ScienceRewired – Looking at science from new digital perspectives

Posted by Jesse Shore for Joanne Sinclair:

ScienceRewired was launched at the Science Exchange in Adelaide on 11th October 2012. The Science Exchange was a fantastic venue with great facilities. The building is a beautiful mix of old and new – huge screens in the auditorium (perfect for Skype presentations) and glorious stained glass windows. It was an inspiring place to spend a day in.

As a Science Communicator from the Parenting Research Centre in Melbourne I was looking for interesting examples of science engagement and I wasn’t disappointed.

Highlights included presentations about citizen science platforms such as the Atlas of Living Australia, Skynet and Foldit. I was particularly impressed with the way these organisations encouraged and rewarded participants and communicated results to them. They did this in various ways such as with leader boards, digital trophies and video blogs. In one case some Foldit players who helped to create a novel protein structure were senior authors on a paper in Nature.

Another highlight was hearing about the Serval project from Paul Gardner-Stephen. Paul’s team is working on free open source software that helps mobile phones talk to each other independently, without mobile networks and infrastructure. This has huge implications for disaster relief and remote communities. I found this very interesting as the Parenting Research Centre has projects where we are working with indigenous communities in remote areas.

There are two things that I’d like in a future event;

  1. A session or event on using Twitter, blogs, live streaming etc. for professional development and networking. It seems like there’s massive potential for this, especially as science communicators often work alone. As a Twitter newbie, I’d love a science communicator to guide me around Twitter and show me who they follow. This would give me practical ideas and tips that I could use in my work.
  2. Discussion on whether using digital platforms works, that is, is it working to engage people and change their behaviour? Also, how to measure and research what works.

Joanne Sinclair won a free ticket to attend ScienceRewired, courtesy of the ASC. The Parenting Research Centre kindly covered travel and accommodation costs.

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About Jesse Shore

Jesse Shore is passionate about engaging the community with science and in looking for ways to weave together the arts and sciences. He has been developing science based exhibitions and events since 1984, and was President of the Australian Science Communicators from 2010-2012. His business, Prismatic Sciences, produced five travelling exhibitions for the Royal Australian Chemical Institute for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry and he manages the ongoing national tour. He previously worked at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney as an exhibition project leader and Senior Curator of sciences. While at the museum he was one of the founders of the Ultimo Science Festival, a major National Science Week activity. He is currently collaborating with an artist to create artworks which have a science slant.

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