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Science sets sail from Glasgow

04/06/2013

The mysteries of an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean are being shared with Glasgow audiences as part of the city’s annual Science Festival.

Visiting the floating laboratory of The Clipperton Project on the Clyde Canal, Science Minister Alasdair Allan was on the first voyage of the 2013 festival programme.

Last year a group of 25 artists and scientists sailed to Clipperton, an island 1,280km from Mexico. They will now share their experiences of the remote island and its environment with visitors to the floating laboratory throughout the Glasgow Science Festival between June 6 and 16.

On arrival at Clipperton, the crew, who came from eight different countries, discovered that the beach was strewn with plastic rubbish.

Dr Allan said:

“One of the key elements of the success of Glasgow Science Festival, and the other science festivals across the county, is finding ways to appeal to people of all ages and who think they have no real interest in science and technology.

“The Clipperton Project’s floating lab is an excellent example of this as it offers a cruise on the canal; tales of a fascinating distant island and the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of the ways that the environment of Clipperton is being affected by the actions of people hundreds of thousands of miles away.

“They were also able to confirm that that the coral reef remained healthy and visitors to the boat will be able to work with the crew to create their own reef and learn about its ecosystem.

“I hope many people take this opportunity to hear about this remarkable expedition and the other exciting events taking place as part of Glasgow Science Festival this year.”

Last year the science festival attracted a record audience of more than 40,000 across the 265 different activities.

The Glasgow Science Festival receives £30,000 from the Scottish Government and the Floating Lab is supported with £10,000 from the Talking Science awards to take science projects into rural areas or engage with people who would not normally take an interest in science and technology.

Dr Deborah McNeill, Director of Glasgow Science Festival, said:

“At Glasgow Science Festival, we are always looking for innovative ways to share the exciting stories of science in the West of Scotland. This is reflected in the breadth and range of events within our programme.

“We are delighted to quite literally ‘launch’ this year’s Glasgow Science Festival with Clipperton, aboard the Floating Lab. This multidisciplinary project is a lovely showcase of how artists and scientists can come together to tackle important issues and learn from each other as well as those with whom they engage. “

Jon Bonfiglio, Clipperton Project Director, said: “Science, exploration, art - what these worlds have in common is the human need to inquire, to search beyond what's known.

“During these four months in Scotland, in which we will be travelling along the entire length of Scotland's Canals, we won't be doing this alone, but with every individual we encounter, alongside every community we spend time with. This summer, exploration in all its forms comes to Scotland's Canals.”

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Glasgow Science Festival