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Scientists of the Geek, ... What are you working on?
Lajos
Japan
Hachiouji
Tokyo
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Every now and then a new geeklist asking BGG users about their profession appears. Those lists reveal that quite a few users are involved with scientific research and eduction. Since I'm a rather curious person, I'm always wondering what kind of research all these game-geek-scientists are involved in. The easiest way to find out is to ask. Hence, this geeklist.

So if you're a scientist (someone doing scientific research in whatever kind of field, and of whatever level) then please pick an appropriate game, add it as an item, and explain what you are researching and where.
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26. RPG Item: Template Troves Volume III: Diseases, Parasites & Symbiotes [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Craig Duffy
Scotland
Glasgow
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Currently I'm working on the genetics of African Sleeping Sickness and Nagana, or Human and Animal African Trypanosomiasis to give the diseases their proper name. I'm in the final year of my PhD and my main area of research is investigating the extent of mating in field populations of these parasites.
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27. Board Game: Khet: Eye of Horus Beam Splitter [Average Rating:6.76 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.76 Unranked]
Jeffrey McBeth
United States
Rochester
New York
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Up until about a year ago, I performed research that lead to the creation of new medical instruments to make possible and improve measurements of the anterior chamber of the human eye. Doctors use these instruments to diagnose diseases, prescribe contact lenses, and prepare for cataract and refractive correction surgeries.
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28. Board Game: Mmm ... Brains! [Average Rating:5.38 Overall Rank:9918]
M Garcia
Spain
Telde
Las Palmas
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I am a postdoc at University of Cambridge.

I work on neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease or Alzheimer's disease.
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29. Board Game: Daddy Cool [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:5420]
Erik Henry
United States
Manvel
Texas
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I'm a PhD chemical engineer . . . . and a stay-at-home dad.

For my thesis I studied bimolecular reactions that exhibited multiple steady states and rate oscillations. That is, reactions where -- given a particular temperature, pressure, and gas composition -- you could actually get more than one possible steady state rate, depending on whether you approached that condition from a higher or a lower temperature, and sometimes even rates which would oscillate up and down while at constant conditions. Probably not real practical, but still really interesting (....which probably describes most PhD work). Besides experiments and modeling I also co-authored an extensive review article of these phenomena.

I then worked for a major petro/chemical company, mostly researching ways to use catalysts to improve the production of chemical feedstocks from the refinery. I'd tell you more, but then....

Now I'm a stay-at-home dad and really enjoying it. Boardgames -- which I didn't really discover until I quit working -- help to keep some of those same areas of my brain occupied, now that I'm no longer a practicing scientist.
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30. Board Game: Charmed: The Book of Shadows [Average Rating:3.72 Unranked]
Nick Witchey
United States
Laguna Hills
California
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I have a Ph.D. in particle physics. My research focused on flavor changing neutral currents (FCNC) in charm mesons. In other words, I studied how charm quarks did not change into up quarks in subatomic, two quark particles. My experimental group at Fermilab, E791, collected 50TB of data back in early '90s. The data was stored on 25,000 8mm video cassettes.

Since then, I have become a patent agent. Now, I leverage all the analytical skills for developing patent portfolios for my client. It's quite fun!
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31. Board Game: Accelerator [Average Rating:5.43 Unranked]
Javi Santos
Spain
sevilla
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I work on radiocarbon dating by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry. C14-dating is a very interesting tool for many researchers needing absolute ages, and uses the fact that original content of C14 in natural compounds decreases with time because it is radioactive.
Accelerator Mass Spectrometry is a technique to detect C14 that doesn't use the radioactivity, but recognizes particles attending to their "weight" (that is, C14 is heavier than C13 and C12). It is an ultrasensitive technique allowing us to see one atom C14 among 1x10E15 atoms of carbon. That means going back to about 55000-60000 years.
I don't do much research, but work for an external service. People bring their samples, we prepare them, measure, and give them the age.
Quite interesting job, because I have to be constantly learning not only abour C14 dating and its applications and preparation techniques, but also on the use and maintenance of the accelerator itself.
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32. Board Game: The Quantumgame [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked]
Eric O. LEBIGOT
China
Beijing
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The light emitted by atoms makes tiny waves, called electromagnetic waves. The size of these waves (the wavelength) can be measured extremely precisely, with up to about 14 digits!–this, in fact, provides the most precise measurements and predictions of physics. By comparing theoretical predictions for the wavelengths to experimental measurements, one can either extract information from atoms (such as the size of the nucleus of hydrogen, the proton), or test the predictions of relativity and quantum mechanics–who knows, maybe our most precise theories are incomplete or faulty? In fact, the electrons in any atoms (including those of our body) move quite fast: at least at 1/100 the speed of light (i.e. at 2,000+ miles per second, roughly); thus, one needs to perform calculations that take into account the theory of relativity, in order to precisely predict the "color" (or the wavelength) of the light emitted by atoms. And since atoms are very small, one needs quantum mechanics in order to study them.

So, I both work on the most precise theories of what atoms look like (what "color" of light they can emit), and participate in experiments. More precisely my domain is technically that of Quantum Electrodynamics (the quantum + relativistic theory of electromagnetism), and of X-ray spectroscopy (the measurement of the wavelength of X-rays). I work as a researcher in Paris, working for the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research).
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33. Board Game: Tulipmania 1637 [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:2533]
Anshuman Sinha
United States
college Park
Maryland
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Hi All,

I'm getting a Ph.D. in Finance. My research area is Asset Pricing Theory and Mathematical Economics. I'm working on:

d10-1 Market Selection Hypothesis in Infinite Dimensional Stochastic General Equilibrium Models.

d10-2 Default and Renegotiation in Continuous time models. (with application to Mortgages)

d10-3 A Stochastic Volatility model of Bond Pricing.

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34. Board Game: Leaping Lizards [Average Rating:4.80 Overall Rank:10370]
Davido
United States
California
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Actually this should be:

Chrononauts

since my work was in the past but once a scientist, always a scientist.
My research was Historical Biogeography of Arid-dwelling lizards. I used (then new) molecular techniques to compare DNA samples of lizards across the western United States. I was able to correlate genetic divergences between lizards from different locations with geologic (mountain uplifting and river formation) and ecological (formation of deserts and Pleistocene glacial advances and retreats) events. That's the short story-the long story is the 247 page insomnia cure and shaggy behemoth known as my dissertation

Being a better scientist than salesman (historical trends in lizards doesn't get the attention as say, curing disease or feeding the hungry) and having a truly dysfunctional relationship with my advisor meant that I wasn't able to pursue this as a career.

Since then, I have taught high school math/science and I have continue to use my background (particularly my limited Statistical training) to address questions of student achievement and predicting the efficacy of placement tests and promotion (e.g. do students placed due to parental override of lower placements succeed vs. students placed by exam scores-answer the former don't, the latter sometimes). Also, looked at placement of Algebra students into Geometry and discovered that a lot of "C" students were socially promoted and destined for failure. In both cases, my findings, simple as they were, led to tighter standards for placement and promotion. I've also looked at error rates in editing/accepting math items under a variety of editorial review policies to help determine the most efficient use of scant editorial resources.

I hope to land a job with the local state dept. of Education, doing more of these analyses on a larger scale-particularly with increased focus on high stakes testing (I have actually spent 5 years writing/editing such tests). The state gets a massive amount of data that I'd love to examine and crunch So yeah, I 'cheated' in that I don't currently "do research", once a scientist, always a scientist.

For my non-science 'careers' see:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/51272/item/1181817#ite...
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35. Board Game: The Pollution Game [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Luis Olcese
Argentina
Córdoba
Córdoba
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I work at the National University of Córdoba (Argentina), doing research in air pollution models at local and global scale. I spent three years at the University of Michigan in a postdoc.
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36. Board Game: Ethics [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
David Hunter
United Kingdom
Newcastle-under-Lyme
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Well my main research area is whether you lot ought to be allowed to keep yours devil...

Seriously though, I'm a philosopher by training, but I work in the field of applied ethics, lecturing in the Centre for Professional Ethics at Keele University http://www.keele.ac.uk/depts/pk/. We teach 5 MA's (Medical Ethics & Law, Ethics of Cancer & Palliative Care, Ethics of Social Work, Ethics of Policing and Criminal Justice, Research Ethics) and a Professional Doctorate in Medical Ethics which keeps us busy and off the streets.

My main area of research interest is the inter-relation between political philosophy and ethics, this plays out into a specific interest in the distribution of health care resources, public health ethics and in particular research ethics which is what I am working on at the moment.

However I'm not so interested in what research is ethical - instead I'm more interested in what kind of system (if any) does a good job of regulating research, and how, given significant disagreement about normative claims, would we tell.
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37. Board Game: Mind over Matter [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Taylor Hughes
United States
Urbana
Illinois
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I am a theoretical physicist working in condensed matter physics. People in this field work on everything from transistors to exotic phases of matter such as supercondcutors. I personally work on some applied subjects which are closely related to nano-technology, as well as some more abstract things.

For the latter, we are trying to find materials which are analogs for exotic environments that have only been predicted to exist in our universe. When people typically think about abstract physics their mind is drawn to the fundamental nature of the universe. However, it turns out that many of the high-energy phenomena people find interesting can be cloned in a table-top experiement if you know the correct material at which to look. As an example, the axion particle was proposed a few decades ago but has never been discovered. However, there has been recent work in my field which suggests that exact analogs of the axions can be studied by looking at a insulator material.
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38. Board Game: Second that Emotion [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Jonathan Sykes
United Kingdom
Edinburgh
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I am director of the eMotionLab, where we investigate how play technologies elicit emotion, and how to harness that power and thus persuade people to change their behaviour.

We have a number of projects on the go at any one time. I am currently interviewing PhD students who are looking to use play as a tool to engage older people in their physiotherapy.
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39. Board Game: Quackery: The Game of Medieval Medicine [Average Rating:4.06 Unranked]
Chris Jones
United Kingdom
Sheffield
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I grew human skin! Beat than one. I gained a BSc in Microbial Biotechnology from Liverpool University before studying at Strafford Polytechnic where I obtained a MSc in Biochemical Immunology.

My first job was to grow tumour cells (from cervical carsinoma to melanoma), present my thesis topic on Varicella zoster (Chickenpox) and help to develop and trial a 2 part autologous mechanism for growing and grafting human skin.

Split skin grafts are the standard mechanism; slicing halfway down (so the wound can regrow new skin) and cross meshing the slice over a burn or wide wound. Cosmetic results are poor; mechanical strength is weak and with high surface area burns you rarely have enough 'good' skin to work with. The technique I was progressing would mean that the amount of skin was theoretically unlimited, thus many burns patients, who would have been left doped up on opiates, may survive in the future.

After that I spent a short term in an Alzheimers lab looking at the basis of inflammation and lesion formation in the brain them moved in to industry and now teaching. I am still shackled to a mark book as we speak and (on average) enjoy it greatly.

Cool Fact: The Elephant man skeleton is in the hospital museum where I worked. 5GG for the hospital, his name and the condition he suffered from (careful on the last one!).
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40. Board Game: Einstein [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Moshe Callen
Israel
Jerusalem
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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I have two lines of research, one that is easier to fund and one that is to me more personally interesting. The connection between the two is applying in novel contexts the mathematical apparatus of geometrodynamics (i.e., general relativity). The bread and butter line of research takes a field theoretical approach to hydrodynamics in order to be able to quantitatively estimate error in the models, eliminate averaging and deal with scaling effects. The favorite line of research takes a geometrodynamic approach to standard model quantum field theory and applies in primarily in the context of quantum cosmology.
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41. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:96]
Harold Jansen
Canada
Lethbridge
Alberta
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I'm a political scientist and my current research is on Canadian political party finance. Starting in 2004, Canadian political parties were prohibited from accepting donations from corporations and trade unions and a limit was placed on the amounts individuals can donate to parties. In place of that money, political parties were given a state subsidy paid about every three months, based on their vote totals in the previous election. The research I've been doing has looked at the impact this has had on party and electoral competition in Canada, but also on political party organization and structure.
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42. Board Game: Go to the Head of the Class [Average Rating:4.51 Overall Rank:10945]
Jaime Lawrence
Australia
Sydney
New South Wales
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Jingle Bells, Cthanta Smells, I will kick his ass
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Because I am an awesome Crab with style, charm and class, oh!
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While I hold a science degree and worked for a short time in a microbiology lab, I am now happily retired from scientifc pursuits and teach history and literature at High School level (7 - 12, which means Junior, Middle and Senior high to you people with an odd system). My passions all combine of course whenever Doctor Who is mentioned and the synthesis of science and art that show embodies rocks my world.
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43. Board Game: Organic Soup [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:6478]
carlos hernandez
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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R&D using Organic Chemistry to create new products in disease and weed control with ultra low use rate.
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44. Board Game: Emira [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:3036]
Patrick Ross
United States
Winfield
Kansas
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I am a behavioral ecologist that focuses on sexual selection and the evolution of mate choice. My research subjects have included guppies, beetles, and humans. Following my Ph.D. work, I ended up at a small liberal arts college with a focus on teaching. My teaching and administrative duties keep me from doing much research anymore and I devote the rest of my summer time off to family.

I am considering a game based on mate choice....we'll see if gets much beyond the pencil and paper stage.
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45. Board Game: GUBS: A Game of Wit and Luck [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:3251]
Patrick Leacock
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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I am a mycologist that studies the diversity and ecology of macro-fungi, that is mushrooms and other large fungi (brackets, puffballs, etc.). This involves wit to be able to deduce their identities, and luck because they are unpredictable in their appearance. We are documenting the fungi of different habitat types and looking at the effects of woodland restoration (positive) and nitrogen pollution (negative) on mushroom populations. Fungi are very integral members of plant communities, both as recyclers and nutrient providers and energy (sugar) conduits between plants. As Henrik pointed out (see item 16) there are many fungi remaining to be described. Of the 900 species that we have in the Chicago region, several common ones need names.

I am working on some ideas for a mushroom ecology game. Meanwhile, I look forward to playing any games designed by my nephew Matt.

My assistant and I have been playing Gubs and EcoFluxx with summer interns during lunch break when doing field work. In the winter we play board games over the lunch hour and have a gaming group at work on Friday's prior to happy hour. People have been bringing their friends. We had a 9 person game of Carcassonne recently. Most have not played any type of eurogame before and have a lot of fun. Some get inspired to visit a game store to get their own copy. Could say board gaming is mushrooming.
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46. Board Game: My First Brain Quest Fruit Dominoes [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Marshall Miller
United States
Malden
Massachusetts
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Currently I'm a PHD student at Tufts University. My research falls into the field of nutritional neuroscience. I conduct studies that explore how different foods effect the brain, particularly the aging brain.
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47. Board Game: Attack of the Mutants! [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:5875]
Marc P
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Oh Hi Marc
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I'm a cell and molecular biologist by training. My current projects are as follows:

High risk, no reward -or- Side Projects
-Directed molecular evolution using a particular strain of E. coli that allows (hopefully) a universal platform for the purifying selection step of the process. A boring, proof-of-principle technology project that I hope to pawn off on an unsuspecting undergrad.

-Killing cancer cells by rapid mutagenesis: instead of racing against the rate of mutation with cancer treatment, this is attempting to push it along faster to induce lethal or synthetic lethal random mutations.

Bread and Butter
I just began work on characterizing mutations in the catalytic site of one of the two proteins that are responsible for replicating all of the DNA in cells. Some of this is going to be screening for viability and dysfunction in yeast (an organism that I've been wanting to work with for years), some will be in vitro functional assays with purified protein, some will be in silico modeling against the recently published crystal structure, and, hopefully, we will collaborate with some kinetics experts to do some pre-steady state analysis of interesting mutants.

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48. Board Game: Identity Crisis [Average Rating:3.83 Unranked]
Teddy C
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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I am a social psychologist, and my area is mental health and adolescent identity formation. Generally, I am concerned with the modeling the effects of contexts (e.g. school) on depression or anxiety of adolescents and how these models differ among adolescents of differing identities (e.g. ethnicity).
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49. Board Game: Charlie Brown's All Stars [Average Rating:5.89 Unranked]
Andy Beaton
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I have a cunning plan
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At a lower level than most of the people in this list, I'm an observer of variable stars for the American Association of Variable Star Observers (the AAVSO). On clear nights, my telescope and I head out to do visual estimates of the brightness of known variable stars, which I then report to the AAVSO to be added to light curves dating back to 1911. The data is then used by professional scientists studying variable stars. I've been involved in projects calibrating instruments on the Hubble Telescope, and in monitoring cataclysmic variables for Hubble study as soon as they go into outburst. It's an accessible way for anyone with the desire to get involved in science to do so. See http://www.aavso.org for more details.
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50. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:23]
Matthew Stevenson
United States
California
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One of the most important tools we have in the modern study of cosmology is the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The CMB is the radiative afterglow of the big bang, and its temperature anisotropies have allowed us to constrain the fundamental characteristics of our Universe to an unprecedented degree of precision.

The new push is to study the polarization of the CMB. A particular signature of the polarization (called the B-mode) is predicted to be caused by the influence of primordial gravitational waves on the early Universe, those waves themselves originating during the Universe's hypothesized inflationary period (aka, the "bang" of the big bang).

As it happens, there's a whole bunch of Universe between us and the CMB. To study it with the precision required to find the B-mode, we'll need a complete understanding of all the intervening "foregrounds." These foregrounds include such things as: the Milky Way galaxy, every other galaxy in the Universe, galaxy clusters, the gravitational lensing due to the Universe's large-scale structure, and just about everything else in the Universe.

My job is to focus on just one of these foregrounds: the low-frequency radio emission from the Milky Way galaxy. I'm a PhD student working on a project to map the polarized, Galactic synchrotron emission across the entire sky. Besides being essential for future cosmological experiments, we'll also get to do a great, big pile of science on the interstellar medium of the Milky Way galaxy.

Here's our website:
http://www.astro.caltech.edu/cbass
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