Doug Allan at the Emperor Penguin Colony

Doug Allan at the Emperor Penguin Colony

How do you get close to leopard seals underwater without being eaten? Do your eyeballs really freeze at minus 50? What’s a snoticle?

TV wildlife cameraman Doug Allan will answer these questions and many, many more in his Polar Explorer STEM Talk, part of the TechFest digital festival of STEM, which has moved online for the first time this year.

Taking a different approach to STEM talks Doug, one of the event’s keynote speakers, will cover Scary animals, Titanic icebergs, Exciting adventures, and Magical encounters as he discusses and illustrates the work he does in these challenging environments.

He’ll also address the biggest question of all - what’s happening in the Arctic and Antarctic that’s affecting all the animals that live there?

Doug will present 45 minutes of pre-recorded wildlife content on November 22 at 7pm. That will be followed by a 15-minute, live Q&A so the audience can find out what it’s like to be up close with wildlife.

Booking is open now for the Polar Explorer STEM Talk, which forms part of the TechFest Goes Digital public programme.

Doug Allan, TV wildlife cameraman and presenter of Polar Explorer STEM said: “STEM isn’t just academic, it’s relevant to understanding everything anywhere you go.

“I want to excite you all in my online audience with stories from behind the camera, filming in some of the world’s loveliest, most challenging wildernesses.

“The live Q&A is a great way to engage with you about what’s happening at the Poles and raise awareness of how the animals are being affected. If I can motivate you all to become explorers yourselves, I know you’ll help to look after out planet in the future.”

The annual festival is aiming to be the biggest and most ambitious digital science festival in Scotland this year.

With an exciting and eclectic mix of more than 30 events taking place over a three-week period, the festival has two main strands - the traditional public programme and a programme for schools.

Supported by joint principal sponsors bp and Shell and also sponsored by Equinor, Ithaca Energy, SBRC, The Data Lab and supported by RockRose Energy, the celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) usually runs for three weeks in September, with events taking place in venues across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

This year, rather than cancel the festival due to current events, organisers not only decided to go ahead with a 2020 event but to make it wider ranging than ever before.

The mix includes both live and pre-recorded events delivered via Zoom, Facebook, LinkedIn and through interactive activities.

Live events in the public programme of afternoon, evening and weekend sessions include talks on how technology has helped many charities in ‘Turn Up Tech’ and how to navigate a career in STEM your own way in ‘Creating a STEM career that works for you: adventures in & out of academia’.

A schools programme has brought science-based activities directly into the classroom with a variety of activities, video conferences, talks, and virtual events with partners including Edinburgh Zoo, the RAF and the Red Cross in collaboration with Skills Development Scotland TechFest’s new programme collaborator.

Doug Allan’s Polar Express Stem talk begins at 7pm on November 22 and is suitable for all ages.

Admission to all events is free. For more information and to book, visit the TechFest website at