December 10th was the big day. NYC will never be the same. Let me elaborate: after two years of blood, sweat, and labor (only a few tears), we finally announced the birth of Genspace to the world. The preparation leading to the big day was typical of the ragtag crew of Genspace: chaotic, intense, lasting way past most people’s bedtime, but it mysteriously worked out in the end.
Everyone showed up: art students, scientists, writers, and long lost faces from two years ago. Turns out two tables filled to the brim with food, wine and beer weren’t quite enough to accommodate the bio-curious crowd in the city (not to confuse our counterpart in SF). It’s almost funny how we worried that no one would turn up.
The entire laboratory was strewn with Christmas lights. A light box illuminated an algae bioreactor at the space. Screens were set up to show videos of microscopic organisms, and on our desktop in the study a live feed of strawberry tissue streamed from a $12 USB microscope in the lab. Even our neighbor Chris pulled out all the stops, demonstrating his ‘animal sense’ contraption for people to try.
We still have ways to go, however. We need to reach out to the population of the city and show them that science is accessible. We need to work ever harder to break the walls surrounding learning and practice of science, and we need to create ever more ingenious, useful, and beautiful things.
The Genspace grand opening isn’t about the past two years, it’s about the future. Let’s bring back the romance between the sciences and the public. I am proud to be a founding member of the first community biotech laboratory in NYC.
Who knows? Maybe we really will end up changing the world for the better.