Why we're here
Science is about doing things differently. And this year we've all learned the need for that. It's clear we must make fundamental changes in how we live – and in how we use resources and pay for them.
In science the starting point for doing things differently is to look at things differently – to question existing ways of doing and thinking.
This does not always happen. We have seen how it is all too easy for the whole world to get carried away in wishful thinking about money. And about energy. And with the thought that the Arctic ice is somehow too far away to affect the rest of us.
So somehow we have all to change our lives, only in what we do but how we think.
Science hasn't always been used as a method of questioning and changing the way we think. All too often it's used to implement existing ways of thinking. So for instance if we start off by thinking that the world's resources are infinite, science can be very good at finding ever more effective ways to help us use them up faster.
So the challenge now, in the global crisis we're in, is to deploy science where it's most beneficial for us – which in some cases means trying to undo the damage that it has been used to create.
One of the world's greatest biologists, Edward O. Wilson, puts it succinctly:
"Science and technology, combined with a lack of self-understanding and a Palaeolithic obstinacy, brought us to where we are today," he says. "Now science and technology, combined with foresight and moral courage, must see us through the bottleneck and out."
In other words – science is not a body of dogma and doctrine but a process of continuous questioning and reassessing of our understanding of the world about us. And that is what we like to do!
The Highland Science Festival brings together various lively people and organisations, through the coordination of Going Nova.
Going Nova is a grouping that was set up to identify innovative new areas of science and technology that can benefit the Highlands and Islands. Our aim is to spread awareness of new opportunities, and to help to put some of them into practice.
We like areas like quantum theory and fuzzy logic and optical scissors and tweezers, and of course the potential of Spaceport Scotland, and we're in touch with many people in many fields of research.
In the meantime – we really enjoyed ourselves over the two weeks of the Highland Science Festival – and we hope you did too!