sprout: Reclaiming science as a creative craft | Opensource.com

sprout: Reclaiming science as a creative craft

Posted 11 Feb 2011 by 

Ruth Suehle (Red Hat)
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In a house not far from Davis Square in Somerville, MA, just outside of Boston, there's a garage full of equipment, a library full of books, and a group of people full of passion. They're called sprout.

The goal of sprout is to create a "community college," which I put in quotes because they mean it in a much more literal sense, not the traditional sense. They mean a place of learning, fueled by a community that is equally driven to learn and to share knowledge. Or as they put it, "We're united by a passion to reclaim science as a richly personal and creative craft."

One of my favorite features at sprout is their spaghetti dinners around various themes. When I visited, they had just held one on Gender and Fashion. Other topics have included Haiti, What Now? and Performance and Public Space. To me, the spaghetti dinners really show the spirit of sprout--an intersection of creativity and science, art and hardware. For example, the photo at the top of this post, with an accordion a few feet away from tools, is titled on Flickr, "peter buchak's presentation on the fluid mechanics of accordion reeds." You can look through photos from other spaghetti dinners on sprout's Flickr stream.

Listen to Alec Resnick, one of the founders, explain more about sprout:


Open Source Champion

This is great to see especially when we have a real declining interests in the sciences in this country. The North Carolina Museum of Life & Science put something similar together called, Periodic Tables, where anyone in the community is invited to local area restaurants to get together in a casual setting to talk about the sciences. Its a fun community event.

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Open Source Evangelist

Our local hacerspace (CT Hackerspace) is currently more focused on the technology, but I am seeing other hackerspaces becoming less technologically-orientated and more creativity-focused!

It seems there is a slowly growing renaissance of desperately needed creativitly in this day and age.

Funny thing is my wife, who is very not technological, should be considered a hacker in a number of other non-technical subjects. Maybe that's why I love her so ;)

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Open Minded

Regarding the comment on hackerspaces, this is happening somewhat at HacDC, the Washington DC hackerspace as well.

Also, the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences just held its inaugural DC Art Science Evening Rendezvous (DASER). Much of the audience seemed unaware of the activities of hackerspaces, and the Open Souce communities. During the Q & A, I was able to remedy that a bit. :-) Based on the reception to my comment, it looks like both topics may be covered at a future DASER event.

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Ruth Suehle leads community marketing for Red Hat's Open Source and Standards team, including the Fedora Project and is the moderator of the Life channel here on opensource.com. She's co-author of Raspberry Pi Hacks