Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Event: #GoogleCityExperts Galactic Gala

Edinburgh: Home of the Festivals. So much better as a slogan than Edinburgh: Inspiring Capital, don't you think? One of the things I love about this fair city is that there is pretty much always someone celebrating something. The number of festivals is, quite frankly, ridiculous..

The Edinburgh Science Festival kicks off the season, with a comparatively low key repertoire of events. In the past, I've not been to any of the offerings as they've either been aimed at kids or adults with more than a GCSE level of understanding. When the programme was published this year I was more enthusiastic, until I realised that the festival coincided with The Fitting Of The Kitchen (more on that later) and that most of the food-themed events were therefore a little out of my budget.

I was therefore really quite excited when Google announced that they would be hosting a CityExpertsEdinburgh event in association with Summerhall and the Science Festival. I've been to a couple of their events before and had a great time - they are such a great way of meeting other Edinburgh fans and seeing spots of the city which I wouldn't often go to otherwise. Having spent most of the afternoon queueing in Ikea, the thought of a gin and tonic and some fun was needed.

The evening kicked off with a welcome talk about the Science Festival, by a lady who may have been a scientist, but I was mostly enamoured by her story about the first cat to be sent in to space (Felix).
We found the bar (courtesy of Google, thanks chaps!) - a gin fizz (with popping candy!) for me, and a Science Festival special beer for Mr F…
… and found our friends, who were excitedly watching a demonstration of Space Sorbet. Cava, apple juice and fresh raspberries, with a side helping of LNto help it set. Easily the smoothest sorbet I've ever eaten - the Liquid Nitrogen's scarily low temperature flash froze the sorbet mixture, creating minuscule ice crystals.
We wandered over to the space building blocks - unusual almost-square shapes, which connect with teeth similar to zips and make lightweight but surprisingly strong structures. At the moment they're a prototype created in Edinburgh, but I wouldn't be surprised if they're a Christmas hit soon - my friend was desperate to buy some for his lego mad nephew. It was at this point I realised I do not have a particularly 3D mind, and spent ten minutes happily building a crown while Mr F made a spaceman.
There was a snacks table! Flying saucers, bubblegum spheres, wham! bars and Space Raider crisps. Childhood memories, right there to help yourself to. The highlight though were these incredible teacakes. Gooey fluffy mallow in a wafer thin chocolate shell, with the most delicious salted caramel I have ever had (and I've had quite a lot).
After topping up our sugar levels we wandered on, to hear a talk about asteroids, comets and meteors, complete with demonstration on how to make your own (dry ice and soil, apparently).
And then I spotted a 3D printer and got overexcited. The first time I saw a 3D printer was back in my first year of university, when it was not far off the size of a small car. If I remember correctly, it printed into sand and was hugely expensive to run, so much so that Design students had to have their work approved before printing. To see one the size of a laser printer in action just ten years later was slightly mind-boggling.
We skipped over the next table as it involved insects. I'm not overly averse to the idea of an edible insect, as long as it doesn't look at me before I eat it, so to see some live ones roaming around cartons was slightly too much for me to handle.
We were disappointed not to have managed to get a slot for the pop-up planetarium, which sounded rather brilliant, but all in all, still a particularly fun and sort-of educational way to spend a Sunday evening.


  1. Looks like an amazing evening!

    I was very impressed with the space-themed teacakes when someone posted the photo on twitter/instagram. I'm a huge fan of 3d printers, a friend of mine is studying architecture at ECA and she said they have a 3d printer for chocolate! can you imagine being able to print any shape in chocolate? #mindblows

    1. Woah. That sounds both amazing and dangerous.

  2. The lady who introduced it all was a comedian (I got there about ten minutes before you) and her space stamp collection was super cool. I loved this event, I need to write it up on my blog as well x

    P.S Edinburgh: Home of the Festivals *is* a much better slogan xx