Internet rabbit holes at Aberdeen’s Science Festival

Aberdeen University's Fraser Noble Building is hosting the Laser-themed talk live

FOR ANYONE who has ever gone down an internet rabbit hole to find out more about topics such as the use of lasers in science, a series of TechFest talks aims to provide all the answers! 

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

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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. 

Photonics – the optical equivalent of electronics – underpins modern society and includes the optical fibres of the internet, high power lasers and solar panels, yet it’s an area of science you may never have heard of.  

Professor Robert Thomson of Heriot-Watt University will describe some remarkable state-of-the-art applications for photonic technologies. Fantastic Light – Incredible Industries will be held online at 6.30pm tonight, Monday, November 13. 

And continuing the theme of lasers, The Gentle Touch will look at the use of lasers to probe the microworld. 

Lasers are often associated with burning and cutting – the stables of science fiction weapons and methods to eliminate James Bond.  

However, they can be used to study the properties of tiny particles, generating unbelievably small forces. 

This talk by Professor David McGloin from the University of Aberdeen will explore the Nobel Prize winning science of “optical tweezers”, laser tools that can trap particles such as biological cells and atmospheric aerosols, and even individual atoms, using nothing more than light. 

Find out more at the Fraser Noble Building on November 16 at 6.30pm. 

These events are just a few of the festival’s 25 fun workshops, lectures and hands-on experiments aimed at science enthusiasts of all ages. 

Sarah Chew, TechFest’s managing director, said: “We have put together a really diverse programme of talks on a wide range of topics, including the kind of thing that might keep you awake at night! We’d encourage everyone to book tickets now and come along to listen to these absolutely fascinating presentations by some of the top experts in their fields. We are proud to have secured these talks for TechFest as we mark our 30th anniversary.” 

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. 

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

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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