How DIY technologies are democratizing science

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Bird on a Fire
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How DIY technologies are democratizing science

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Mar 08, 2021 2:35 pm

I thought some here might be interested in this piece from Nature on how scientists in poorer countries are building their own instruments, in particular using open-source plans and 3D printers.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03193-5 (free to read)

The gulf between rich and poor is pretty massive here. At the beginning of my masters, at an entirely middling university in France, we were doing a lab tour and got shown the room with the next-gen sequencers and told that we'd be using them next week for a practical, and obviously could plan to use them for our research projects too.

A student from Ethiopia piped up with "Wow! There's only one of those in my country."

It's very sad how little capacity-building the scientific community has managed to achieve in the 50+ years since CP Snow's famous Two Cultures lecture, to give but one example. Seems like new technologies might finally allow the global south to pull itself up by its bootstraps, alongside efforts like Sci Hub to allow people to read the literature.
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Martin Y
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Re: How DIY technologies are democratizing science

Post by Martin Y » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:11 pm

Oh, well, now I want a 3D printer even though I have no idea what I'd do with it. Thanks for posting that. It caused me to remember a guy from Nepal on one of my BBC engineering training courses decades ago. Everything we were doing with e.g. reel to reel tape machines costing multiple thousands had to be reimagined using the cassette machines that his radio studios had. Ingenuity can sometimes be quite a good substitute for budget.

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Grumble
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Re: How DIY technologies are democratizing science

Post by Grumble » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:27 pm

I once created a hardness scan of a weld using an automated microhardness tester and rendered it as a colour map on top of a picture of the weld. Took me a few hours. Some customers came on a tour, one of whom had basically spent his whole phd doing the same thing.
You’ve got no chutzpah, your organisational skills are lacklustre and your timekeeping is abysmal.

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