August 21, 2012 @ 4:56 pm
Netflix has a category called "Cerebral Movies," where we found a documentary called Between the Folds, about the art and science of origami. The works shown in that film were so visually stunning that my son and I were laughing out loud, just to see that they were possible. Things that took hundreds of hours to fold. I won't go into the science side of it, beyond saying that there's an bit at the end on how origami might relate to the current Holy Grail of biology -- the folding of proteins. We can produce any amino acid sequence we want now, but we have only the faintest ideas of what 3-d machine that sequence will fold up into. All we can do currently is look at existing proteins and guess. That's what my student spent the summer doing in Colorado.
Here are a couple of interesting projects, the first two to pop up on Google.
http://folding.stanford.edu/English/HomePage is the screensaver version that runs off your computer's unused clock cycles.
http://fold.it/portal/info/science is a crowdsourced gamescience approach, where you're competing with other players. You can even run it on your game console.
There must be others by now. What's your favorite?