The relationship most adults have with science is one of observation: watching government agencies explore on behalf of us, but not actually exploring it ourselves. Science should be disruptively accessible – empowering people from a variety of different backgrounds to explore, participate in, and build new ways of interacting with and contributing to science. By having a fresh set of eyes from those who solve different types of problems, new concepts often emerge and go on to influence science in unexpected ways. A grassroots effort called Science Hack Day aims to bridge the gap between the science, technology and design industries. A Hack Day is a 48 hour all-night event that brings different people with good ideas together in the same physical space for a brief but intense period of collaboration, hacking, and building ‘cool stuff’. By collaborating on focused tasks during this short period, small groups of hackers are capable of producing remarkable results.
This is a rare opportunity to meet two remarkable inventors with surprisingly common ground. Dean Kamen is the Founder of DEKA and FIRST. Perhaps best known for inventing the Segway, his devices, such as drug pumps, revolutionary wheelchairs and the robotic “Luke Arm” for amputees have touched and improved lives around the globe. Be inspired and learn about FIRST, a program that teaches kids of all ages the principles of math, science and physics via robotics competitions. Novmichi Tosa is President of Maywa Denki, a Japanese sensation that is one-part Toy Company, one-part musical performance art and one-part cultural icon. Maywa Denki’s unforgettable performances, viral videos, music, toys and “nonsense” instruments have taken Asia by storm. It also runs workshops that teach Japanese children how to make instruments out of dime-store items. Join us to discuss innovation, education and how you can engage to build a better world. Sponsored by IEEE.
by Laura Deming
It’s been decades since we first made an organism live longer. What have we done in the interim, and how does it affect you? Can we slow human aging? Covering everything from the secrets of the centenarians to hacked lungs and livers, this talk will illustrate how we plan to tweak genes and engineer tissues to extend the human healthspan. Laura Deming, Thiel Fellow with the 20under20 program, stopped out of college to start commercializing anti-aging research. Find out why the science is exciting enough to take the leap.
If you look back at the history of human civilization, and the last 100 years in particular, you will see a history that is, for the most part, dominated and driven by science. The scientific method and its results have transformed humanity from superstitious tribesmen to gods that can control almost every aspect of themselves and the environment. Yet, beneath the glamorous technology that science has enabled lays a system that is outdated, inefficient, and broken. From the education of future scientists to the equipment needed to carry out basic research, the process of discovery and innovation is hampered by commercialization and inefficiency. The university, once a bastion of knowledge and exploration, is now nothing more than a toll booth. First, students must spend up to $200,000 (much of it with debt that follows them through bankruptcy) for the privilege of teaching themselves from outdated textbooks that cost thousands more. They then enter the modern laboratory, funded by organizations that value the quantity of research over quality and stocked by research equipment manufacturers that gouge their clients by pricing equipment five or ten times what they are worth. Here they start their journey of pumping out research articles, for which they don’t get paid, so that companies like Wiley and Elsevier can make 40% profit margins for simple file hosting. Professorship and tenure is their only respite, the so called white light at the end of the tunnel, yet if they take that path they will be relegated to spending the rest of their lives teaching and writing grants. If instead these scientists decide to enter the corporate world, they will most likely spend their lives trying to increase the efficiency of ammonia synthesis or engine output by 3% instead of curing cancer or building the next rocket that will fly to Mars. The rapid growth of scientific research and knowledge in the last century is unsustainable under the weight of all of these problems. In order to maintain humanity’s momentum and tackle the global problems that we face now and in the next 50 years, in order to save future generations from the problems we’ve created, we need to open science up to the masses, making it more democratic and efficient. This talk is about how citizens, without involvement from the government or private industries, can help solve science’s problems.
9th–13th March 2012