Big Bang Weekend

Women going boldly where no one has gone before.

27 - 29 January 2017 in Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town.

NASA, deep sea explorers, science fiction - oh my! Join us for a stellar lecture series celebrating female scientists as they share stories about their work, exploration and the unknown universe.

Choose just one single event or get the Cosmic Pass and see everything. Purchase the Cosmic Pass HERE.
Young adult (11-18 years) tickets FREE for all lectures. Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

For individual tickets, click on the event below.

Friday, 27 January

Wine, Cheese and Science, Supper Room, County Buildings, Wigtown 5:30-6:30pm

An event to kick off Big Bang Weekend that takes the best of Earth and the best of the cosmos too.

Come and enjoy a VIP experience with cheese and wine pairings and a meet and greet with Dr. Amy Hofmann (Nasa, Europa mission), Dr. Maya Tolstoy (Columbia University, deep sea explorer) and Dr. Pippa Goldschmidt (best selling science fiction author). Ask your questions about our universe and have a chance to speak with these pioneering scientists before the Big Bang festivities get underway.

Big Bang Women's Panel: Exploring the Unknown and Celebration of Mary Somerville, Main Hall, County Buildings, Wigtown 7:00-8:30pm

Stories from the new frontier. Join us for a dream team panel of women scientists who are pushing the boundaries of our known universe. In an evening dedicated to Scottish author Mary Somerville, hailed as the 'first' scientist, come and hear Stuart Kelly (former literary editor of Scotland on Sunday) speak on her life and hear previews from Dr. Amy Hofmann (Nasa), Dr. Maya Tolstoy (Columbia University) and Dr. Pippa Goldschmidt (science fiction author) about alien oceans, deep sea exploration and science fiction.

Dark Sky Park's Journey Through the Cosmos (Part 1)  County Buildings, Wigtown 9pm

Go beyond your horizons. Join a Dark Sky Ranger from Dark Sky Park for stories and stargazing.  Dress warmly and enjoy Galloway's world-renown night sky.

Saturday, 28 January

thinkScience Planetarium Show! Supper Room, County Buildings, Wigtown 10 - 10:30am / 12:30-1:00pm / 3:30 - 4:00pm / 5:30 - 6:00pm / 6:00 - 6:30pm

For every drop of rain that falls on Glasgow in a year, there are a million stars in the Universe. That's a lot of stars! Join thinkScience for their magical planetarium show and experience the cosmos from the warm comfort of the great indoors. Educational and child friendly.

Europa and Alien Oceans Dr. Amy Hofmann, Main Hall, County Buildings, Wigtown  11am - 12:20pm

Dr. Amy Hofmann has taken a break from Nasa's new Europa mission to visit Scotland's National Book Town and tell us all about the new frontier of space exploration, alien oceans and the search for life. Not to mention her passion for literature too.  Amy Hofmann, a professor in the Chemistry department of Franklin & Marshall College is on leave and currently at Nasa's JPL pursuing her interests in the chemistry of planetary habitability.  A true liberal arts kid, she constructed her own--perhaps dubious—major as an undergrad while at F&M and then eventually had the good fortunate to find “her people” as a graduate student in Geochemistry at Caltech.  There, she worked on deciphering the micron-scale chemical composition and variations of the oldest known bits of our planet, 4.4 billion-year-old zircons.  She grew up in the small town of Wernersville, Pennsylvania (home to a mental institution, although she swears that wasn’t her home) where, at age 10, she received her first telescope and around the same time learned the word “terraforming” from science fiction.  The rest, as they say, is history.


Create Space! Curly Tale Books, 11am - Open to all ages. Free.

Come along and help to create a spacescape filled with fabulous planets, amazing aliens, sparkly stars and rocketing space vehicles. Artist Shalla Gray will be on hand to help with techniques and tips to help you create your contribution to the big picture.

Space Story Time Curly Tale Books, 2pm - Open to all ages. Free.

Join us for a selection of fun filled space stories read by children's author Jayne Baldwin.



Dr. Pippa Goldschmidt, Science Fiction Main Hall, County Buildings, Wigtown  2pm - 3:20pm

Astronomer turned science fiction author, Pippa Goldschmidt speaks on where science and storytelling meet...and may give us a speak peak at her new novel. A writer based in Edinburgh, Pippa Goldschmidt has a PhD in astronomy from the University of Edinburgh and much of her writing is inspired by science. Her recent collection of short stories ‘The Need for Better Regulation of Outer Space’ explores real, historical and imaginary aspects of science. Her novel ‘The Falling Sky’ (runner-up in the 2012 Dundee International Book Prize) is about an astronomer who thinks she’s found evidence contradicting the Big Bang theory. Pippa is also the co-editor of ‘I Am Because You Are’, an anthology of short stories and essays celebrating the hundredth anniversary of general relativity. Her short stories, poetry and non-fiction have been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including Gutter, Lablit, New Writing Scotland and the New York Times, and also broadcast on Radio 4. She’s a winner of the 2016 Suffrage Science award (for women in science).

Find out more at

Geophysics and Deep Sea Exploration, Dr. Maya Tolstoy, Main Hall, County Buildings, Wigtown  4pm - 5:20pm

From the ocean floor to the big screen to Wigtown. We are delighted to have Dr. Maya Tolstoy speak on marine geophysics, deep sea exploration and share some secrets of from under the ocean. Maya Tolstoy is a marine geophysicist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. She has been on 30 research cruises, been featured in James Cameron's Aliens of the Deep, been a finalist for NASA's astronaut program, contributed greatly to our knowledge of Tidal Triggering, and explores Seafloor Earthquakes at TEDxCERN. Her research interests include mid-ocean ridge earthquakes, the links between earthquakes and life (particularly at mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal vent systems), seafloor instrumentation and the impact of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals.


Big Bang Pub Quiz, Craft, Wigtown, 8pm

Wet your whistle and tease your brain with our stellar pub quiz. Grab a team or go at it alone as we journey through the cosmos, one pint at a time. Hosted at Craft. £5.00 per team.


Dark Sky Park's Journey Through the Cosmos (Part 2), County Buildings, Wigtown, 9pm

Go beyond your horizons. Join a Dark Sky Ranger from Dark Sky Park for stories and stargazing.  Dress warmly and enjoy Galloway's world-renown night sky.

Sunday 29, January

Breakfast and Dark Matter What’s Beyond the Known 9am - 10:30am Supper Room, County Buildings, Wigtown

Come join us as Dr. Amy Hofmann and Dr. Pippa Goldschmidt reveal the secrets of the cosmos over tea and breakfast. Fill your stomach, and your minds with dark matter, black holes and parallel universes before Big Bang Weekend comes to a close.


Wigtown's year round Cultural Tourism activity is supported by the European Union LEADER 2014-2020 Programme.