Ariel Waldman at Illinois: Hacker's Guide to the Galaxy


Image for Ariel Waldman Talk

Abstract | Biography

Ariel Waldman PhotoMarch 1 2016 4PM Alice Campbell Alumni Center Ballroom 601 S. Lincoln Ave. Urbana IL 4-5:00 Lecture and questions, introduction by John Wilkin, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries 5-6:00 Reception


Don't panic: the next big science revolution isn't just for asteroid miners or CERN scientists. There’s an emerging movement towards "massively multiplayer science" - empowering people from a variety of different backgrounds to be explorers and contributors to new scientific discoveries and methods. Just as science fiction has often shown the way to future inventions, the act of hacking is now generating prototypes that act as footholds for future explorations, discoveries and epiphanies in science. Leagues of multidisciplinary science hackers are mashing up ideas, mediums, industries and people to create crude yet cunning devices that change how we experience science. From the collisions of subatomic particles to the explosions of supernovas, this presentation takes you on an unusual trip through the weird, whimsical and surprisingly useful ways to explore the galaxy.


Ariel Waldman makes “massively multiplayer science”, instigating unusual collaborations that spark clever creations for science and space exploration.

Ariel is the founder of, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration, and the global director of Science Hack Day, a 20-countries-and-growing grassroots endeavor to make things with science. She is the author of What’s It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who’ve Been There (Chronicle Books, 2016). Ariel is also the co-author of a congressionally-requested National Academy of Sciences study on the future of human spaceflight. She sits on the council for NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), a program that nurtures radical, sci-fi-esque ideas that could transform future space missions. In 2013, Ariel received an honor from the White House for being a Champion of Change in citizen science.

For her work on Science Hack Day, Ariel has been awarded grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. In 2015, she launched, a catalog of the active human-made machines that freckle our solar system and dot our galaxy. She authored a white paper on Democratized Science Instrumentation that was presented in 2012 to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Previously, Ariel worked at NASA’s CoLab program whose mission was to connect communities inside and outside NASA to collaborate.

Although her home base is in San Francisco, Ariel loves to travel across the globe to speak to a variety of audiences and work on fun projects. She has keynoted DARPA’s 100 Year Starship Symposium and O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention (OSCON), as well as appeared on the SyFy channel as part of their Let’s Imagine Greater campaign. Her work with Science Hack Day has taken her to Colombia, China, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Russia and South Africa to help grow budding science enthusiast communities.

Visit Ariel Waldman's website:

Ariel Waldman's visit brought to you by a generous gift to the Unversity Library's Scholarly Commons from the  Division of Intercollegiate Athletics