Science used to be so simple.
Physics involved dropping lead weights, and swinging pendulums. Chemistry meant mixing two liquids and measuring the heat rise or change in colour. Biology was about identifying leaves and insects.
But that has all changed.
Physicists now use the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to generate vast quantities of data to model how the universe is constructed. Chemists study molecular structures through crystallography through complex computer transformations. But perhaps the biggest change has come in biology.
Geneticists are working out the details of the building blocks of life through sequencing genes. Epidemiologists are working out how disease spreads using computer models of millions of people. Neuroscientists are embarking on projects to recreate the brain using computer networks.
Computers and the Big Data they generate are radically changing science.
The I’m a Scientist Big Data season in 2014 will explore how computers are used in real science today. We’ll look at the science and scientists at the cutting edge of Big Data and we’ll explore some of the issues that Big Data presents to society.
This year we will run 6 zones for school students to talk with scientists to see how bioscience is done with computers in 2014. We’ll create a debate kit on the wider issues that the data collected by science has on society and through both online and live events we’ll give the general public the chance to question scientists, ethicists and policy-makers about the modern methods of bioscience.
The Big Data Season is being supported by BBSRC, TGAC, Wellcome Trust, STFC, Marie Curie Fellowships, and we are looking for more funders. Please contact Shane McCracken via email or phone on 01225 326892.
If you are a researcher who would like to take part in this season of events please sign up.