Curious will run from 7-30 August online, with events offering insight from some of the world’s leading experts across three key themes of health and wellbeing, innovation and invention and our planet.

This year’s programme comprises 25 Tea and Talk events, a format inspired by the coffee house discussions of the Scottish Enlightenment where people would gather to debate issues of the day. The one-hour long Tea and Talk sessions will take place at 3pm every day on Zoom (except 8th and 30th August) and are free to attend. Places will be limited to facilitate an intimate experience for participants therefore we encourage early registration.

Some larger capacity events will also take place: Baroness Ashton will be giving the RSE’s annual MacCormick lecture on the future of foreign policy; and we have a number of group panel discussions.


2019 Gallery

Browse a selection of photos from the Curious 2019 when we welcomed audiences into the RSE building on George Street in Edinburgh. The programme considered and discussed topics including the politics of migration and border control, forensic science, fake news and the science of gin.

Alongside a programme which also included workshops and musical performances, we were proud to present the RSE’s Women in Science in Scotland photographic exhibition featuring 26 portraits of RSE Fellows, all of whom are working in, or have a connection to, Scotland.

We look forward to getting your feedback on this year’s virtual Curious programme and look forward to (hopefully) inviting you back into our spectacular building in the future.

2020 – curious times call for curious minds.

Curious times call for curious minds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between a Talk and a Group Discussion?

In the Group Discussion events, such as our Tea & Talk series, there will be a smaller audience and there will be a greater emphasis on the audience participating in discussion with the Speakers.

In the Talks the audience will be unrestricted and questions will be taken via the Q&A function on Zoom, then read by the Chair of the event.

How much do your events cost?

All of our online events are free to join. The RSE wishes for our events to be accessible to as many people as possible and do not want finances to act as a barrier.

Do I need to register to attend? How do I register?

Yes, for all our online events you need to register. Depending on the event you will either register through Eventbrite or Zoom, but this will be clear from the event’s page on our Curious website.

I have registered for an event. What's next?

Check your emails to ensure the booking confirmation arrives, please make sure to check your Junk/Spam folders in case it is filtered. The booking confirmation email will have all the details on how to join your online event. If you accidentally delete or do not receive your booking confirmation please email the Public Engagement Team, [email protected], and they will be able to help.

Will the events be interactive?

All events will allow attendees to ask questions and some will have more activities involved.

Will there be time for Q&A?

Yes, the majority of our events are planned with time for an audience Q&A. Some events, like our Tea & Talk series, are completely focused on questions and discussion raised by the audience.

I've booked a virtual seat, but I'm no longer able to attend. How do I cancel?

There will be instructions in your confirmation email on how to cancel your booking or you can email. [email protected]. Please do cancel if you can no longer attend your online event as there are some events with limited spaces.

The event is fully booked, how can I get a place?

If an event is fully booked we will be operating a waiting list system that will automatically let you know if a space becomes available. If an event proves to be very popular and the waiting list is substantial we will endeavour to schedule an additional event.

What time should I join?

The online events should start at the time advertised. We recommend joining a few minutes before to ensure your internet connection is working and so you can make yourself comfortable before the event begins!

Will this event be livestreamed or recorded? Where can I find the recordings?

The platform we are using for our online events is Zoom and you need to register to view. Some of the online talks will be livestreamed on our YouTube channel. After the event has finished a recording will be made available for viewing in your own time. The smaller Group Discussion events (Tea & Talks) will not be livestreamed or recorded due to the nature of the event and audience members discussing potentially sensitive topics.


The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) is Scotland’s National Academy, established in 1783 for the advancement of learning and useful knowledge. The RSE’s mission remains the same today as in 1783 and is woven in to all that we do – knowledge made useful. As Scotland’s National Academy, we play a leading role in challenging and developing current thinking and ideas. We do this through harnessing the diverse knowledge and expertise of our Fellowship from across a wide range of disciplines and who represent some of the best and most brilliant minds living and working in Scotland today.
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