[Open] Science Sunday — 22-11-09

By Fabiana Kubke 22/11/2009

Roaming through the web, I found great stuff this week that shows the value of an ‘Open’ attitude in science.

The Rutherford Medal, New Zealand’s top science prize, was awarded to Professor Peter Hunter from the Bioengineering Institute. Peter Hunter is also one of the minds behind the Physiome Project,

’…a worldwide public domain effort to provide a computational framework for understanding human and other eukaryotic physiology.’

Peter Hunter is the Director of the Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland, a great model of what can be done in science in New Zealand when great thinkers are given the opportunity to build upon great ideas. You can read more about Peter Hunter’s award here and here.

A great article ’Open Source Science: A revolution from within’ written by Vivian Wagner was published in Linux Insider:

’Just as open source software allows programmers to access the code in order to create new and improved versions of software, open source science gives the scientific community open and easy access to fundamental experiments, methods and data in order to facilitate more research. The goal, ultimately, is better science.’

This type of approach to science is becoming a successful alternative and perhaps one that will be more successful in a world where scientific funding is continuously on the decline. (via @plos on twitter)

Ed Yong from Not Exactly Rocket Science has a wonderful post on the energetic problem that comes with having a large brain, and the genetic changes that may be a tell-tale of the evolution of brain size. And if you are at all interested in the evolution of brain size, Mark Changizi has started an incredibly interesting discussion on the topic. Both the post and the comments make for a great read. (I also like that he opened this discussion up and did not restrict it to academic circles.)

A great video from National Geographic shows the ’supercrocs’ in action:

’Paul Sereno, Paleontologist, University of Chicago: These stubby teeth didnt even touch each other to snare a fish, no, they were hook-like, strong cylinders to grab onto a dinosaurs limb or neck and pull it into the water. We began to understand this animal as a hidden predator of the dinosaurs.’

And related to this a great tweet from @carlzimmer linking to a dinosaur story on 60 minutes.

Ten summer fellowships were awarded to students to take part in the Tamaki Transformation project, and Wednesday marked the celebration of the beginning of what we hope will be a great collaboration between the University of Auckland and the community. I am part of  one of these teams with a project that will be led by Fraser Peat, a Med Student at the University of Auckland, wher we will be looking at issues surrounding science and health related education and literacy in the community. The results of the summer work will be shared with the community in March next year.