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Lord Provost

An astronomical inspiration: The Edinburgh Medal 2016

This post first appeared as a column in the Edinburgh Evening News.

Inventions, innovations and scientific discoveries have been associated with Edinburgh for centuries and there are countless individuals and institutions ensuring that this tradition continues to thrive.

The Edinburgh International Science Festival is a champion for our city’s fascination with what humans have managed discover, and what is yet to be uncovered. It stands as an annual reminder of how our ancestors blazed a trail for the Enlightenment and philosophy and the relationship science has with culture.

As President of the Festival, I believe it helps to ignite a love and marvel for science. If every parent and child in the city visits the Festival just once a year, who knows where that excitement might lead?

Next month I will have the honour of presenting the Edinburgh Medal to the Science Festival’s 28th recipients - Kevin Govender and the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

The Edinburgh Medal is a prestigious award given each year to men and women of science and technology whose professional achievements are judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity. Previous winners have included Professor Peter Higgs and Sir David Attenborough.

The Office of Astronomy for Development integrates the pursuit of scientific knowledge with social development for and with those most in need. Under the pioneering stewardship of Kevin Govender, the Office of Astronomy for Development, has successfully harnessed astronomy in the service of education globally. From South Africa to China, Mr Govender has used science to improve communities.

I am delighted to be able to provide the Edinburgh Medal in response to these amazing achievements. I am also hopeful that one day the Medal will be awarded to someone who may still be at school or who may have been inspired by science following a visit to the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

By recognising pioneers from science and technology, perhaps the city can continue to inspire young people to consider following a scientific path.

Mr Kevin Govender