DIY science: Create and test your own hypothesis
Not every would-be scientist can access the same resources as high-level researchers — particularly a network of study participants. Vineet Pandey, a human-computer interaction researcher and computer science doctoral candidate at UC San Diego, is working to change that. Pandey is the creator of Galileo, a collaborative, community-based online experiment platform.
Galileo helps everyday people, science-minded or less so, to design and run structurally sound experiments, transforming their intuition into fact or fiction. If you’ve ever tried to read between the lines on whether the newest nutrition fad is good for you, or simply want to know if your experience mirrors that of others, Galileo is a fun way to connect with similarly interested peers.
As Pandey’s current collaborators include the American Gut Project and kombucha communities, many open Galileo experiments relate to digestive health. But other users are researching an array of divergent topics, such as whether decreased social media usage may promote optimism, if yoga affects productivity and even the soporific effects of beer.
A big advantage of the online platform is that volunteers can participate from anywhere in the world. This increases the diversity of users’ perspectives, lifestyles and experiences.
“I want to enable people around the world to live more meaningful and fun lives by solving their own problems,” says Pandey. “Building online systems by integrating learning, community and technology gets me closer to this goal. And, it’s fun!”