Charting New Waters
The excitement of discovery and invention is moving beyond the lab
Cracks are appearing in the scientific culture of the 20th century. Old ways of doing research and disseminating knowledge are being destroyed to be replaced by new ones. Much of scientific research still happens in labs owned by big institutions, but new cultures are emerging. Scientific and technological collaborations, propelled by the rise of the internet, are moving beyond the lab at a rapid pace. This blog aims to capture some of that excitement.
Conventional sources of funding scientific research have taken a hit because of the economic recession. Alternate means to seek funding are being sought. The internet is enabling microphilanthropy to help scientists. Crowdfunding platforms like Petridish and Microryza have been launched to cater to scientific projects only.
These platforms are making scientists explain complex science through engaging videos and regular blog posts. Science communication, once considered a waste of time by those in academia, is being looked upon as an important asset to sway public opinion in favour of supporting science funding.
Small innovators are flourishing too. These crowdfunding platforms are allowing the consumers to choose which products they want, removing the need for mediators like PR and market researchers. With the rise of 3D printing and electronics assembly, anyone can manufacture things. As Chris Anderson says in Makers, “Whereas once every aspiring entrepreneur needed the support of a major manufacturer, now anybody with a smart idea and a little expertise can make their ideas a reality.”
Science enthusiasts are also dabbling in projects in their garages. Free access to the latest scientific developments is enabling these groups challenge historical assumptions. Some are trying to solve locally-relevant problems, while others are driven by curiosity. In some way bringing science back to its roots.
This blog will open a little window into this exciting world. We hope you are keen to look.
– Akshat Rathi, Rayna Stamboliyska, Khalil A. Cassimally & Joel Winston.
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