Yet more snippets for The Orkney International Science Festival

By Nick Morrison

The folk who brought the Oil Ashore.


Photo N Morrison

Dr Kate Johnson ICIT Stromness gave a talk on 40 Years of Flotta.

She described the early days of living in a hotel with 2 small daughters and how the engineers who were also away from home sort of adopted them as mascots.

Then being almost drafted to Flotta from Shetland to a less than rapturous welcome from the American contractors then in place.

However fortunately they were replaced and a good working relationship then emerged.

Ghosts from the Deep


Dr Mia Pia Caseraini gave a talk to a packed audience on the fate of Franklin’s expedition.

There is a modern theory that it was not lead poisoning that killed the members of the expedition but botulism from improperly cooked canned food.

Lady Franklin’s efforts to find the expedition were extraordinary. She was based in Orkney for some of this period.

All of the subsequent expeditions failed possibly or mainly because nobody talked to the Inuit who knew exactly were the remains were.

That is until John Rae did. he gave a confidential report to the Admiralty who then inexplicably released it to the Times. The contents of that report were shocking to Victorian England and that is possibly why he was airbrushed from History.

The Amazing Mr Tesla



Slovenian physicist Andej Detela gave a short account of Mr Tesla’s life and achievements.

He lived in hotel rooms all his life and was what we would now call a workaholic.
He was certainly known to Einstein and Mark Twain and Sarah Bernhardt.

He was in fact the inventor of radio, the fluorescent  tube, and 3 phase electricity to name but 3.

He has left a vast amount of papers which have as yet to be understood.

A brief history of Life.


Dr Karin Labib of Dundee University gave us a “potted account” of DNA (deoxy ribose nucleic acid) RNA and chromosomes.

He described how it “unzips ” to start a new cell.

The most common form of life on earth is actually single cell organisms.

Hydrogen development in Orkney


Nigel Holmes of EMEC gave an up to date description of the Hydrogen developments on Orkney to a packed audience.
Orkney is a world leader in this emerging technology.
Historically H2 was produced on Hoy during WW2 for barrage balloons.
Hydrogen is a possible energy store for renewable energy so that at a time of renewable energy glut H2 can be made and either reconverted back to electricity or used to power transport or cooking and heating.
He demonstrated a peedie model of a fuel cell which ran a fan from H2 generated from an electroyser  in front of our eyes.

A subsequent press release had yet another Orkney first as we had just produced H2 direct from tidal power.

From Rocky Karst to Sunlit Sea.

Science festival

Prof Peter Raspor and Dr Edvard Kobal marked 20 years of friendship between the Slovenian Science Foundation and the Orkney Science Festival  by looking at the links between land yeast and wine.

There are over 10,000 varieties of yeast and mans use of yeast goes way back in time.

In 3100 BC the Pharoes had beer.

Slovenia also has a 400 year old vine. There are 3 wine regions in the country producing white red and rose. The red was very good and I have never tasted a dry Muscat before.

We were shown some pictures of Slovenia hmmm.

It is now on my bucket list as a holiday destination.


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