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What is: SciBarCamb?

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This is a guest post by the SciBarCamb organisers.

SciBarCamb is an annual science ‘unconference’ in Cambridge, UK that takes place on a Friday evening and all day on a Saturday in early Spring. Being an “unconference” means that there are no keynote speakers and no pre-programmed talks, but anyone with an interest in science can come along. On the first evening all participants get together for drinks and to create the programme according to what interests them the most – any attendee can propose a talk, workshop or discussion! The more interesting the people who attend are, the more interesting the unconference will be. This year, the schedule will be put together on April 20, for a full day of activities on April 21.

At last year’s SciBarCamb the participants created a very varied and interesting schedule mixing debates, demos and hands-on activities. There was a discussion about personal genome sequencing, a session about the role of celebrities in science communication and a musicology talk. There was a large focus on open science, including the ideas around citizen science and open access, as well as a workshop where people worked together to create a DNA molecule out of balloons. After the close of the meeting, we took the DNA balloon model to the Eagle pub – the very location where Watson and Crick first announced the structure of DNA in 1953. It was a very “Cambridge” moment.

For this year’s event we’re trying to find a 3D printer, and have been talking to a few people working on interesting interactive research or demonstration projects that they might be able to bring in for people to play with. SciBarCamb is shaped by the enthusiasm and ideas of the participants who sign up, and we’re trying to ensure we let as many people as possible know about it!

Although this is only the second SciBarCamb, there have been SciBarCamp (with a “p”) events around the world since 2008. (More information about the history and the meaning of the name can be found here). BarCamps started in the tech community, and one of their key features is that they can be run by anyone. The same is true for SciBarCamps. For example, two participants of SciBarCamb 2011 returned to Vienna to set up their own SciBarCamp over there.

SciBarCamb in Cambridge is organised by a group of people who wanted to meet others to talk about anything related to science in an informal setting. Some of us work for publishers, others do research, or work for tech companies or learned societies, but we are all organising this in our spare time for free, because it’s the kind of event we wanted to attend and there wasn’t anything quite like it in Cambridge.

Basically, we’d love to have people join us – and yes, that means you. Attending SciBarcamb is only £10 (to help cover the food, drink and venue costs) but if you’d like to support us a bit more, you can also choose to donate £25 and get some freebies as a thank-you. Registration costs are low, thanks to our sponsors: Science, nature.com and Eagle Genomics. Whilst these three companies have been confirmed as SciBarCamb sponsors we could use one or two more, so do get in touch if you think you can help us out.

More information about the event can be found on our website, and tickets (as well as a list of current registrants) are here. You can also find us on Twitter @scibarcamb and follow the #scibarcamb hashtag.

We look forward to seeing you in person on chatting with you online!

======================

Previously in this series:

What is: Open Laboratory 2011
What is: Science Online London
What is: #NYCSciTweetUp
What is: Science Online New York City
What Is: ScienceBlogging.org
What is: The Story Collider
What is: NASW
What is: #SciFund Challenge
What is: Journal of Science Communication
What is: ScienceOnline2012 – and it’s coming soon!
What is: ScienceSeeker.org
What is: ResearchBlogging.org
What is: The Young Australian Skeptics’ Skeptical Blog Anthology





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