National Museums Scotland hits the road this summer to bring science to the music festival circuit. In partnership with Edinburgh International Science Festival, it will tour its Rock the Lab science roadshow to festivals and local communities around the country, with hands-on science experiments and fun drop-in events.

Supported by a Scottish Government Talking Science grant, Rock the Lab takes free and interactive science experiments to new audiences across the country. At each festival, people will be able to flag down roving scientists and their busking bike to see astounding experiments, or drop into a pop-up laboratory where Rock the Lab will fire the imagination and show the fun side of scientific research and innovation, with experiments, demos and surprises inspired by the wondrous collections on display at the National Museum of Scotland. In addition, Rock the Lab will go out into local communities around each festival site with its offering of free, fun and bizarre science.

Stephen Allen, Head of Learning and Programmes at National Museums Scotland, said:

“We hope everyone who comes to try out these experiments is entertained by the fantastic scientists and inspired by our fascinating collections of science and technology, which cover life, the universe and everything in it: from science and engineering to nature and outer space. We’re really excited to team up with Edinburgh International Science Festival to bring Rock the Lab’s fun science roadshow to some of Scotland’s best-loved music festivals and into communities.”

Rock the Lab will offer people the chance to delve into the body’s inner workings and uncover the science behind the “seven deadly sins”. The secrets of greed and gluttony will be revealed with a hands-on journey through the human digestion system; while pride and beauty will be put to the test with scientists examining people to see if they have “the golden ratio” and challenging their sense of smell. Alongside this, at the music festivals there will also be a secret silent disco where the music and the dance moves are inspired by the animal kingdom’s best movers and shakers. These are just a few examples of the entertaining science experiments that will be taking place. Rock the Lab is suitable for all ages.

Amanda Tyndall, Deputy Director of Edinburgh International Science Festival said:

Rock The Lab is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase the entertaining and bizarre side of science innovation in new and unexpected environments. We're delighted to be working with National Museums Scotland to present this fresh approach to science communication at some of Scotland's best music festivals and their surrounding communities. Our specially developed activities will challenge your senses and puzzle your perception as our science buskers extract real DNA, demonstrate what happens when you're sick and allow you to experience what a difference two stone makes.”

Rock the Lab will be found at the following festivals:

  • Hebridean Celtic Festival, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, 17-20 July 2013
  • Wickerman, East Kirkcarswell, near Dundrennan, Dumfries & Galloway, 26-27 July 2013
  • Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, by Beauly, Inverness-shire, 02-03 August 2013

In addition, Rock the Lab will be found at:

Outer Hebrides

  • Tarbert Community Centre, Tarbert, Isle of Harris, 15 July 2013
  • Bernera Community Centre, Great Bernera, 16 July 2013
  • An Lanntair Arts Centre, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, 17 July 2013


  • Dumfries Museum, Dumfries & Galloway, 24-25 July 2013

For further information and images please contact Ruth Mackie or Susan Gray, press office, National Museums / 0131 247 4288.

Notes to Editors

  • National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in the UK and Europe and it looks after collections of national and international importance. The organisation provides loans, partnerships, research and training in Scotland and internationally. Our individual museums are the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum. The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh houses conservation and research facilities as well as collections not currently on display.

  • Edinburgh International Science Festival is an educational charity that inspires people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the wonder of science and technology. Alongside staging one of Europe's largest Science Festivals and touring its education programme Generation Science to schools across Scotland annually, the organisation is also the programme partner for the Abu Dhabi Science Festival. Website -

  • Scottish Government Talking Science grant scheme is administered by the Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (OCSA) within the Scottish Government. Awards are made under the auspices of the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985 (amended 1999), which provides for grants to be made by Scottish Ministers to “any body whose activities appear…likely to promote the development or understanding of cultural or scientific matters.”

Back to top