Science for the masses

Reddit holds a good old fashioned science fair. Except that it is, of course, online.


Kevin Morris


Published Oct 18, 2011   Updated Jun 3, 2021, 2:06 am CDT

Social news site Reddit has run the gauntlet of bad publicity over the past few weeks.

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But its users are already back to doing the kind of things that made the site famous for all the right reasons.

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The folks behind r/AskScience are launching a reddit-wide science fair — you know, the baking soda volcano conventions of your youth. Except this one will played out pseudonymously on a site with more than 20 million unique visitors a year.

Participants will create and run their own experiments and then present them to the judges and the Reddit masses by Nov. 28. They can’t spend more than $40.

It’s the social news site at its best—a massive user-conceived and run project, all for the greater good (in this case, for science!).

When it’s not running science fairs, r/AskScience section is a kind of ongoing experiment in its own right—this one in social learning. Users submit science questions and real scientists answer them. The section boasts a readership of about 67,000.

The experiments will run through Nov. 28 at which point r/AskScience’s hand-picked judges will choose the winners. Reddit’s staff will donate prizes, though they’re not giving more specific details just yet.

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Oh, and don’t worry: experiments in methamphetamine production are not OK. The subreddit has already banned the use of DEA-controlled substances. So, sorry, wannabe Jesse Pinkmans of the world — you’ll have to stick to messing around in the back of your RV.

Photo by OpenCage

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*First Published: Oct 18, 2011, 11:52 am CDT