Science in the 21st Century

This post originally appeared on the Software Carpentry website.

I'm at the "Science in the 21st Century" conference at the Perimeter Institute today. There are 32 people in the room right now: 23 are male and 9 are female, but only one is non-Caucasian, which pretty much matches the numbers in the picture from the conference dinner last night. That's about the same M/F ratio I see in science grad courses at U of T, but definitely not the ethnic distribution—wonder why? It can't just be a "seniority effect" — this is a pretty young crowd. We see the same thing at DemoCamp: non-Caucasians are often a majority n sci/tech classes and companies in the Greater Toronto Area, but definitely a minority on Tuesday nights. Thoughts? Michael Nielsen says that SciBarCamp was 50/50...

Beth Noveck: "Designing Digital Institutions: Science in Government 2.0". Talked about crowdsourcing patent review; wonder if U of T would run a grad course for sci/eng students to teach them how to do this (and as a side effect, get them to do some useful patent reviewing)? Might be a good central theme for a tech reading/writing course.

Eric Weinstein: "Sheldon Glashow Owes Me a Dollar". His main point seemed to be that radical thinkers need to find wealthy benefactors (Medicis or Gates) in order to have the freedom to pursue really wild ideas. What I took away from it was how fundamentally the influx of physicists into banking is reshaping the language used by the latter.

You can follow the others in real-time on FriendFeed, or better yet, watch videos of the talks on the Perimeter Institute's site.

Dialogue & Discussion

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