Science Foo Camp (SciFoo) is the jam-packed, scientific “unconference” that brings together 250 people from around the world for the coolest scientific retreat around to share exciting new ideas and discuss timely topics. The Sci Foo format creates a unique opportunity to explore topics that transcends traditional boundaries, and discussions are endless across the two-day event. Organized by O’Reilly Media, Google, and Digital Science and supported by Nature, the event was held at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California July 22-24, 2016.
The invitation-only event is designed bring scientists with diverse backgrounds in science and technology together to encourage collaboration across disciplines. The crowd included writers, policy makers, educators, researchers and entrepreneurs.
“Although I am not sure how I got invited,” said Todd McDevitt, senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes, “I feel very fortunate to have met so many interesting, creative and intelligent people. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.”
The “unconference” label is attributed to the lack of any predetermined agenda. On the first evening the attendees take to a white board and collaboratively create a program with few boundaries as to what topics will be discussed. Attendees then become session leaders and facilitate conversations encouraging blue-sky ideas that stimulate group discussions.
“Stepping outside of your day-to-day world may sound intimidating, but it is really exhilarating,” said McDevitt. “It forces you to expand your thinking about various topics, which is important to do from time to time.”
SciFoo was pioneered by O’Reilly Media, a leading book publisher and event organizer in the field of information technology. The first SciFoo was held in 2003. O'Reilly asks attendees to nominate new and interesting people to be invited to future camps.