Earlier this year, Syd Peterson invited me to give a talk at TEDxClaremontColleges. When Syd told me that the theme was “Unexpected Narratives”, I wondered how my lab’s research could possibly fit. To me, it felt like an “eat your broccoli” situation — that packed among some great stories and storytellers they wanted to sneak in some boring science.

But to Syd’s credit, he quickly convinced me that science is the ultimate example storytelling. It is a story that was started centuries ago, a story that is told through generations of scientists with many parallel narratives, and it is a story that has no ending.

Science is also a story that is increasingly difficult for individuals to stay abreast of, because of both its complexity and its volume. There are over one million new biomedical research articles published every year (one every 30 seconds!), so the fraction of the literature that any single scientist can read is tiny. In this talk, I describe our vision for how citizen science can help organize scientific knowledge — including a live demonstration using the TEDx audience!

If you’re interested in participating, please sign up at Mark2Cure.org.