A letter to Experiment
Today is your birthday.
You've accomplished a lot in a short time. We've shared many new scientific discoveries, amazing memories, and unique opportunities. And, that's all thanks to you.
I know you worry that you're not growing up fast enough. You're certainly not the tallest one in class. But, be thankful that you're not the fattest. You are growing at your own pace. What matters is you're growing.
You're growing faster than we ever dreamed of when we first created you. We knew you had potential, but never like this. Pretty soon you're not going to need us anymore. Maybe because robots will replace us. That is both exciting and scary. You're developing a mind of your own.
In 100 years, when you're still around, we'll be gone. When we're gone remember your values. These aren't values that we taught you. These are values that you taught us, values you taught yourself.
Stay true to the science. Let the truth prevail. Be strict about differentiating between opinions and fact. Reward rigorous science. Keep your integrity.
Be bold. You don't change the world by doing what you're told. If you believe in it, go for it. Give something your full attention or none of it. Do very few things, and do them better than anyone in the universe. Rules don't apply to you.1.
Celebrate. Keep your friends and supporters close, and make each celebration memorable. Cherish the process, not just the discoveries.
The one gift that we hope to leave you with soon is a belief in your own invincibility. Being invincible is impossible, but the belief that you are is.
We enter another year where you'll venture out further into the real world. The real world can be a scary place. It can be unfair. It can be cruel. You're here because you have the power to change that. What you bring is the power of science. The ability to test hypotheses, a framework to show people the truth.
When this is all over and we're gone, you'll help make the world a better place. We are certain of that. Do this by making yourself proud. By making yourself proud, you will by default make others around you proud.
The more you discover the more you'll feel how much remains unknown. This is how we know that you're destined to live forever.
1. Except for safety, the only rule is to return alive.
Approx. 65 MYA
An asteroid visits Earth and wipes out all the dinosaurs on land
Except for birds, thus creating the field of Paleontology.
Jan 1, 1609
The first illustrations of Jupiter's four largest moons
Galileo Galilei describes and illustrates Jupiter's four largest moons for the first time.
Jan 1, 1831
The light bulb
Thomas Edison develops the first commercially practical light bulb.
Sep 28, 1928
Accidentally discovering Penicillin
"When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn't plan to revolutionize all medicine by discovering the world's first antibiotic, or bacteria killer. But I suppose that was exactly what I did." -- Sir Alexander Fleming
Oct 1, 1945
A chocolate bar melting in a pocket leads to the household microwave
Percy Spencer, employed by Raytheon at the time as an engineer, noticed that microwaves from an active radar set he was working on started to melt a candy bar he had in his pocket. This leads to the invention of the microwave.
Mar 19, 1953
Describing the structure of DNA
Working off of Rosalind Franklin's X-ray diffraction images of DNA, Francis Crick writes a letter to his 12 year old son describing the structure of DNA.
Jan 1, 1964
The key to science
Richard Feynman predicts our existence. "If it disagrees with Experiment, it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science."
Jan 1, 1991
Launch of the World Wide Web
CERN releases the World Wide Web developed by Tim Berners-Lee.
Mar 3, 2012
Microryza, Inc. Incorporated in Seattle
Denny signs Microryza, Inc.'s Articles of Incorporation. We're an official company.
Apr 12, 2012
We launch Microryza featuring six researchers at the University of Washington.
Apr 24, 2012
First project funded
Within the first two weeks, the first project is funded. Professor Herbert Sauro starts building analog genetic circuits for interactive learning.
Oct 10, 2012
Feature by Bill Gates
Bill Gates takes notice of Microryza and writes about the project in his personal blog, The Gates Notes. He said "This solution helps close the gap for potential and promising, but unfunded projects."
Oct 22, 2012
Mention in The Economist
The Economist mentions Microryza in an article titled Many Mickle Makes a Muckle.
Nov 19, 2012
Move HQ to East Palo Alto
Cindy and Denny pack all their belongings into Cindy's old Toyota Camry and move the company to the Bay Area.
Mar 12, 2013
Our first birthday!
Mar 25, 2013
Front Page of Reddit
A redditor asks the community, "Why isn't there a Kickstarter for Scientific Research?" Another redditor posts "microryza.com" and the post makes it up to the front page of redfdit.
Apr 22, 2013
Move HQ to a 1 bedroom loft in SOMA, San Francisco
Cindy and Denny move out of their home office in East Palo Alto and move to a 1 bedroom loft in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco. The next four hires will call this loft their home and office. At its peak, six people lived and worked out of this loft.
Jul 7, 2013
Feature on front page of The Seattle Times
Our hometown newspaper, The Seattle Times, features Microryza on the front page.
Feb 13, 2014
Visit Professor Blake Gillespe at Drake Bay in Costa Rica
We visit Professor Blake Gillespe and his family during his sabbatical at Drake's Bay in Costa Rica. He is conducting behavioral studies of humpback whale mothers and calves.
Feb 15, 2014
Rebrand as Experiment
Microryza gets a makeover. We rebrand as Experiment.
Feb 19, 2014
Feature on front page of The Los Angeles Times
Our work is featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times.
Feb 21, 2014
Raised over 1 Million Dogecoin and featured on CNN
We start accepting Dogecoin donations and raise over 1 Million Dogecoin. We throw a party for the Dogecoin community in our loft office. The news gets picked up by CNN.
Mar 2, 2014
Move HQ to 2 bedroom apartment in The Mission District, San Francisco
We are evicted from our 1 bedroom loft for having too many people living there. We move into a 2 bedroom apartment with a rooftop in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. Sometimes we put a mattress on the roof and sleep under the moonlight.
Mar 5, 2014
Al Jazeera visits our our youngest funder
Al Jazeera visits our youngest funder, a 4-year-old who joined Experiment to fund Professor Christian Sidor with her allowance of $5. When we why she backed the project, she said, "Because I wanted to see the bones and help out."
Mar 10, 2014
Feature on front page of WSJ
The Wall Street Journal features one of our projects, the Dicty slime mold race, on the front page of the daily paper.
Mar 12, 2014
Our second birthday! We host a pop-up pi day celebration with our friends at Goldbely at a local bar. We also make a cardboard cutout of Albert Einstein to celebrate his birthday.
Aug 22, 2014
Move HQ to warehouse in The Mission District, San Francisco
This is our first real office. We move into a giant warehouse in the Mission District of San Francisco. All staff finally move their homes out of the office. This would later become a space for many late night band practices.
Aug 26, 2014
$1 Million Milestone
We reach 1 million dollars of pledges on the site.
Nov 14, 2014
Featured on Science Friday
Science Friday interviews Cindy and Experiment alumni Ethan Perlstein about science crowdfunding. After working with us at Experiment, Ethan starts his own biotech startup: Perlara.
Jan 8, 2015
California University Tour
We believe the best way to understand our community is to spend time face to face. We travel by car to California State University Chico, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, among other top Los Angeles institutions.
Jan 18, 2015
Florida University Tour
We tour Florida universities. We start in Miami, do an impromptu night drive out to the Keys, and end the trip at Tallahassee with a visit to Professor Dean Grubbs at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory. Dean is an expert on deep sea sharks.
Jan 22, 2015
Boston University Tour
Boston takes us from Cambridge through Northeastern University and then all the way south to The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, where we meet Cara Fiore. Cara studies corals and is one of the first researchers funded on Experiment to publish in a peer-reviewed journal.
Jan 29, 2015
Pacific Northwest University Tour
We bring it home. We head back to Seattle and make our way north up to Western Washington University, then back down through Corvallis, make a quick stop at Oregon Coast, and call it a trip.
Mar 1, 2015
Pennsylvania University Tour
An institutional partnership with Franklin and Marshall College brings us to Lancaster. We also visit funded researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh. The partnership with Franklin and Marshall would later lead to a larger partnership with 20 invited liberal arts colleges.
Mar 12, 2015
Our third birthday!
Mar 13, 2015
Texas University Tour
We start in Dallas, make our way to Austin for the annual South By South West Conference, snake our way through University of Houston, and as a last minute trip, make it across the Texas Louisiana border for some Waffle House.
Apr 29, 2015
Tree Climbing with Sam Hargrove in Santa Cruz, CA
We're intrigued by a UC Santa Cruz undergrad's research studying lichen in the redwood forest canopies. We ask him to take us tree climbing. He says yes.
May 22, 2015
East Coast University Tour
Researchers at museums are some of our favorites. We visit Professor Evon Hekkala at the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan and then stop by for a quick visit with Jason Schein at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Pennsylvania. Jason Schein and Jason Poole, show us the collection of fossils brough back by Thomas Jefferson. And, we also encouter specimens collected by Lewis and Clark.
May 31, 2015
Nicaragua trip to investigate the proposed Nicaraguan Canal
Concerned about a Chinese billionaire's plans to build a canal through the largest lake in Nicaragua. We buy plane tickets to go investigate. There we meet Professor Jorge Alberto Huete-Perez. We partner to fund a study creating an inventory of the existing species on the island of Ometepe. The canal is later cancelled, so the environment there is safe, for now.
Jul 10, 2015
Yellowstone and Jackson Hole
We meet explorers Dave Lovalvo and Melissa Ryan in Yellowstone National Park. We interview Interpretive Ranger, Harlan Kredit, who has worked in Yellowstone National Park for decades.
Jul 15, 2015
Paleontological Excavation with the Bighorn Basin Dinosaur Project
Our team travels to the Bighorn Basin, a patch of land straddling Montana and Wyoming, in search of dinosaur fossils. We uncover a Triceratops.
Oct 24, 2015
Cure Batten project sets record for $2.5 Million raised
Gordon Gray and his family launch a global campaign to find a cure for an extremely rare and fatal disease affecting both of his daughters. The disease is called Batten's. They set and still hold the record for the campaign that raised the most money on Experiment. One year later they reported that Charlotte, Gordon's oldest daughter, was the first recipient of a novel gene therapy in Columbus, Ohio at Nationwide Children's Hospital. If you don't believe the power of science to produce miracles, read their story.
Jan 26, 2016
Launch of Grant Challenge Program
We launch the first of 27 Grant Challenge Programs. The focus is Marine Mammals.
Feb 2, 2016
Move HQ to New York City
After a good three year run in San Francisco, our team of 5 pick up our belongings and move across the country to New York City. Two Sigma Ventures hosts us in their coworking space in Manhattan. Turns out, March 14th is also Two Sigma Ventures' birthday. Happy Birthday TSV!
Feb 24, 2016
Bird Banding in Sacramento, CA
We fly back to San Francisco for a workaway trip at Lake Tahoe on the border of California and Nevada. While there, we stop by and visit Stan Wright at Stones Lake near Sacramento to learn how to band birds. Stan's bird banding station has been in operation every week since 1996.
Mar 1, 2016
Visit to CERN
We're invited to speak about crowdfunding at the Gathering for Open Science Hardware at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. We spend a week on the CERN campus.
Mar 12, 2016
Our fourth birthday!
May 20, 2016
Ohio University Tour
Having never been to Ohio, we book a plane ticket for a weekend trip. We visit one of our institutional partners, Ohio State University, make it up through Cleveland, then back down through Akron, and end in Columbus.
Jun 1, 2016
SCUBA diving with sharks in Florida
We take a trip with our Sharks, Rays, and Skates Challenge Grant Sponsor, Jeff Trotta, to see what it is like to dive with sharks off the coast of Florida. Jeff has been a SCUBA diver for decades.
Jun 8, 2016
Challenge Grants Retreat in Manhattan
We recruited three of our researchers to serve as Challenge Grant Officers. Jason Schein, Daniel Zurek, and JR Clark join our staff in Manhattan for a debrief of the program. We decide to continue to invest in the Challenge Grant program.
Jul 10, 2016
Paleontological Excavation with the Bighorn Basin Dinosaur Project
Determined to get the Triceratops out of the ground, we join the Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute for year two of the dig. This time we bring a lot more friends with us.
Aug 6, 2016
Fossil collecting trip with Monmouth Amateur Paleontologist's Society, Monmouth County, NJ
Coincidentally at the dig in Montana, we meet Ralph Johnson, the founder of the Monmouth Amateur Paleontologist's Society in New Jersey. Ralph takes us out on a collecting trip in Monmouth county. We return to New York City with tons of marine fossils and fossilized shark teeth. We find two Mosasaur teeth!
Oct 7, 2016
Caving Trip in West Virginia
In conjunction with our Caves Challenge Grant, we travel to West Virginia to explore the Bone-Norman Cave System with the Central New Jersey Grotto. We go in one hole in the ground in pitch black and 8 hours later appear out of a different hole in the ground. We encounter bats, cave crickets, fossilized coral, and may have heard a hodag.
Dec 2, 2016
Carolinas University Tour
It is about time that we take advantage of being on the East Coast. We fly to the research triangle in North Carolina and make our way through almost every major university in North Carolina and South Carolina. We end in Charleston.
Dec 30, 2016
Joshua Tree National Park
Many new species have been sequenced because of the contributions of the Experiment community. One of these species is the Joshua Tree. We visit Joshua Tree National Park to revel in its beauty.
Jan 29, 2017
Hawaii University Tour
We fly to Maui and Oahu to visit the University of Hawaii researchers. In the process, we meet a few baby hammerhead sharks.
Jan 31, 2017
Shark Tagging in Bimini
We make it to Bimini with an expired U.S. passport and spend a week with two dozen shark researchers at the Bimini Biological Field Station. Professor Samuel Gruber shows us how to wrangle a bull shark in the shallow waters and we catch a 3.72 meter long tiger shark on a deep line.
Mar 12, 2017
Our fifth birthday!
Mar 1, 2030
Human sets foot on Mars
We land on Mars.
Feb 1, 2100
The cure for cancer
We discover a cure for cancer.
Mar 12, 2112
We turn one hundred!
Jan 1, 2150
The invention of the time machine
We understand how to travel through time.