February 7, 2008


Here's something to mark down on the calendar on March 14-16: Toronto's upcoming SciBarCamp!

SciBarCamp is a gathering of scientists, artists, and technologists for a weekend of talks and discussions. It will take place at Hart House at the University of Toronto on the weekend of March 15-16, with an opening reception on the evening of March 14. The goal is to create connections between science, entrepreneurs and local businesses, and arts and culture. The themes are:
  • The edge of science (eg, synthetic biology, quantum gravity, cognitive science)
  • The edge of technology (eg, mobile web, ambient computing, nanotechnology, web 2.0)
  • Science 2.0 (open access, changing models of publication and collaboration, scientific software)
  • Scientific literacy and public engagement (eg, one laptop per child project, policy and science, technology as legislation, enfranchising the poor, the young, the old)
  • The interactions of science, art and culture: Scientists and artists as partners in the continuing evolution of the culture.

In the tradition of BarCamps, otherwise known as "unconferences", (see BarCamp.org for more information), the program is decided by the participants at the beginning of the meeting, in the opening reception. Presentations and discussion topics can be proposed here or on the opening night. SciBarCamp will require active participation; while not everybody will present or lead a discussion, everybody will be expected to contribute substantially - this will help make it a really creative event.

The talks will be informal and interactive; to encourage this, speakers who wish to give PowerPoint presentations will have ten minutes to present, while those without will have twenty minutes. Around half of the time will be dedicated to small group discussions on topics suggested by the participants. The social events and meals will make it easy to meet people from different fields and industries. Our venue, Hart House, is a congenial space with plenty of informal areas to work or talk, and there will be free wireless access throughout.

Our goals are:
  • Igniting new projects, collaborations, business opportunities, and further events.
  • Intellectual stimulation and good conversation.
  • Integrating science into Toronto's cultural, entrepreneurial, and intellectual activities.
  • Prototyping a model that can be easily duplicated elsewhere.

Attendance is free, but there is only space for around 100 people, so please register by sending an email to Jen Dodd (dodd.jen@gmail.com) with your name and contact details. Please include a link to your blog or your organization's webpage that we can display with your name on the participants list at www.SciBarCamp.org.

The list of participants is already looking pretty impressive, with 65 people signed up out of a projected 100. As you can see by the list, I was lucky enough to be invited by the organizers Jen Dodd, Jamie McQuay and Eva Amsen. I guess the old science bloggers network pays off!

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