Smelling chocolate increases theta brainwaves. Racial differences trace back to the genetic variation among humans. Quantum computers get built and vanished every other day. Trees are blooming earlier and storms are getting stronger. Election results can be accurately forecasted from the polls. And, the expansion of the universe is accelerating.
Did you believe all the statements above? Are you a believer? Do you believe the ones you like to believe? Or do you believe depending on where you read the statements and by whom? Is science becoming a new religion? Even if you are not sure whether the expansion of the universe is accelerating, you sure agree that the expansion of science horizons is. Scientist or not, it is extremely difficult to keep up with all the latest findings of science.
I am an astronomer. I study the Universe in the largest scales. I know most of what scientists know about galaxies. I know a bit about quantum physics. I know very little about genetics. And I know almost nothing about political science. Yet, I am interested in all of these branches of science and curious to learn more. But it’s not just about having an interest—whether or not you care about the melting of the polar ice caps, you should be aware of it.
I am a scientist. In a nutshell, this means I gather and analyze data and report my findings. How do I report? I pay a third party to publish the work in a journal. How do you get to read it? You pay that third party to access it. Just one other scientist (the referee, who didn’t get paid) has checked the work. How do you know I didn’t make a mistake? (We are all humans after all.) In all likelihood, you don’t. Brilliant system, no?
Back in the day, when carrier pigeons were the best communication tool, maybe there was a need for a publisher, but not today. Back in the day, maybe there were very few experts in a given scientific field who could check your work, but not today. Back in the day, after a discovery you would run naked in the streets yelling Ureka; same today! But jokes aside, the current system is clearly outdated. So what if there were a better, more modern way of doing things?
A couple of months back I wondered, what if there was a mobile app that solved these problems? What if there was a place where scientists in different disciplines could report about their work and get feedback on the go from all scientists in their field? What if I could easily learn what questions bother neuroscientists these days? What if I could know about the newest machine learning techniques that computer scientists have developed and apply them to my work in astronomy? What if there was a search system in the app where I could look for “young hot stars” and find not the Hollywood ones, but the celestial bodies I was actually looking for? Sometimes, if you wish for something to exist and it doesn’t, you should try to make it yourself. That’s where Ureka comes in.
What we are releasing today is our answer to those questions. Ureka is a hub for scientific discussions, a go-to encyclopedia for the most recent scientific results, a directory of scientist portfolios, and a place for scientists and laymen alike to ask questions and have them answered. The Ureka you see today is the result of countless hours of hard work and a lot of learning along the way. Building a new product from scratch—having a vision and bringing it to life—hasn’t been easy, but I’m proud of the result. I hope that you too can find Ureka to be a valuable tool, scientist or not.
Let’s share, learn, and grow science together.