The Daily is reporting on a revolution. DIY researchers are leaving the academy to take a punk rock approach to science:
Three years ago, [Mackensie] Cowell and his counterpart Jason Bobe, director of community outreach for the Personal Genome Project at Harvard Medical School, founded a movement called Do-It-Yourself Biology, which brings hobbyists to genetics. From its first meeting of 25, the group has grown to have more than 2,000 subscribers online. While the Venters of academic and industrial biotech open new frontiers, a growing segment of enthusiasts and garage biotechnologists are looking to find new applications for their discoveries. They are people like me. In the scientific journals, we’ve been labeled biotech hobbyists, citizen scientists, even biohackers.
Last December, seven of us opened the first community lab, called Genspace. Though it’s a fully functional lab, it has a decidedly hacked-together aesthetic. We built it in a Brooklyn, N.Y., warehouse that was converted into a workspace for architects and designers. At the center of the floor sits a glass cube made of found objects. The walls are created from windows and sliding glass doors saved from demo sites. The lab benches are stainless steel tables salvaged from industrial kitchens. Most of the equipment was donated by a biotech company that downsized during the economic crisis.
We incorporated Genspace as a nonprofit to serve as a shared lab, a nursery for biotech tinkerers.
Genspace isn’t the only one. Community labs are sprouting in other cities, too… like HAM-radio workshops in the ’50s.
[via Keep Your Pebbles]