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SCC2011 - Science and Games - Martha Henson


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Martha Henson's presentation about Science Communication and Games from the 2011 Science Communication Conference

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SCC2011 - Science and Games - Martha Henson

  1. 1. Gaming science, scientific games
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Experimentation </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>FUN </li></ul>Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  3. 3. State of play <ul><li>Games are big business, near ubiquitous and demographically diverse. Not to mention ancient. </li></ul><ul><li>Publicly traded games companies worth over $100bn </li></ul><ul><li>More spent now on games than films </li></ul><ul><li>Well over 50% of both men and women play games online </li></ul><ul><li>Games are the second most heavily used internet sector after social networks and blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Majority of app store downoads are games (maybe 80%) </li></ul>Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  4. 4. Pandemic Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  5. 5. Launchball Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  6. 6. Poker Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  7. 7. Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  8. 8. (Channel 4 in association with the Wellcome Trust) <ul><li>Found the target audience - teenagers </li></ul><ul><li>Minigames achieved a large audience – 2 million plays for Sneeze on Miniclip </li></ul><ul><li>Positive feedback from teachers and participants on educational themes. </li></ul><ul><li>“ We learn from books, for exams, formulas and stuff, what we learnt on routes is more to do with real life” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I have learnt lots considering I have no direct interest in science and don’t take any sciences at A Level” </li></ul>Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  9. 9. High Tea Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  10. 10. High Tea Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  11. 11. High Tea findings <ul><li>Reached a huge, largely new audience (3 million gameplays and counting from all over the world) </li></ul><ul><li>Comments show that people liked having a factual basis for the game and learning whilst having fun. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How come I only understood what I’d seen in a museum after playing this game? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wait a minute, IM DOING MATH!!! (sic) </li></ul></ul></ul>Gaming Science, Scientific Games <ul><li>Over 50% of survey respondents said they would go on to research the opium wars after playing High Tea. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Foldit <ul><li>Protein folding game </li></ul><ul><li>Testing the hypothesis that “human’s pattern-recognition and puzzle-solving abilities make them more efficient than existing computer programs at pattern folding task” </li></ul><ul><li>If true “can teach human strategies to computers and fold proteins faster than ever”. </li></ul>Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  13. 13. Foldit Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  14. 14. Foldit <ul><li>2 years later… </li></ul><ul><li>Players resolved the structure of a monkey virus protein which had been unsolved for 15 years in 2 weeks of play </li></ul><ul><li>Designed a new protein </li></ul><ul><li>Shown that “Foldit players can outperform known computational methods” </li></ul><ul><li>Massively increased the number of world experts in protein science </li></ul>Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  15. 15. And more, and more… <ul><li>Coral Cross – an alternative reality game about flu pandemic preparedness </li></ul><ul><li>Signtific Lab – crowdsourcing future forecasts </li></ul><ul><li>Fate of the World – climate science </li></ul><ul><li>Wolfquest – wolf ecology </li></ul><ul><li>Vanished – collaboration with real scientists, learning scientific techniques, collecting data etc. </li></ul>Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  16. 16. A cautionary tale Gaming Science, Scientific Games
  17. 17. A cautionary tale Gaming Science, Scientific Games <ul><li>Pocket Frogs </li></ul><ul><li>Eggs go directly to frogs </li></ul>
  18. 18. A cautionary tale Gaming Science, Scientific Games <ul><li>Meant to be about evolution </li></ul><ul><li>Ended up with a mechanism more like intelligent design </li></ul>