Monday, May 14, 2018

Curious Edinburgh has been awarded the highly regarded Tam Dalyell Prize for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science 2017. The prize was presented at a sell-out lecture of over 200 people at the Edinburgh International Science Festival last month.

Curious Edinburgh is the history of science, technology and medicine virtual tour app and website led by Dr Niki Vermeulen, working with her colleague Bill Jenkins from Science, Technology and Innovation Studies based within the School of Social and Political Studies at the University of Edinburgh.  Curious Edinburgh has been built by EDINA, working closely with the academic team to turn their ideas into an accessible app for iOS and Android. Whilst it benefits from use whilst walking around the city of Edinburgh, the app can be accessed and used anywhere in the world.  

In her Tam Dalyell Prize Lecture, Niki Vermeulen talked about the vision for the app which was inspired by Professor Emeritus John Henry’s walking tours for colleagues that revealed the rich scientific and technological history of the city. Often key moments in scientific and medical history are hidden in plain sight, so it is hard for visitors and residents to spot unless they have a good guide. Making the guide a free-to-use mobile app opens up that hidden heritage to many more people, whether tourists or residents of the city. 

As part of the lecture, Nicola Osborne spoke about EDINA’s work on the project, explaining how the app works, the decision to use open source technologies, and how the app scales so that new tours can be added over time.  Indeed, Curious Edinburgh has expanded significantly since it launched and now includes ten diverse tours, some of which were presented by guest speakers in the lecture.

Curious Edinburgh is available now for iOS, Android and on the (mobile friendly) website. Two new India tours launch this month, with a further Granton tour, highlighting the (improbable) nineteenth century electric car industry in the North of Edinburgh, due to launch later in the year.

If you are interested in finding out more about this ongoing project or would like to find out more about how EDINA could help turn your grand idea into an award winning reality, please do get in touch via the EDINA helpdesk: edina@ed.ac.uk