Playing with the building blocks of life

is wonderful – and you don’t need a Ph.D. to experience it and make a contribution. Even kids get to know how to make the molecule-thingy move within minutes, a simple down-to earth explanation of clashes, voids and rubberbands is sufficient – of course you have to avoid all the fancy terms from biophysics that usually impress (or shut up) the audience. To all those who take themselves too seriously as scientists, check out the story on the structure of a Monkey virus protein and their blog. The fold.it tool is available for all major platforms, and I can only recommend it. Great work! Cool for teaching and communicating the molecular basis of life. It’s still called “beta” but looks pretty stable to me. Maybe you can convince other nerds to spend some time on folding proteins rather than smashing trolls to smithereens in WoW- the fun factor is definitely there, and the science as well. Check out the video on nature “FoldIt: Biology for Gamers” which has a link to the full paper and the related News feature. An afterthought to the previous post on crowd-sourcing: Such massive online-games in science have the capacity not only to combine the CPU/GPU power of a vast number of machines, but also to integrate some of the most advanced pattern recognition algorithms on the planet: your brain.

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