Saturday, March 23, 2013

What is MicroscoPARTY?

A MicroscoPARTY is an informal gathering of curious people observing and discussing various specimens under a microscope.

The idea to have an online MicroscoPARTY was born in my head while attending the annual Science-Online Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina in February, 2013.

At the conference a gentleman named Fraser Cain showed the group how he is using Google Hangouts (free video-conferencing available through Google) to point different telescopes around the planet at different windows onto the night sky and have them all stream into a single video chat!

The people at Google were so enthused about Fraser's use of Google Hangouts they sent a team to him to make the video below about his endevor.



Watching this video at Science Online 2013 was a highlight for me. When the image of Saturn comes on the screen goosebumps run up and down my whole body.

Only a few weeks before I attended this conference did I start work as a Postdoctoral Researcher. For my dissertation I strictly worked with proteins. I could never actually see with my eyes the objects of my investigation. So when I fist got to look at plants under the high powered dissecting scope I was like a kid in a candy shop.  I could not believe all the richness I had been missing and I wanted to share that excitement with everyone. And there I was hearing Fraser Cain tell me exactly how I could do it!

Last Friday I put together the first ever MicroscoPARTY that I know of. Though the conversation veered far and wide from the microscope it was still one of the coolest events I have ever participated in. Having a team of minds all sharing their collective knowledge in real time.  Just a taste of what is to come.

Here is the recorded portion of the inaugural MicroscoPARTY



Keep in mind this was a session to work out the interface kinks and to brainstorm about future events. If you want to keep track of future gatherings you can follow us on twitter using the hashtag #MicroscoPARTY or visit our Facebook community page here.  If you have a great idea for a future topic or specimen let me know in the comments.

The next MicroscoPARTY will be held Friday April 12th at 7PM EDT with video available live and recorded on You Tube after the party is over! The topic is Food and Fungus! Help us hype the hyphae!!!

Party on Wayne... Party on Garth.


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