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Friday, September 19, 2014

Bringing science closer by 2030, one endeavor at a time...

Image Credits: Adapted from Wikipedia
and with permission from Endeavorist
I clearly remember the Y2K happening, and wondering what lay ahead, as the century was giving way to another. Suddenly, more than a decade passed by, and we are nearly getting to half past the next. Lots of things happened in that span of time; from world events like ‘September 11’ and ‘Arab spring’, to tech booms that changed the world, like iPhonefacebook and #socialmedia. In the meanwhile, I moved on from lab research to doing things on my own, making stuff on the web for genetics and #genomics-research. Today I see the globe connected in ways more than I could have ever imagined as a grad student. People are already beginning to talk of #2030now as the next milestone.
So that leads me to think...(and you may join me in this thought process). By 2030, what positive things would have happened that we wouldn't have dreamed of by now? What will today's smartphones, apps and video games give way to? How are we going to further harness the power of social media than exchanging quotes from Warren Buffet and his likes (OK! I meant it in jest. I actually admire him). How can we gather more hands and minds to do cool new things? The power of technology is evidencing itself in more ways than I could have imagined. Yet, I see the need to do more relevant things.
One among the next wave I see, is the power of #crowdfunding. Social media is quickly getting to be a thing of the past. Crowdfunding is the future. In case you didn't know what this word meant, just search the internet. You will quickly gather how it represents the power of each cent and dollar, using the reach of social media, from each person around the globe. These efforts are beginning to see many small projects fruitioning to the level where bigger investors can step in. Thanks to the #2012JobsAct, a wider pool of investors could now be able to participate with lesser restrictions. Yes! This needs further fine-tuning, but this is one positive change I see, which is beginning to define the next couple of decades.
What does all of this have to do with Science? Well... science is more than just making new medicines or space toys. It could also be things that are more mundane, yet so relevant. A school teacher somewhere may wish to build a model for his project; another person somewhere in the world might wish to build a well for his village, while another may dream of preserving the local flora and fauna by creating an info-base. A researcher like me could think of making a cool newinteractive app for cancer patients to assist their near and dear in making more informed decisions (something I badly needed not too recently). All these could benefit greatly from the power of crowdfunding. Recently, I chipped in my own couple of dollars to fund a school project called Aera, from Stamford, CT. The project wanted to use high altitude balloons to both study high altitude life and encourage the pursuit of aerospace science. Just that! A dream by two high school students. Nothing big here! However, all these #endeavors go a long way in kindling that scientific temper. All this, through the power of crowdfunding and social media. Not just any crowfunding platform, but something powered by the #endeavorist (I like that word) in each of us.
And, that brings me to science-centric crowdfunding. All of us love carrying out or supporting those cool little projects like what I described above. But, what if I needed something beyond money? An extra pair of hands for a community science project; some mentor-like support from experts whose profiles I already checked out? Suddenly, we are talking of blending social media, crowdfunding and professional networking. This is where I see some trendsetting approaches happening, and very soon too. Like I used the word before, 'Endeavorist' is an emerging platform that aims to blend these experiences together. I expect platforms like these to make a more positive difference around the globe. Now, that might make some Miss World like hopes and statements a few steps closer to reality.
These are just some of my thoughts for #2030now. What are yours?

(c) Copyright - . All rights reserved. No part of this posted material may be used without direct consent from the author - Natarajan Ganesan

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