We’re stoked that the Genome Laser will be broadcasting at London’s biggest tech seasonal shindig - Silicon Christmas - at Bloomsbury Ballroom on 14th December.
Burning Man was the perfect place for Genome Laser to fire its first genomes - a unique annual event in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada where thousands of creative minds come together for a week to build a city and make their wildest ideas come to life in the form of incredible structure, art, music and performance.
Silicon Christmas is a gathering of some of the most entrepreneurial, creative and pioneering minds in technology, which makes is an ideal next event and community to unleash the Genome Laser.
If you’re wondering what’s next for Genome Laser, all we can say for now is that we had a blast and were so blown away by the incredible response to the Burning Man project that we felt that the journey must continue, and must continue to be purpose-driven.
Some background from the Silicon Christmas website:
WE TAKE 900 DIGITAL DISRUPTERS, CREATIVE CONSTRUCTORS, HUSTLER ENTREPRENEURS, SAVVY-INVESTORS AND MEDIA INSIDERS OFFLINE FOR ONE WONDERFUL FREE NIGHT OF BOOZE, BEATS, AND BACCHANALIAN REVELRY.
OUR ATTENDEES WORK HARD ALL YEAR ROUND TO MAKE LONDON ONE OF THE HOTTEST TECH CITIES IN THE WORLD. BOOTSTRAPPED OR FUNDED, LARGE OR SMALL — THEY CUT THE DEALS, WRITE THE CODE, DESIGN THE UIS AND ALL-ROUND HUSTLE THEIR BUTTS OFF TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.
SILICON CHRISTMAS IS WHERE WE BRING THEM ALL TOGETHER, ONCE A YEAR, TO SAY THANKS. OUR COMMITMENT TO THEM IS TO KEEP THIS ALMIGHTY PARTY FREE SO THEY CAN FOCUS ON HAVING A THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES.
I’m beyond excited to be able to share some intergalactic news: this afternoon I received a signed consent from a 98-year-old gentleman called Dr Charles Townes, for his genome to be sequenced for the Genome Laser art project at Burning Man.
In addition to inventing the laser in 1958, and winning the Nobel Prize in 1964, Charles’ accomplishments (listed below) are mind blowing and it is a honour for him to be associated with this project. About Genome Laser, Charles replied with one of his signature remarks: “I am delighted to see the laser useful”.
"How on Earth did this happen?", I hear you asking. Taran Singh contacted me from Berkeley via an incredible story published by Liat Clarke in Wired, which also featured in Huffington Post. Taran is making a film about Charles and his wife Frances titled "Townes: Life in the Universe".
"I want to collaborate because it is the right thing to do. I can collect compelling footage for my movie, advance Charles’ legacy, and make people aware of the enormous contribution to humanity he has made (and not just with the laser). Genome Laser is a creative and ambitious project and I am grateful to be a part of it." - Taran Singh
Taran will be camping at Ooligan Alley (2&B) and is planning on capturing amazing footage of the Genome Laser in action at Aspire (aka Control Tower), an epic 60ft tall interactive structure complete with an enormous 60w laser, being constructed by the International Arts Megacrew.
Dr Jonathan Rothberg, who developed high-speed genome sequencing, moved it to a “chip” and can sequence a person in a few hours now with new machines, was on board when the project was just a wild idea. I’m proud that Genome Laser project is bringing together two of the most pioneering scientists in their respective fields of genomics and lasers (among others!), whose contributions towards medicine are continuing to find new applications and improve millions of lives.
Huge thanks to the awesome people behind Aspire (Control Tower) for supporting this project: in particular Diarmaid “Irish” Horken, Beave Beaverstock, and Matthew “Skippy” Raffery who is the legendary laser guy behind UV99 Laser which supplies most of the biggest laser shows at Burning Man, such as Ooligan Alley and Opulent Temple. Aspire will be located at Aspire Village, which is a combination of camps including IDEATE and Playa Skool. The Space Conference, and TEDxBlackRockCity which has an appropriate theme “paradigm shifts”, will also be hosted at Aspire Village.
Finally, behind the scenes the Genome Laser tech team has been crushing it thanks to Vincent Rebers, Michael Raasch, Neil Mendoza and Tom Bull. More technical updates are due very soon - meanwhile I strongly encourage fearless software developers and laser hackers to check out the latest build of QLT_GenomeLaser (Quality Laser Time) on Github.
Alex Housley (aka Fastly)
Charles Townes’ accomplishments (aside from inventing the laser and winning a Nobel Prize):