Heriot-Watt University: Celebrating the past, present and future heritage of Linlithgow through science

Researchers at Heriot-Watt University are launching a new partnership with Linlithgow Museum to inspire and engage the community on local scientific history.

Expanding the University’s collaborations with partners across West Lothian, the upcoming project ‘Royal Burgh of Science: From Waldie to Scotty’ will take visitors on a journey from local historical discoveries, through to the latest scientific developments being undertaken by researchers.

Designed to bring together cultural heritage and history alongside STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) research, the project provides a unique insight into the key scientific milestones that have occurred or have links to West Lothian.

Launching next month on August 1, the project will explore museum collection items relating to pharmacy and chemistry specialisms, encapsulating some of the University’s ongoing research in these spheres. Not only will the project explore historical hero chemist David Waldie (1813 – 1889), but also a future Linlithgow resident Montgomery Scott, Scotty from Star Trek! Sci Fi themed events, ranging from black holes to teleportation, will feature through the lens of Heriot-Watt University’s innovative research.

There will be talks from researchers working across various fields ranging from quantum physics to optics. Alongside these, there will be interactive and hands on workshops for families exploring scientific concepts, as well as microscopy smartphone camera workshops and a resulting exhibition. The project partners will also be working with an artist who will design workshops blending themes across the Museum collection with ongoing research.

The project enlists the support of a creative practitioner to bring to life a series of fun-filled activities for families to enjoy, and further creative thinking in the sphere of research.

Professor Steve McLaughlin, Deputy Principal of Research and Impact at Heriot-Watt University says “We are excited to partner with a cultural organisation which will share our research in new ways and with new audiences.

Science is a core part of everyone’s history, from vaccine development to space exploration. It’s amazing to see how the local scientific discoveries and how they have evolved to the science we now undertake, transforming lives and protecting the planet.”

Dr. Paul Dalgarno, Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching in Engineering, physicist and Physical Sciences and Public Outreach Academic Lead “.This partnership will offer a fascinating exploration of the connection between science, art and history. But, I am personally most excited to explore the wonderfully rich synergy between science and science-fiction, where inspiration comes to both from each side. We envisage a serious of events exploring the science behind the science fiction, and what that might mean for the reality of our future world.”