Hack Day: Science in the City
DATE: Saturday, May 31, 2014
TIME: 10:00 AM-12:00 AM
VENUE: MAGNET, NYU School of Engineering
HOST: Francois Grey
PARTICIPANTS: Luke DuBois, Dana Karwas, Nancy Hechinger, Michael Flowers, Jin Montclare, Julie Hecht


Life in the city is complicated, and sometimes the only way to solve an urban problem is with a hack–a science hack, that is.  Science hacks are low-cost, elegant workarounds that create useful scientific projects.  Science Hack Day is a two-day event that brings together scientists, designers, developers and innovators who will invent, build and test their projects. You can participate in two ways:

* Join a team over the weekend to produce cool Science Hacks and compete for prizes. You can even submit your own pitch for a Science Hack you’d like others to help you with.

* Just stop by for our Citizen Science Explorers Program, and learn how to participate in a range of urban science projects, like swabbing bacteria on the subways to map the microbiome of NYC.

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Physicist, Citizen Science Leader

Francois Grey is a physicist and the head of Citizen Science at NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress. He launched the popular Science and the City hackfest series at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and the first Science Hack Day NYC, which premiered at the World Science Festival in 2013. Grey has also started several volunteer computing or online citizen science projects, including LHC@home, Africa@home, and Asia@home. In 2009, he established the Citizen Cyberscience Centre in Geneva, a global partnership involving CERN (where he spent six years), the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, and the University of Geneva.



R. Luke DuBois is the director of the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, and is on the Board of Directors of the ISSUE Project Room. He holds a doctorate in music composition from Columbia University, and has lectured and taught worldwide on interactive sound and video performance. Exhibitions of his work include the Insitut Valencià d’Art Modern in Spain, Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, Daelim Contemporary Art Museum in Seoul and the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. A major survey of his work, NOW, is on view at the Ringling Museum of Art, with a catalogue published by Scala Art & Heritage Publishers. His records are available on Caipirinha/Sire, Liquid Sky, C74, and Cantaloupe Music.

Technologist, Artist

Dana Karwas is a media artist and educator working in video installation, architecture, live data visualization, and experimental film. She is an Instructor of Integrated Digital Media at NYU’s Polytechnic School of Engineering, where she teaches courses in interactive performance art, interaction design, and project development for interactive media. Her research interests include the view of earth from space as seen through media history. She is also working on a location-based history platform called BLDG BLOK. She has a master’s degree from The Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.


Nancy Hechinger is a faculty member at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunication Program and has a diverse background in education, which includes interactive multimedia production, the development of interactive museum exhibits, and publishing. She was the founding director of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology at the American Museum of Natural History. Hechinger was also a founding partner and the Director of Technology for the Edison Project, and served on the Senior Design Team of Apple’s Multimedia Research Lab. Along with Joanne Wilson and Midori Yasuda, she founded ITP’s Women Entrepreneurs Festival, which is now in its fourth year.


Mike Flowers is CUSP’s first Urban Science Fellow. Flowers works closely with CUSP to identify approaches to advance the use of data analytics in municipal operations and urban policymaking. A recognized leader in promoting the use of civic data, Flowers is a key participant in CUSP projects that will help define the emerging field of urban informatics around the world. Prior to joining CUSP, he was appointed by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as the first ever Chief Analytics Officer and Chief Open Platform Officer. He founded the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics (MODA), groundbreaking initiative in the use of data to make better decisions in public health and city infrastructure. He also ran the implementation of the city’s internationally-recognized Open Data initiative. Before joining the Bloomberg Administration, he was Counsel to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for the 110th and 111th Congress.

Chemical and Biomedical Engineer

Jin Kim Montclare is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, who is performing groundbreaking research in engineering proteins to mimic nature and, in some cases, work better than nature. She works to customize artificial proteins with the aim of targeting human disorders, drug delivery and tissue regeneration as well as create nanomaterials for electronics. Using multidisciplinary expertise in chemistry and genetic engineering, these results have already been realized. Prior to joining NYU-Poly, Montclare was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

Among her many honors and awards are the American Chemical Society PROGRESS /Dreyfus Lectureship, the Dreyfus Special Grants Program Award, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award, the Wechsler Award for Excellence, the Othmer Junior Fellow Award, the National Institute’s of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship.

Canine Researcher, Science Writer

Julie Hecht is a canine researcher and science writer. She manages Alexandra Horowitz’s Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College and has investigated dog olfaction, interspecies play, and theory of mind. Hecht is an Animal Behavior and Comparative Psychology Ph.D. student at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, working with Diana Reiss. Hecht holds a Masters in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare from the University of Edinburgh and conducted research on the “guilty look” with the Family Dog Project in Budapest. In addition to her scholarly articles, she contributed to Domestic Dog Cognition and Behavior: The Scientific Study of Canis familiaris, as well as the ASPCA’s new release, Animal Behavior for Shelter Veterinarians and Staff. Hecht writes Dog Spies, a weekly blog on Scientific American, is a regular contributor to The Bark magazine, and is a co-founder of Do You Believe in Dog?