Science Hack Day Portland 2016
- Science Hack Day is an event where anyone who wants to make something with science comes together to see what they can prototype in 24 hours. From a data visualization to help a scientist explain their work, to a piece of hardware, software, or interactive technology, or something weird like a 3D printed LaCroix delivery drone, Science Hack Day brings experts in technology together with researchers and science enthusiasts to facilitate innovation.
- Science Hack Day Portland is a story of cross-disciplinary collaboration from beginning to end. The organizers of Open Insight PDX, an OHSU Library and National Library of Medicine sponsored project, wanted to bring Jenny Molloy to OHSU to facilitate a hack and create engagement with open tools and software for science. Around the same time open source community organizer Max Ogden, with whom we had previously partnered on an Open Insight workshop, reached out about working together to organize a Science Hack Day in Portland. With our combined expertise, interests, and networks we built an event that not only got us and our attendees excited about the good open tools could do for science, but also catalyzed a community that we plan to nurture with more events and collaborations!
- In the months leading up to Science Hack Day PDX, we hosted happy hour events to bring curious parties together and facilitate team formation. There was no requirement, however, to form a team before the event, so plenty of interested people just showed up! With over 100 novice and experienced hackers in attendance we kicked things off with five powerful lightening talks, and unlimited Townshend's kombucha (along with a mix of other beverages and food).
- @jessica_microbe helped us understand what Science Hack Day is by describing the global Science Hack Day community, and the plan for the next 24 hours.
- Finally, keynote speaker @jenny_molloy described how the expensive and proprietary nature of scientific tools influences not only how science is performed, but also who can perform it. Her talk helped us understand how open source, open hardware, collaboration, and hacking can make science more accessible, transparent, and democratic.
- Team formation started after the talks. Rather than forcing everyone to immediately pick a project, we encouraged people to share ideas and discussion topics, and tour topics until they found a group or an idea they wanted to work with. We encouraged newbies to join teams by starting with big picture ideas, rather than potentially intimidating fully-formed projects. Our goal was to avoid anyone feeling out of their depth and like they had nothing to add - everyone has expertise and creativity to contribute!
- Hackers had 24 hour access to 3D printers, thanks to @alexchally and the Portland State University Science Support Shop.
- Then we went to work.