Science in 140 characters

Definitions. Long, rigged, unmovable definitions. Highlighted and underlined. Chanted word-perfect until embedded in the brains of every science student. A new project is using the power of social media to reinvent the dreaded definition. Enter Science 140! This crowdsourcing social media project is aiming to collect ideas, definitions and thoughts about science in 140 characters or less. Contributors must be armed with creativity to bring their explanations to life in a Twitter-style character limit.

The project was aptly conceived on Twitter and is the brainchild of Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin (TV / radio broadcaster and scientist), Humphrey Jones (aka The Frog Blog) and Paul O’Dwyer (Dentist/Science Communicator). I’m delighted to be a curator of the project and will be helping collate the submissions. The idea was inspired by success of other ventures such as Tweet Pie. This is a book of recipes with a limit of 140 characters sourced from Twitter users. We hope by bringing this concept into science it will result in a fun and innovative approach to science communication.

People are invited to submit their short and snappy ideas via Science140.org or on twitter using #Science140. We’re also looking for original graphics and drawings that can be used to describe science topics. Perhaps you can even think of some experiments that would fit the bill. We’ll be putting together the best bits in a book towards the end of the year with all proceeds going to charity. So if you’d like your name in a book, it’s time to get your thinking hat on.

After just 24 hours online, excitement is already building in the twittersphere. There has been hundreds of #Science140 tweets and a lot of support for the project. This is an absolutely brilliant start but it’s only the beginning. To keep up-to-date, follow the project on Twitter @Science140.  

Enough reading… start submitting!

Update 30th April 2012:

The Science 140 team are delighted to announce the Cystic Fibosis Association of Ireland (CFAI) as our partnership charity. We have been working behind the scenes over the past few weeks, ironing out details with the CFAI on how best to target the funds raised and now we can finally confirm the details. As the members of the Science 140 team all have a background in science, the CFAI have agreed that the funds raised during the project will be targeted towards their research projects! A total of four research projects are currently being funded by CFAI in conjunction with the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Medical Research Charities Group (MRCG).