IT does not take a scientist to work out that there is less than a month to go until the Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival kicks off once again.
But the science genre features prominently in this year’s event, which runs from June 14 to 17, and organisers hope that the appearances of three experts will provide the correct formula to attract old and, especially, young enthusiasts.
In the Lochcarron Marquee on Thursday, June 14 (6.15pm) Dr John Reid, consultant radiologist at Borders General Hospital and a well known expert on the Roman fort at Trimontium, will talk about the story of Godfrey Hounsfield.
An English electrical engineer, Hounsfield invented the CT scanner in the early 1970s. It has been heralded as the greatest piece of medical technology and won him the Nobel Prize in 1979.
Headlining the scientific line-up is Professor Peter Higgs, an Edinburgh University physicist famous as the man who conceptualised the Higgs boson particle, seen by many as the key to the basic facts of physics.
A festival spokeswoman said: “This is a rare opportunity as Prof Higgs rarely makes public appearances to discuss the formulation of his theory.
“A fascinating event for anyone with a keen interest in physics, made possible by support from the Institute of Physics in Scotland in its quest to make physics more accessible.”
Professor Higgs will be joined by Professor Frank Close – who has written about the history of the new ideas that are edging us closer to finding the Higgs boson – in the Scottish Borders Brewery Marquee on Friday, June 15 at 6.15pm.
Ninety minutes earlier in the same venue, Simon Watt, presenter of Channel 4’s BAFTA-winning series Inside Nature’s Giants, will go under the skin of the largest animals on the planet.
Prof Higgs’s and Simon Watt’s events are part of a Book Festival promotion offering Borders secondary school pupils studying science free or heavily subsidised tickets. Science teachers wishing students to attend should email email@example.com or call 01896 822644 – tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Friday, June 15 also sees entertainment abound for primary school children in the Knight Frank Schools Gala Day.
Packed with authors, illustrators and entertainers for nursery ages to primary seven, the day in Harmony Garden costs £1 for each event, with accompanying adults free.
Among those attending are Kristina Stephenson, the creator of Sir Charlie Stinky Socks, while the very tall, hairy and funny Philip Ardagh makes an appearance with his hilarious Kings, Queens, Emperors and Rotten Wart-nosed Commoners book.
Festival favourites Vivian French and Kjartan Poskitt, Jonathan Meres and his World of Norm series and Elizabeth Laird also feature.
Anyone attending Kristina Stephenson, Vivian French, Philip Ardagh or Kjartan Poskitt, qualifies for one of the free Melrose Abbey Day educational activities taking place throughout the day.
Also free is a drop-in zone with Scottish Borders Council’s libraries, children and schools team and Historic Scotland in the Lochcarron Marquee, where teachers and pupils can find out more about services available.
Returning to the science theme, festival-goers will get a sneak preview of the Enlightenment exhibition, which is due to come to the region in September as part of the expanded Bang Goes the Borders Science Festival. The exhibition by photographer David McIntyre presents an artistic interpretation of the work being conducted at six of the top research institutes in Scotland, including the animal research centre at Moredun near Penicuik.
Bang Goes the Borders co-organiser Dr Sara Shinton said: “The images are stunning, but as you learn about the science and innovation they represent, their appeal deepens. I’m thrilled that Professor Lee Innes and her team are happy to share some of them with the Book Festival audience.”
After their brief foray to Melrose, the images will return to various Borders locations in the run up to Bang Goes the Borders on September 21 and 22.
The special preview can be viewed in Historic Scotland’s Abbey Gardens, for the duration of the Borders Book Festival. Entry is free and it is suitable for all ages.