Fun For All At Parton – James Clerk Maxwell Family Science Festival

The James Clerk Maxwell family science festival will be taking place at Parton Kirk & Village Hall on Saturday 14th March 2020. This exciting and innovative event is being held to celebrate the life and achievements of the work of James Clerk Maxwell who is rightly acclaimed as the ‘father’ of modern physics and who we owe the most significant discovery of our modern age, the Theory of Electromagnetism.


So much of our technology in the world today stems from his grasp of the basic principles of the universe. Wide ranging developments in the field of electricity and electronics derive from Maxwell’s discoveries, including radio, television, radar and communications. Although his fame does not match his contributions, James Clerk Maxwell is arguably the most famous character to come from the Galloway area. Born in Edinburgh, he and his family lived at Glenlair House, Parton and he was buried at Parton Kirk.


This exciting, free family event aims to introduce the magnitude of his achievements through a series of stimulating and creative activities such as a pop-up planetarium, hands on experiments, make and take-home experiments as well as professor pumpernickel’s science show. There is also going to be an evening with Ben Cravens who was heavily involved in the design of the Glasgow Science Centre to talk about light and colour and Kim Ayres local photographer will discuss light and its use in photography.


The James Clerk Maxwell Family Science Festival has been supported by a grant of £4,600 through the Galloway Glens ‘Our Heritage’ Small Grants Scheme, in partnership with Dumfries & Galloway Science Festival. Please see the attached poster for further details about this exciting free event.


Sarah-Jane Allsopp, Parton Community Council Representative said:

“By its nature the event will be educational as it will introduce people to a segment of scientific progress and highlight some fundamental physical principles. At the same time, we wish to inspire people by showing them that this was a local person who made fantastic advances and much of his capacity to be successful stemmed from his foundations in the local culture and natural heritage.  By testing the ground for a permanent exhibition, we would ultimately aim to provide a sustainable boost to the local economy.”


Jude Crooks, Galloway Glens Administrator and lead contact for the Small Grants Scheme, said:

“There is so much written regarding how the local landscape around Parton inspired James Clerk Maxwell’s fascination with science through the study of nature. By its very nature the festival is educational and supports Scotland’s strategy to build capacity to deliver STEM learning, and it will of course be a great fun day out for all the family.


McNabb Laurie, Galloway Glens Team Leader, added:

Referred to as ‘Einstein’s Einstein’, I am so glad the Galloway Glens Scheme can support the memory and understanding of James Clerk Maxwell locally. Every time anyone across the world picks up a smartphone, we should give a nod to James Clerk Maxwell for his discoveries! Many thanks to Parton Community Council and Dumfries & Galloway Science Festival. My thanks also go, as always, to the National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland for the funding and for the support from Scheme partners including Drax, Dumfries & Galloway Council and the UNESCO Biosphere. I am looking forward to the 14th of March!”

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