The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions. Claude Lévi-Strauss

Breaking ground with a new idea brings up a lot questions – which is good because that means you care. In the following paragraphs we collected the questions we’ve been asked so far. Got more? Don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

Questions for…

Haven’t found an answer? get in touch: SHD|at|opentechschool|dot|org


What is a hack day or hackathon?

This is an event that brings together developers, designers, makers and anyone with interest and ideas in the same physical space for a brief but intense period of collaboration, hacking, and building. Often these will be centered on a theme, such as a programming language or an application, and can include a hardware component.

What is Science Hack Day?

It is a 48 hour hackathon (yes, we know it is longer than a day) where the focus of the event is science, with all of its facets. The first Science Hack Day was organized in San Francisco in 2010 by Ariel Waldman, and has since been held in many many many cities around the world.

Who is organizing Science Hack Day Berlin?

We all are interested volunteers from the worlds of science, communication, data, and art. We want to have fun with science and make it a more open thing for everybody. We seriously think that helping the ivory tower open up to real collaboration with other disciplines is a great thing all round: better science, more awesomeness in our culture, and more possibilities to tackle the big challenges facing our world.

How do I join?

Watch this space. We will announce registration late summer/early autumn. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the announcement direct to your inbox.

How many people do we expect?

We typically have around 80 participants.


Who may attend?

Everybody can attend the Science Hack Day. You don’t need to have a particular background in science or IT, but if you have- awesome! The most important thing is that you are excited about scientific experiments and that you ambitious to build or develop something in a team.

What equipment will be provided?

We will provide equipment (3D printer, laser cutter, electronics station, workshop tools) and some hardware you can work with – for example: Arduino, Raspberry Pi. Anything else you need can likely be found at Modulor or Conrad.

What should I bring?

Think of all the tools and materials, which might be useful or inspirational during the hackathon. Any additional usual scientific equipment. Of course your computer. After the initial brainstorm on Friday, you will have the opportunity to bring anything in your closet that might be handy for the rest of the weekend.

Basic needs: Is there free food and Wi-Fi?

Of course there will be free Wi-Fi. We also provide meals, snacks and drinks during the whole weekend.

Can we stay overnight?

You can’t really sleep over but if you keep on hacking deep into the night that might be just fine.

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Are there constraints on what my pitch can be about?

Basically, we do not want to put constraints on the topic of your pitch. However, you should be aware of the basic conditions. We expect a bunch of designers, programmers and scientist of different fields to expect so you might be able to find experts for many questions. The time frame is given and should be taken into account. We expect teams of about three but not more than five science fans. Anyhow, maybe someone has a clever idea to fix a problem you think is very complex.

How do I find people to work on my idea?

In fact, that is one of the goals of Science Hack Day. We will start with the pitches at Friday evening. After that there will be plenty of time to find other people to join you, start a discussion, and build a team. The hacking will start on Saturday morning with the teams that hopefully have assembled by then.

How should I prepare?

As we want to support spontaneous ideas you don’t need to prepare at all. But if you already have some great idea or piece of equipment you want to use you can already pre-pitch it in our etherpad ahead of Science Hack Day (you’ll get a link to that when you register), start discussing possibilities and finding collaborators. Then, for the proper pitch on Friday evening, be aware that there’s only about 2 minutes presentation time for each pitch. So you should use that time wisely to motivate enough attendees to work on your project. If you want to use slides get in touch with us – 1-2 slides as a pdf or google slide deck should be ok.

What is the result of ideas, intellectual property?

This event is in the spirit of an open community so be prepared that we cannot grant you exclusive rights on any outcome of Science Hack Day. Certainly, we will publish the results at out website. We strongly encourage everyone to use open licenses and open source documentation.






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Who will attend?

We expect around 80 attendees, including scientist, developers, designers, makers and people who are excited about scientific experiments.

Q: How can I contribute?

If you want become a sponsor of the science hack day please have a look at our information for sponsors to find out how you can contribute event and get in touch with us.

Q: Why should I contribute?

New and exciting things happen at the intersection between different fields. The Science Hack Day is a step towards a new paradigm of scientific practice. You will be supporting a unique event that promotes this collaboration.
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