Scotland’s National Book Town – famed for its annual festivals – is relaunching its Big Bang celebration of astronomy, science and the dark skies of Galloway.

Cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19 it will take place in digital form this year, with more than 10 events lined up from 3-6 March.

Adrian Turpin, director of Wigtown Festival Company, said: “Turning our attention to the universe, offers perspective and even comfort. 

“There’s never been a better time to look up and enjoy the night sky. 

“As well as offering diversion in the current crisis, we hope that Big Bang Week will introduce Galloway’s unspoilt dark skies to a new audience and encourage them to visit when that’s possible again.”

Participants of Big Bang Week include:

Dr Christina Mackaill: Dr Mackaill is Clinical Research Fellow in Emergency Medicine at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. Part of an international team developing an Advanced Life Support Guideline for Microgravity, she founded Scotland’s first space medicine society in 2016 and is now on the medical team conducting a simulated astronaut mission in the Negev Desert. 

Brian Clegg: The best-selling science writer discusses his book – What Do You Think You Are?: The Science of What Makes You You, following an extraordinary trail back from 21st-century humankind to our sub-atomic origins. 

Nathan Case: One of the UK’s leading experts on the Northern Lights guides us through their causes, where to see them and how you can contribute to our understanding of the ever-surprising aurora. Dr Case is a Senior Research Associate in Space and Planetary Physics at Lancaster University, and a member of the AuroraWatch UK team.

Joe Zuntz: Most of our universe seems to be “dark”, which to an astronomer means not just black but invisible. What could be out there? And how do we know if we can’t observe it directly? A lecturer in astrophysics at the University of Edinburgh, based at the Royal Observatory, Dr Zuntz talks about how cosmologists are exploring the deeply strange Dark Sector. 

Other events will look at Galloway’s unique dark skies heritage and there will also be online exhibitions and new video and audio commissioned for the event. 

Enjoy a Wigtown Wednesday

As well Big Bang Week, Wigtown Festival Company is bringing back its free, online midweek Wigtown Wednesday events fortnightly until the end of March. 

They include novelist Jenni Fagan on her acclaimed new novel Luckenbooth (27 Jan, 7pm); doctor turned writer Gavin Francis on his first-hand account of the Covid crisis (10 Feb, 7pm), Intensive CareKatherine May on bestselling memoir Wintering (24 Feb, 7pm); former BBC journalist Gavin Esler discussing his new book How Britain Ends (17 March, 7pm); and Samira Shackle‘s kaleidoscopic account of lives in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi Vice (31 March, 7pm).  

These events are kindly supported by Baillie Gifford. 

 – ENDS – 

Notes to Editors

  • Website and tickets – or call 01988 403222 
  • Organised by – Wigtown Festival Company, 11 Main Street, Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway, DG8 9HN.
  • Wigtown Festival Company is limited by guarantee with charitable status. Charity number SCO37984.

For further information and interview requests contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or [email protected]