The Big Bounce 2020 - watch the shows

A new science festival for the East End of Glasgow. Returning autumn 2021.


The Big Bounce logo 3 text over face

The Big Bounce is a celebration of physics, curiosity and innovation.

Last year we streamed online, LIVE from the Barrowland Ballroom and Barras Market on the 31 October weekend, but you can watch all the shows back any time on our YouTube playlist, or by following the links below. 

Whether you’re into science or not, we think you’ll enjoy checking out dancing atoms, spooky science and artificial suns, all without leaving the house!

Across two days, we explored the physics that drives our world, and the technology that harnesses it to create wonders. 

All eyes are on Glasgow as the city prepares to host the COP26 climate conference in 2021, so our festival focused on the amazing ways that physics can help us tackle the climate crisis and find a brighter future.

Watch this space for news of the Big Bounce 2021. To hear it first, like IOP Scotland on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

60-second highlights

Watch back: Big Bounce 2020 videos

Fast Physics!

Physics! What is it good for? Folk in Scotland and beyond are doing some weird and wonderful stuff with physics right now, and these four quickfire talks reveal all.

The four quickfire talks are:

1. Winds from Supermassive Black Holes. 

They can tell us how galaxies evolve. How? Well, show up and find out.

2. Scary Physics: sometimes things are not as they seem… it wouldn’t be Halloween without slime, spooky solid fluids, and levitating objects!

3. Why warming in the Arctic means you get wet in Scotland. 

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. This is bad news for polar bears, but what difference does it make to those of us that live elsewhere?

We explain how changes in Arctic climate have a big impact on the weather we experience in Scotland, and what we might see in the future.

4. Energy in the Green New Deal.

For centuries, we've run our civilisations by burning coal, gas and oil. But with the world itself now heating up we need to think about how we keep the lights on, our machines running and our lives comfortable in the years and centuries to come.

This Fast Physics presentation looks at new ways of generating, storing and moving energy that won't cost us the planet.

All talks ideal for people aged 11ish to 100.

Fusion Future: The Sun’s Power on Earth

From the Barrowland Ballroom!

Fusion is the reaction that powers the stars – small particles colliding and combining produce huge amounts of energy with no greenhouse gases and no long-lived radioactive waste. 

This makes fusion the ultimate energy source and scientists have been trying to do it on Earth for decades. When it works, it will change the energy landscape; perhaps even change the world.

The next decade will be a really exciting one for fusion energy. Discussing why scientists have been chasing the fusion dream for so long and where fusion fits in the energy market, Dr Melanie Windridge shows you why now is a key time. 

She introduces you to what it takes to harness the energy of the stars, some of the approaches being tried and talks about how private investment is moving the field towards commercialisation.

Dr Windridge is a plasma physicist, speaker and writer... with a taste for adventure.

She has a PhD in fusion energy from Imperial College London, is communications consultant for fusion company Tokamak Energy, and is the author of Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights and Star Chambers: The Race for Fusion Power.

Ideal for people aged 11 to 100.

Power Up!

From the Barrowland Ballroom!

Kids take on the role of young engineers in our fun-filled show Power Up!, where we check out alternative, renewable energy sources.

Join us to learn how we power our homes and our cars, and watch cool demonstrations of the effects of climate change.

You get to see renewable energy in action as we explore engineering wonders such as hydro dams and solar power.

Everyone needs to work together to find the best possible way to fill our energy meter whilst being good to the planet – before our resources run out!

Ideal for people aged five to 100.

Climate Change: Simple, Serious and Solvable

From the Barras Market

Are you dancin’? Dr James Rae is. He tells you how global heating actually works, and also busts some pretty mean moves. He shows how the science of climate change is simple, the impacts are serious and the problem itself is solvable.

Join in with this LIVE online event to find out how humans like you can help the world to bounce back!

Ideal for people aged 11ish to 100.

The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas

From the Barrowland Ballroom!

Take three top academics, three dangerous ideas, add one comedian and it’s the force of nature that is the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas (CODI).

Hosted by comedian JoJo Sutherland, and now in its eighth year, CODI is 60 minutes of rapid-fire research from some of the finest minds in the country.

Curated by the University of Edinburgh as part of Beltane Public Engagement Network and produced by Fair Pley.

‘A fascinating discussion’ Broadway Baby

‘All of the CODI talks are designed to challenge their audiences’ Lancet

‘[T]here are no talks here which don’t promise to be hugely educational and thought-provoking’ List

1. When Money Can Talk

Your money is changing and it’s getting a mind of its own! What happens when your bank finds out you’re addicted to Greggs or tapping your credit card can tell Spotify just what song to play? Where money and tech meet, spending has never been easier, but as money gets smarter can we stay in control? Join Chris Elsden (The University of Edinburgh) as he ventures into our digital financial futures where money can listen, talk and even take decisions for you.

2. Spot the Bot! 

Machines are learning to write and translate poetry, novels, and news stories (in any language). But can they really capture the intricate emotions and nuances of human literature? And what does this mean for the future of jobs in translation, journalism and writing? Paola Ruffo bets you can’t tell the difference between text written by humans and computers! Are you up to the challenge?

3. RoboDoc!

AI-enabled robots are on the rise and in some tasks they already beat humans! Soon, they will take their place alongside doctors in our health system, interpreting your x-rays and MRI scans better than their human colleagues. Together, doctors and intelligent robots could enable huge advances in our ability to diagnose diseases early and perform surgery with greater precision.

Dr Subramanian Ramamoorthy (The University of Edinburgh) explores what is becoming possible and what questions this raises for patients and medical professionals.

Ideal for those aged 16 to 100.

The Big Bounce is the new name for the Festival of Physics, previously held annually at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.

For enquiries, please email [email protected].