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Howie Firth has directed Orkney International Science Festival, one of the longest-running anywhere outside Edinburgh, since its foundation in 1991. A mathematical physicist by training, he has experience in teaching, broadcasting, writing, and community development.

After graduating from Edinburgh University, he carried out postgraduate research at Durham University, then took a break from physics to become a travelling teacher in  the smaller island schools of his native Orkney. Interest in community development took him into broadcasting and a pioneering new type of community radio station, BBC Radio Orkney. In 1989 the city of Edinburgh gave him the responsibility for creating the science festival format which is now followed worldwide.

He returned to Orkney to set up a science festival which today attracts speakers and audiences from across the UK and overseas. He was for nine years the Islands Councillor for the islands of North Ronaldsay and Sanday, and involved with numerous projects in economc and community development.

Awards include an honorary master's degree from the Open University and an honorary DSc from Heriot-Watt University, an award from the Institute of Physics, and an MBE for services to popular science in the UK.

He has lectured in 11 countries and written widely, and has a particular interest in the history and philosophy of science.

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