Tuesday, August 07, 2007

SciFoo Camp Day 1 - More notes

Well, I am finally getting around to writing up the rest of my impressions of Day 1 at SciFoo camp. For detail on the camp and the outline of Day 1 go here. For those too busy or lazy to go there, SciFoo camp was a 2.5 day un-conference at Google HQ organized by Nature and O'Reilly publishers.

Some more comments on Day 1.
  • Paul Serano and colleagues had a display of dinosaur fossils in the main reception area. They announced that they did not want anyone publishing pictures of the fossils since they were unpublished, following the big trend among paleontologists to not be too open about anything. Funny since Serano also gave some lip service to the idea of openness and sharing --- clearly what he meant was different from what many others meant.
  • I talked to Eugenia Scott for a bit before the sign ups and gave her the lowdown on SciFoo, and encouraged her to have a session on Evolution education, which thankfully she did.
  • The three words I chose for my introduction were "Microbes Rule Planet, " which of course is true.
  • Tim O'Reilly was the grandmaster of introductions. He was running around introducing as many people as he could to others he thought they would find interesting. He introduced me to Jim McBride (who is currently I think working with Howtoons). We had a good conversation about how the best way to attract good mathematicians to something in biology is to make sure the math is really hard (and why in general it is fun to work on something hard).
  • Martha Stewart gave a brief summary of how she made food for Charles Simonyi's space flight and trip to the International Space Station.
  • The food, as always at Google, was quite good.
  • I hope Felice Frankel would be happy that my notes for her talk on "Envisioning Science" are all drawings and no words. Her key point was "Representation clarifies scientific thinking." I could not agree more.

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