You Know What’s Cool? $3 million

Original Image from forbes.com

In science it is, anyway. As Eric S. Lander– one of the eleven winners of the first Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences – explains, this is a “staggering” amount of money for a scientist. Lander is a leader of the Human Genome Project, and in an interview quoted in the New York Times he told of how he planned on using the prize money to help pay for new approaches to teaching biology online.

The winners of what is now the world’s richest academic prize for medicine and biology – more than twice the amount of the Nobel Prize – work mostly in areas advancing cancer research, but Cornelia I. Bargmann’s work on nervous system and behaviour was also recognised, as was Dr. Shinya Yamanaka’s groundbreaking research on developing stem cells.

This follows from the establishment of the Fundamental Physics Prize – also worth $3 million – awarded to 9 scientists last July. It’s the brainchild of Russian Billionaire investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Yuri Milner, who himself was a Physics student. Inaugural winners includedAlexei Kitaev,  Maxim Kontsevich, and Ashoke Sen.

Previous winners will help make decisions on future awards, and both prizes – as well as a $100,000 award to honour promising young researchers – will now be awarded annually to people who “think big, take risks and have made a significant impact on our lives.”

But while the physics prize was funded exclusively by Mr Milner, who personally chose the first batch of winners, for the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences he partnered with a select group of Internet tycoons. Apple chairman Arthur D. Levison helped in the selection process while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki – founder of genetics company 23andMe were also involved and donated towards the $33 million prize fund.

Mark Zuckerberg told GigaOM that he believes society needs more hero scientist, researchers and engineers: “The things that we talk about in the media and the things the market rewards has a big influence on what the next generation of people growing up will choose to do and I think it’s really important that a lot of the smartest people go and choose to solve these problems and go into these lines of work.”

In a world obsessed with film, music and sports celebrities, the goal is to “move the needle” of public awareness and give scientists who have significantly contributed to the advancement of human knowledge a chance at the limelight. The foundation’s website will soon be accepting nominations for the next batch of prizes, and anyone can send one in. There are no limits as to age or how many people can share a prize. Also, people can win more than once. “If you’re Einsten,” said Mr Milner, “you will be getting three.”

Do you think that prizes such as the Life Sciences Breakthrough and the Fundamental Physics Prize have the potential to inspire more young people to pursue a scientific career? Is it fair to single out researchers for such large prizes or would it be more productive to fund their area of research directly rather than individuals? Does the fact that most winners are male and from the US represent a problem? What are your thoughts on the researchers who have been recognized so far and their contribution to science? Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment below or joining the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.

Research Gone Social: Leveraging the Web to Advance Scientific Discovery #smwresearch

Social Media Week

Think of all of the ways you connect with others and discover new information online. How many of those platforms do you use for research? How do you keep up with the speed and amount of research that’s being created, discovered, and disseminated? How can we apply the implications of today’s open and real-time research to advance scientific discovery?

As part of Social Media Week, Mendeley is hosting an event to address these questions together. Registration is free. Bring friends. Meet new friends.

Let’s get offline and talk about how you, your research, and the web intersect.

Join us at the Google NY headquarters (foursquare id: 15816790) on Tuesday, February 8th at 3-5pm for “Research Gone Social: Leveraging the Web to Advance Scientific Discovery”, a distributed global event featuring more than 7,500 attendees across 200 events.

Please RSVP here and include the #smwresearch #smw11 #smwnyc hashtag for posts, tweets, pictures, etc.

Speakers include:

Chris Wiggins, HackNY co-founder, Associate Professor of Applied Math at Columbia University
Gabriel Willow
, Urban ecologist, Science & Learning Specialist at theWildLab
Margaret Smith
, Librarian for Physical Sciences at New York University
Jan Reichelt
, Mendeley co-founder

One-on-One with Jessica Hammer, Game Researcher at Columbia University

Jessica Hammer, a Mellon Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Fellow at Columbia University, shares her candid thoughts about Mendeley. Thank you, Jessica, for taking the time to chat! You’ve helped us to kick off what may be a brand new series of Mendeley stories – as told by our users themselves.

Tell us about your research interests
Officially I study psychology, but games, stories, community, race, gender, learning, technology and creativity are all part of my larger research interests. My focus is on investigating how technology interventions influence the way that people think, feel and behave.  Right now, I’m working on how games can help people adopt new ways of thinking about race and gender.

Read More »

Mendeley at LeWeb '09

le web 09

You’ve got some spare time this Wednesday and Thursday? Then come to beautiful Paris, do some Christmas shopping, and meet us at LeWeb ’09**. Yes, great news: Mendeley is one of the 16 finalists** and we are demoing Mendeley on Wednesday (and if we make it into the final-final then also on Thursday).
What is LeWeb ’09? It’s one of the biggest (if not *the* biggest) start-up competition for Europe’s start-ups to present their products and technologies to some of the most influential players in the market, and even Royalty** will be there! The high-profile judges include venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and representatives from companies such as Sun and Microsoft.
Besides having the chance to present Mendeley and show what we are up to, it will be a great event to mingle with other companies and founders and share start-up experiences.
And who knows if we will be lucky enough again to follow up on our success of Plugg.eu’s “Start-up of Year 2009” and TechCrunch Europas “Best Social Innovation Which Benefits Society” awards? At least it will be a lot of fun!
Oh là là!

You’ve got some spare time this Wednesday and Thursday? Then come to beautiful Paris, do some Christmas shopping, and meet us at LeWeb ’09. Yes, great news: Mendeley is one of the 16 finalists and we are demoing Mendeley on Wednesday (and if we make it into the final-final then also on Thursday).

What is LeWeb ’09? It’s one of the biggest (if not the biggest) start-up competition for Europe’s start-ups to present their products and technologies to some of the most influential players in the market, including Royalty! The list of speakers is truly impressive, and the high-profile judges include entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and representatives from companies such as Sun and Microsoft.

Besides having the chance to present Mendeley and show what we are up to, it will be a great event to mingle with other companies and founders and share start-up experiences (and maybe get some free sandwiches).

And who knows, maybe we will be lucky enough to follow up on our success at Plugg.eu’s “Start-up of Year 2009” and TechCrunch Europas “Best Social Innovation Which Benefits Society” awards? At the very least, it will be a lot of fun! Oh là là!

Stanford vs Cambridge: The race is on!

I was doing some research to see which universities have the most Mendeley users, when I thought it might be fun to see how these universities have grown day by day, over the last three months. The chart below shows just that: the top 10 Mendeley universities, and the growth in user base in each of these from August 1st to November 1st.

Watch out Stanford! Cambridge is right behind you…

Top 10 Universities

Channel 4 reports on Mendeley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It has been described as internet dating for inventors” – well, here at Mendeley we didn’t know that we were doing this kind of stuff, but in any case it’s fantastic news that yesterday Channel 4 News, one of UK’s leading news channels, reported about Mendeley! The six minute report names James Dyson, probably Britain’s most famous inventor, and Mendeley as exemplary innovators in UK’s recovering economy.
Besides showing Mendeley in our “tiny office in London” (oh well, start-up life…), Channel 4 News also interviewed Cameron Neylon in front of his mega-super-duper-luxurious four monitor set-up. Thanks Cameron for the nice quotes!
Here’s the write-up and below you will find the video.

“It has been described as internet dating for inventors” – well, here at Mendeley we didn’t know that we were doing this kind of stuff, but in any case it’s fantastic news that yesterday Benjamin Cohen from Channel 4 News, one of the UK’s leading news channels, reported on Mendeley! The three minute report names James Dyson, probably Britain’s most famous inventor, and Mendeley as exemplary innovators in the UK’s recovering economy.

Besides showing Mendeley in our “tiny office in London” (oh well, start-up life…), Channel 4 News also interviewed Dr. Cameron Neylon, Molecular Biologist at the Science and Technologies Facilities Council, and an Open Science advocate, in front of his mega-super-duper-luxurious four monitor set-up. Thanks Cameron for the nice quotes!

Here’s the write-up, the link to the video, and below you will find the video embedded.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f8/1184614595

Top 8 influential Science and Tech Stories of 2009, so far

The year 2009 is halfway through and already we’ve seen some great stuff being published, created, and predicted that could have a major impact in the future. Each of the eight items were chosen because they could influence how every one of us communicates, learns, and lives more so than any other discoveries so far in 2009. What’s that? You’re not a science or techie person? It doesn’t matter, you and everyone else are going to be affected because of the work and ideas brought forth below. So, pay attention. We start with some exclusive, never before public news from NASA, very fitting as today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch.

1. NASA starts project Nebula (new exclusive information) Nope, this isn’t another space probe. This is the government giving a head nod to cloud computing. They’ve wisely hired a few seasoned Internet entrepreneurs to command the mission at NASA Ames and take NASA data into the cloud. That much has been known since May. Last week I had dinner with Chris Kemp (CIO, NASA Ames) and some of the Nebula team. Here’s what Kemp agreed to reveal publicly for the first time:

”NASA collaborates with hundreds of universities, commercial partners, and other federal and international partners. The NASA Nebula cloud computing platform will dramatically increase the efficiency and productivity of these collaborations.”

How it affects you: If you’re a NASA collaborator or want to become one, then get ready. As for every day citizens, you too will reap the rewards of Nebula via the research performed. There’s also been a lot of speculation that Nebula will power data sets other than just NASA’s, such as data.gov. Is this true? Let’s put it this way. Their focus, for now, is on NASA’s data. The rest is my opinion only: imagine the possibilities if we had a national or even international cloud computing platform. Remember that it was originally a similar government project called ARPANET that gave rise to today’s Internet. This could be BIG for science, tech, and planet Earth.

Hurdles to jump: Kemp and team must first get this rolling with NASA before opening it up to outsiders. And it’s government, so there’s a lot of bureaucracy and red tape to cut through to get this done and costs down. President Obama and Vivek Kundra (Federal CIO), if you’re listening, then help this team out by cutting that tape and give them carte blanche funding to get it done.

More info: Official NASA Nebula websiteFollow Nebula on Twitter

World avoided2. The ozone has been saved – sort of

Ever ask yourself what the ozone layer and our planet would look like today if we hadn’t passed some of those pesky environmental laws back in the 1980’s? Researchers, led by Paul Newman, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and elsewhere asked “What would have happened to the ozone layer if chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) had not been regulated in 1987?” This was an important and difficult to answer question, until this year. I reached Dr. Newman for a comment to let us know the most important message from this research:

“If chlorofluorocarbons had not been regulated by the Montreal Protocol, two-thirds of the ozone layer would have been destroyed by the year 2065 with a consequent increase of surface ultraviolet radiation to extreme levels.”

How it affects you: While the conclusions were based on computer models, the importance of environmental policy cannot be overstated, and now we have proof that policy does work. Oh, and your grandkids will get to play outside in 2065. Even by 2020 it would have been pretty nasty without SPF 3 billion lathered on. Check out these neat simulations, such as the image above.

Hurdles to jump: As you may know, we still have a slight problem with a thing called “Global warming.” Lots to do in order to reduce carbon emissions.

More info: Original study

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Ologeez Founder joins Mendeley / Changing the Journal Impact Factor

Exciting news: Jason Hoyt, the founder of Ologeez (a semantic frontend for PubMed), is joining Mendeley! Jason holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from Stanford University. At the moment, he is still based in Palo Alto, but once the visa issues are sorted out, Jason will be joining us here in London as our new Research Director. TechCrunch broke the story today with a headline that made our geek hearts beat faster, comparing us to a Klingon battle cruiser de-cloaking in London.

To get started, Jason wrote up his reasons for joining us, and how Mendeley can help change the Impact Factor. Over to him:

———————————

Changing the Journal Impact Factor

Right, so the first thing I had to ask myself was “Why on earth would I move from San Francisco, leaJason Hoytving behind a cushy life for London, and work for a reference management start-up?” Surely any rational person would find this a bit odd.

Well, I’m not going to answer by talking about how great the team is or how enthusiastic the founders are about improving research, which is certainly all true. Rather, let’s take a real-world example of how the “tech” behind Mendeley is already making a difference with how we view the impact factors of research.

Read More »

Be afraid… it's the Attack of the Zombie Coders!

Yesterday we posted a photo of the Mendeley Team on our roof terrace, trying to jump simultaneously to celebrate our Plugg.eu win:

team-on-roof-jump_small

Always vigilant, our very own Dr. Ridout said he “noticed something creepy” about the photo. Thanks to his keen perception and a few very subtle, barely noticeable image enhancements, he was able to uncover the harrowing truth! Here is the unsettling evidence, not suitable for minors:

attack-of-the-zombie-coders_small

THEY’RE SHUFFLING TO A COMPUTER NEAR YOU!

Explaining the elements in a series of amazing videos

I just came across this, and it’s brilliant. Not least because our name, Mendeley, was partly taken from the discoverer of the periodic table. A team of chemists from the University of Nottingham set out to explain every single element in a brief, but very informative and funny, video: The Periodic Table of Videos.

periodic-table-of-videos

The Hydrogen video, for example, largely consists of a guy named Pete blowing up balloons, and a frizzy-haired scientist explaining the reaction. My favourite moment comes at the end:

Frizzy-haired scientist: Deuterium gas, in all its properties, will be very similar to hydrogen. Of course it is denser, because it has a neutron as well as a proton, but it’s still much lighter than air. So, a deuterium balloon will still float up to the ceiling and make Pete look just as stupid as the hydrogen one.

Camera guy: But I was thinking more about fusing it, now that sounds like a really big explosion we could do at the back!

Frizzy-haired scientist: No, fusion reactors are way beyond what Pete can do. Unless he’s a lot cleverer than I think.

Here’s the video, but I encourage you to check out the entire website:

P.S. The guy who blows things up is Pete Licence, a lecturer in chemistry and chemical engineering, and the frizzy-haired scientist is Martyn Poliakoff, CBE, a research professor at the University of Nottingham.

Via total.pardo.