Heriot-Watt academics make star appearance at this year’s Fringe



A group of Heriot-Watt academics are due to entertain the crowds at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, now in its sixth year, is a unique programme of events that offers the public an opportunity to engage with world-class researchers in an educational yet entertaining environment.

Making the grade this year is Dr Amy Davies, with The Dark Side of Fluorescence. The academic will invite the audience to delve deep into the deep oceans and dark forests where enchanting fluorescent creatures such as jellyfish and fireflies live. Their fluorescence has allowed scientists to make other animals that can glow in the dark. More importantly, it has enabled researchers to see the invisible worlds of the many cells that make up all life on earth. Now that we can see what's really going on, what's next? Finding cancer cells or infectious viruses and bacteria? We can see active parts of the brain, so is mind reading next?

Dr Anna Sedda will be appearing in Disgust for Dummies. What do dirty floors and corrupted politicians have in common? They are both revolting. Disgust evolved to protect us from contamination and harm, being it physical or moral. But are these feelings an immovable reality or can we change them? Is our moral compass regulated by the same mechanisms that prevent us from drinking expired milk? And why is it important to know? This is a journey led by the academic into understanding and accepting disgust.

Meanwhile, Dr Alan Gow – will ask What Keeps You Sharp? In his entertaining show. Isn't the expression 'having a senior moment' awful? Yet people often think of changes in their mental skills with age in terms of decline. While some people do experience these changes, others do not. So how do thinking skills change through midlife and beyond, and do our lifestyles affect those changes? Alan will explore results from “What Keeps You Sharp?”, a nationwide survey about attitudes towards the changes people expect in their thinking skills with age. See how your beliefs match the survey's, and explore how all that matches current evidence.

Building on the success of the first programme, the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas has become an established presence in the Spoken Word section of the Edinburgh Fringe over the last few years and continues to grow.

The full programme and booking details can be found on the CODI website.