's Event Horizon (11th April 2019) and will conclude with a "landing", the conclusion of our seminar series and opening of the "Outer Space Landed in Scotland" mini-exhibition, marking on the 50th anniversary of the first human Moon landing (19th July 2019).

The festival will combine several academic activities (such as a seminar series and a pedagogical workshop) with some public events (talks, round-tables, exhibitions). In total, we are planning to coordinate about 20 activities, some delivered exclusively by/for the expanding membership of the Social Dimension of Outer Space network (these are called "vehicles") and others in partnership with external contributors, organisations and institutions/venues (called "satellites"). In particular, we are planning that the festival will include two significant national conferences and two new editions of flagship arts projects.

More information will soon be available on our network's website.

Science Stand-Up at Edinburgh Fringe

2019 SHOWS

7th August 2019 (Wed), 1.30-2.30pm, New Town Theatre
Scotland: The Final Frontier?
2019 Cabaret of Dangereous Ideas

Launching rockets is the last missing piece in the growing Scottish space industry. Plans are underway to send satellites, and people, into outer space from Scotland. Sutherland, Unst and Prestwick are some of the possible launch sites. But how much it will all cost and what impact will it have on the environment and local communities? What kind of jobs will it create in these areas and who will profit? Could the money be better spent on something else? Come and debate with me on 7th August!

17th August 2019 (Sat), 7.20-8.20pm, Banshee Labrynth
Space Exploration: Should We Fund our NHS Instead!?
Edinburgh Sceptics at the Fringe

Big money is going into Space Exploration and Industry, which inevitably leads to big questions on whether is it really worth it. As excitement for the "final frontier" grows again and a new (commercial) Space Race brewing, various countries are making contradictory claims on anything from asteroid mining for precious metals to building a "space force". Are you starting to ask yourself: what are they really doing up there? Should we go back to the Moon? Moreover, Scotland now wants to be part of it all, too, but how much will it cost to build a spaceport in Sutherland? Do we need to build new roads first? To cut through these confusing propositions, we will take a short guided tour of what it is all about, leading on to a discussion on whether we should do more "Space" or would it be better to fund the NHS instead?


Edinburgh Sceptics


2018 SHOWS

After another succesful visit to the Edinburgh Fringe with Cabaret of Dangereous Ideas in 2018, this time around talking about anything and everything Outer Space and food, I have yet again been invited on a short tour with the show, this time visiting some of Scotland's finest astronomy clubs and societies.

Combining several of the previous Cabaret shows, the resulting mix is light hearted exploration of life in and out of various orbits with topics on astronaut food in space and on Earth, satellite surveillance of your back yard and establishing a new empire in the sky with Lunar and Martian colonies. With some discussion, jokes, and even a tiny bit of terrible tasting poetry; what is not to like?

Anyway, here is all the info:

"What are They REALLY doing Up There?" Tour


--> 19th March 2019, 7.30pm at Tweeeddale Astronomical Society, Community Centre in Peebles

--> 14th November 2018, 7pm, Astronomy on Tap, The Tron pub in Edinburgh (TRAILER PREVIEW)

-->16th November 2018, 8.30pm at Aidrie Astronomical Association, New Wellwynd Parish Church in Airdrie

Many thanks to the
Beltane Public Engagement Network and especially the Cabaret of Dangereous Ideas (CoDI) team for all their hard work and help, as well as School of Social and Political Science Studnet Development Office for financial (and moral!) support over the years.

A few promotional videos for the CoDI shows (done for the Fringe events, but sort of applicable to this new coctail edition as well!)


Working with real Stars - Fiona McAndrew

To most this will not come as a surprise: over the past few years I have been working on several arts and science projects. One of the latest ones in this series of collaborations I have been involved with is the production of "The Waders' Lullaby" with multimedia artist, Fiona McAndrew.
Fiona was an Artist In Residence at the Edinbrugh College Of Art (ECA) since September 2017 and has worked on a touching annimation about the yearly Iceland-Scotland migration of godwits to accompany a beautiful lullaby she has composed earlier on.
You can find out more about her journey (and my minimal involvement!) in a blog she wrote about it all.

The video on the left is the product of her amazing creativity

BIS Scotland

Building on over 80 years of BIS history and harnessing the exciting developments in the Scottish Space Sector, the recently re-launched BIS Scotland branch presents a programme of combined technical and social events to connect professionals and enthusiasts in the Space arena.

We are arranging talks and meetings across Scotland, open to current and future BIS members (i.e. everyone!). We particularly work with Colleges and Universities in the region to engage young people; and also with Astronomy Societies build on existing interest and expertise. We also closely support other professional groupings in the area, such as the Space Technology Scotland Meet-Up initiative.

Join us as we continue to explore our place in Space.

A couple of snippets from various recent science and arts projects...

Me and a musician and neuroscientist, Lewis Hou (Science Ceildh / Leith Labs), during a workshop in a primary school, comparing brain scans and Universe's early structure, and dancing to Kepler's planet movement notation from Harmonices Mundi.
Me and author Pippa Goldschmidt in a promotional photo for our "Outer Space - The Next Empire" event series.
The creative process behind making a "postcard" based on my research work of innovation networks in the Space Industry in Scotland, working with textile artist Madeleine Shepherd. Part of Science on a Postcard 2.0 project by InterSci Society and ASCUS Art and Science Laboratory (Edinburgh, 26th January 2019).
Title image of my video contribution to KOSMICA:parliament installation at Ars Electronica in Graz in September 2018, echoing in part the split between the use of art as illustration of scientific work and its application to the development of future imaginaries.


Get In Touch

via e-mail: mvidmar[at]  //  m.vidmar[at]
by phone: +44 (0)131 6688 461
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by post: Matjaz Vidmar, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, EH9 3HJ, Scotland, UK

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