Copyright©2008 Antony Williams
It’s over a week since I was at Scifoo and I am finally coming back up for air. As it is I spend every evening at the weekend catching up with email, backlogs of tasks, blogging and so on so take out a whole weekend and with two cross-USA flights and catching-up is becomes suffering. Add to that all of the preparations and deadlines coming for ACS Philadelphia next week and …well, it’s not been pleasant.
So..Scifoo…was it all it was cracked up to me? HELL YES. Loved it. Why?
1) I got to spend hours chatting with Jean-Claude Bradley and Cameron Neylon and aggregate our thoughts about what next in regards to improving support for Open Notebook Science on ChemSpider. It’s clear and it is now just a matter of time and resources but we know what to do.
2) I go to put faces to names of some of the people I have connected with in the blogosphere.
3) I got to chat with Chris Anderson from Wired about provocative statements about data deluges.
4) I finally got it about Second Life when JC Bradley gave a presentation about how he uses the platform. Since then I’ve had a guided tour with JC, adopted the avatar ChemSpider Magic out in the virtual world, have flown around there and, post-ACS, hope to have a bigger presence. (Once I figure out why SL seems to think my processor is running at 1/3 of its clock speed)
5) I met with Paul Stamets and chatted about fungi, about isolated small molecules with “magic properties” and a possibility to participate in some small molecule structure elucidations
6) I got to lead a session about how to make the Internet Structure AND substructure Searchable and to talk not only about the technologies to do so but what it could mean for communication between chemists.
7) I spent a lot of time talking about “just in time” science and “open notebook chemistry” in particular. We talked about wiki-environments and how instant they can be. I JUST watched Michael Phelps take his eighth gold at the Olympics and checked Wikipedia almost immediately after..and it was already updated. WHat would this mean for science when data are flowing from instruments to webpages for all to see. I recently chatted about this with David Leahy from InkSpot.
8) I was happy, once again, to share space with Barend Mons of Wikiproteins. Barend and I met recently for an evening to discuss how ChemSpider and WikiProteins could be meshed together and I thoroughly enjoyed our time together. His energy is infectious, his passion for what the wiki environment could mean for science and our similar view of “stop talking about it, let’s start doing it” gives us a shared platform for evangelizing eScience.
9) Google research data – Google are open to hosting terabytes, or 1000s of terabytes of data. I met with different members of the team, all great guys and truly passionate about their project. ChemSpider has a disk drive and will be sending our structure collection for hosting on Google’s research data repository.
10) The organization of Scifoo was superb. As free as the agenda was,…since it was created on the fly by the attendees…it went off without a hitch. Kudos, thanks and high fives to the organizing committee and support team. Awesome.
11) I enjoyed Googles It-its. Actually..I enjoyed them twice a day. But was burning the calories anyway so no guilt here…
Would I go again? I wish it was still going on! I missed too many great talks and then sat around and listened to the reviews of the meetings. Scifoo…Scifood for the brain.Stumble it!