Science Hack Day SF 2017: collaboration, exploration, curiosity, and yes, even whimsy!

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017
Everyone at the kick-off of Science Hack Day on Saturday morning

2017 marked our 8th annual event and we’re over the moon with just how awesome, positive, and fun it was. I heard from a number of attendees that this was our best one yet, which is quite a high bar to hit given our fantastic events of years past. We broke a new record this year with our number of attendees: 250 in total! 37% were women. The title of this post is a nod to an interview one of our attendees, Flip Tanedo, a theoretical particle physicist, did after the event, saying about Science Hack Day: “This is what science is actually all about: collaboration, exploration, curiosity, and yes, even whimsy.”

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017
Everyone at the conclusion of Science Hack Day on Sunday afternoon

The Hacks
You can browse through all 41 hacks that were created over the weekend (the page also notes who received the coveted SCIENCE medals for each category!).

The Event
This was our third year at GitHub’s awesome space. Dawn Ho from Plethora did an amazing job decking out an entire corner full of hardware with saws, drills and plenty of materials for hacking things together. Like in years past, we hosted a telescope viewing on the roof overnight, and this year added in microscopes to the mix as well, thanks to the San Francisco Microscopical Society. Sunday morning we watched the new Ghostbusters movie while enjoying the delights of an on-site crepe bar to help wake us up.

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017
Microscopes at Science Hack Day

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017
Telescope party at Science Hack Day

Photos + Videos
As always, Matt Biddulph created a great set of photos on Flickr for your browsing pleasure, released under a Creative Commons license. You can also search for #sciencehackday on Twitter, Instagram or Flickr to find many more taken by some of the attendees. Scroll down to see just a small sampling of some of the photos that I love from Matt’s collection!

Thank You
Thank you to all the sponsors: GitHub, Rigetti, IBM and PLOS, as well as our in-kind partners Plethora, Ritual Coffee Roasters, and Samsung NEXT. We absolutely would not be able to have events like this exist without their support. They help make awesome things happen in the world and you should take a minute to click on their names to see what they’re up to.

Hugs and many thanks to the Science Hack Day SF team: Dawn Ho, Jun Axup, Matt Biddulph, Rose Broome and Teon Brooks, along with epic help from Drew Woods and AJ Jimenez from GitHub. Creating this event is a huge team effort and many of us are balancing it while running startups and other large endeavors. Our team of on-the-day volunteers are truly wonderful friends of ours – giving up some of their personal time to help make the event run smoothly!

Thanks also to all who gave lightning talks, donated cool hardware, offered inspiration and provided amazing activities for everyone to enjoy! And THANK YOU to everyone who attended for making Science Hack Day what it is – you rock my universe.

I hope to see many of you again next year. Yay, science!

– Ariel Waldman, lead organizer of Science Hack Day SF

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017
Attendees excited for Science Hack Day to begin!

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017We cheered in thanks to our awesome live captioner, Mirabai, from White Coat Captioning!

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017Science Hack Day volunteers Matt Hancher and Karina van S having fun

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017Attendees excited for the Science Hack Day kick-off

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017Science hacker building an electronic paint-by-numbers kit

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017Grandfather and granddaughter science hacking duo

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017Attendees getting Science Hack Day stylish

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017The largest and most collaborative team at Science Hack Day! Not all pictured.

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017Science Hack Day team showing off their cat-inspired astronomy project

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017Me with our super awesome acrylic LED Science Hack Day badges created by Dawn Ho

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017Science Hack Day team working on a scientifically-accurate alternative to Tarot cards

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017Science Hack Day team with inventive mustaches

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017Science hacker proposing an idea for curbing wildfires 

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2017One of the many awarded teams at Science Hack Day, showing off their medals