It’s that time of year again – time for Science Foo Camp (“Sci Foo” for short), and we’re off to Mountain View, California. 

The event is now in its sixth year, an unconference that brings together 200-300 leading scientists, writers, and hackers each summer at Google’s headquarters all linked together by an interest in science. 

The concept of “Foo” originated in 2003, as an experiment by Tim O’Reilly and his colleagues to bring together 200+ “Friends of O’Reilly” Media (which is where the “Foo” in Science “Foo” Camp comes from). He let them create the agenda from start to finish, putting little if any boundaries to what can be discussed. 

The results were astounding, redefining the way we think of cross-disciplinary collaborations today and challenging one’s conventional idea of a “conference”. In 2006, O’Reilly paired up with Nature Publishing Group (and now, Digital Science) and Google to hold the first Science Foo Camp (now known as “Sci Foo”), inviting over 200 leading scientists, technologists, writers and other thought-leaders to gather at the Googleplex for a weekend of unbridled discussion, demonstration and debate. 

 Timo and I are delighted to join the folks at Google and O’Reilly on the organising committee, representing Digital Science and our sister company NPG – where Timo used to run the online division. Sci Foo kicks off tonight, wrapping up this Sunday, and we’re off to Mountain View. Timo and I will also be joined by our Head of Text Mining, Nicko Goncharoff, and Jonathan Gross – founder of BioData, one of our portfolio companies. 

The event may be invitation-only, but keep an eye out online for chatter about the event. The official hashtag is #scifoo and we’ll be doing our best to tweet at @timohannay, @kaitlin-thaney, @digitalsci. You can also check out some of the video coverage from our 2009 and 2010 events put together by our Nature video colleagues, Adam Rutherford and Charlotte Stoddard. 

 And an enormous thank you to our co-organisers Tim O’Reilly and Sara Winge from O’Reilly Media and Cat Allman and Chris Dibona from Google. The event would not be possible without their help.

Are you attending this year’s event? Do come say hello to Timo and myself. We look forward to seeing you there.