Street Smart Chicago

411: The Science of Open Source

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As it gains popularity, open-source software is changing the meaning of production and public use. But Sacha De’Angeli thinks that applying open-source ideas to science can solve problems often overlooked by big scientific research organizations.

“It is a great opportunity for citizen science and for bringing DIY and the open-software mentality to the world of science,” De’Angeli says.

The first experiment will take place this Sunday, September 12, at 4pm at Chicago Open Science’s inaugural meeting at Pumping Station: One, 3354 North Elston, Chicago’s only hackerspace and collaborative environment, which acts as a community workshop.

So far, the plans for the group are open to evolution. But what De’Angeli thinks would be interesting to look at are problems that aren’t profitable enough for larger corporations, such as niche questions. Because a problem might affect only a small number of people, it becomes a lower priority for big companies.

De’Angeli plans on making this a monthly event, welcoming people from all walks of the science life, from those who were trained in science but may have lost touch with it through their career, to people who want to get back to their science roots, or just people who are curious and interested in learning more about science.

“I’ll really just wait and see, if people want to observe or if there are people who are excited about getting together and really doing things,” De’Angeli says. (Lindsey Kratochwill)

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