City audiences to explore the planet from urban jungle to Antarctic volcanoes

Volcanoes in Antarctica are on the TechFest horizon

AS COP28 prepares to convene in Dubai later this month, Aberdeen’s science festival, TechFest, is offering audiences the chance to learn more about our planet a little closer to home. 

TechFest has curated a series of thought-provoking lectures and events on fascinating environmental topics, including volcanoes in Antarctica and urban evolution. 

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Thanks to the support of joint principal funders bp and Shell and public programme sponsor Equinor, entry to each talk is priced at just £2 per person. 

Biologist, writer, science communicator, comedian and TV presenter Dr Simon Wattwill be at RGU’s Sir Ian Wood Building tomorrow (Friday, November 10), when he will present his Real Urban Jungle talk. 

The rainforests are shrinking and the ice caps are melting, but there’s one habitat that is expanding and thriving – the urban jungle.  

Simon will explore the surprising array of species that have come to live alongside usin the heart of the city. Countless species are adapting to living in towns and, in some cases, entirely new species are being born.  

Join him at 7.30pm as he looks at some of our new neighbours.  

On the same evening at 6.30pm, Dr Carlos Fernandez from Robert Gordon University will present Waste Materials – Really?  

This talk gives an overview of different waste materials employed in diverse industries and looks at how a material can be a waste in one industry but could be gold for another. The presentation will focus on waste materials from whisky processes.  

At the bottom of the globe is Antarctica, usually associated with giant ice sheets, but did you know the frozen continent also hosts two active volcanos? 

John Howell from the University of Aberdeen will relive his trip to Antarctica in March 2023, when he and a colleague from the University of hitched a ride on a cruise ship and were dropped off at an abandoned whaling station on Deception Island, with a mission.  

Using drones, they mapped the caldera of the volcano to assess the risk an eruption would pose to the increasing number of tourists who visit every year. 

VOCL: Volcanoes in Antarctica – VirtualGeology will be held at the Fraser Noble Building at the University of Aberdeen from 6.30pm tonight (Thursday, November 9). 

These events are part of Aberdeen’s award-winning annual science festival, TechFest, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a packed programme of fascinating events for all ages, reflecting advancements in science and technology. 

There are more than 25 fun workshops, lectures and hands-on experiments aimed at children, teenagers and adults alike. 

The festival is not just for young science enthusiasts, says Sarah Chew, TechFest’s managing director. 

“Climate change and the environment is of course a huge topic, particularly with COP28 coming up. We have put together three really interesting and engaging talks which are ideal for students or other adults who have an interest in these fascinating subjects – or who just want to learn something completely new for just £2!” 

Visitors to TechFest have the chance to listen to a wide range of world-renowned speakers, including leading scientists who are sharing their real-life work and research, as well as behind the scenes tours and a Q&A session with an astronaut. 

Other thought-provoking events throughout the festival include cyber safety, wildlife photography, artificial intelligence and gravitational waves.  

The festival is being held at several venues across Aberdeen, including RGU’s Garthdee campus and the University of Aberdeen. 

Booking is open and the programme can be downloaded from the TechFest website. 

TechFest is an Aberdeen-based charity which aims to engage young people in the four main STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and encourage them to go on to follow a career which utilises these skills, by demonstrating that they are both fun and relevant in day-to-day life.  As well as the science festival, the charity runs a programme of year-round events for schools and the wider community. 

For more information on TechFest and to book your tickets, visit 

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