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Kickstarter for Science (petridish.org)
101 points by azazo on Mar 12, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments

The allure of Kickstarter, I think, is that the end product is something that a typical layman can enjoy/use/appreciate, e.g. phone stands, documentary films, weird art, etc. Compare and contrast with the following example, from the algal spore research proposal:

"Your support will go towards financing the raw materials to make a device that simulates the types of forces (shear forces) that spores are likely to feel in a boundary layer..."

This is cool and I would like to support this research but this is more like a charity than Kickstarter to me since I don't even have a good understanding of the motivation and the mechanism of this work.

Well, it is a different type of consumption. I notice you can buy the right to have an Ant-species named after you, and be acknowledged in a journal. If I had the dosh/partner, I could understand this. Name the ant species "<partner> is really hot".

Why not use Kickstarter for this? Is there something about Kickstarter that makes it necessary to have a separate site for science? It seems that the audience that uses Kickstarter is the one you want for Petridish.

This makes it easy to find scientific research for those who are specifically looking for it. I'm not very experienced with kickstarter, but I cannot find a "science" category in it. And searching for it will find lots of unrelated stuff. With petridish, by just visiting the website you'll find only scientific relevant projects.

There's plenty of people who believe are taxes are not being properly distributed. Who believe we should put a much bigger enphasis on science. With an easy way to direct people to crowd funded scientific projects. You open the possibility for us to choose to do justice with our own hands. You can take a small amount of money and reserve it to invest in science every month. Just as if it were a tax for science that you're doing out of your own will. It would be very hard to do that on kickstarter because you have to sift through all the entertainment stuff the something, petridish makes this simple.

A few years ago I never imagined that I would help fund scientists to find an exomoon, but now I just did :)

>It seems that the audience that uses Kickstarter is the one you want for Petridish

I just donated to the exomoon project. I've never given Kickstarter the time of day - I find projects there mostly frou-frou. Frou-frou is fine, we all need it once in a while, but I don't want to donate to support it.

The focus on science is compelling. More interesting is the potential for this to evolve into a distributed clearinghouse for research funding.

The consumer perspective of Kickstarter is very important for Kickstarter's business model. Kickstarter isn't just a place for producers to go when they need funding- It's a place where consumers can go to purchase edgy gadgets and goods. Over half of my friends that know about Kickstarter view it specifically to find cool & new products to buy.

By creating a new startup that caters crowd-funding to science experiments, Petridish is capturing a whole new segment of consumers who are specifically looking to fund cool & new science experiments.

Good point

Got $5000 to spare? Get an ant species named in your honor.


This is so awesome! I am not a scientist but I know a quite bit about astrophysics that I have a hunch that you can accurately predict a supernova explosion (of massive stars) by simply knowing how much neutrino the star is emitting and the rate of change. Of course you would need to know its exact mass, and the only way to do that is to figure out its distance which at this point are just rough estimates. Maybe I'll try to raise funding for it one day through this.....

Hey, this looks familiar!


This looks really executed though, best of luck to your project.

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