Foldit – help science by playing a game
Foldit is ridiculously addictive.
It is a protein-folding game/simulation, designed and produced collaboratively between the University of Washington’s Computer Science and Engineering and Biochemistry departments. There is a great introduction to the roles of proteins in metabolism and disease, as well as protein folding, on their about page.
Apart from the great software and in-game tutorials in protein structures, players at the highest level may be contributing to medicine! The University and associated labs are setting problems of protein folding for players to solve – each one an important molecule in its own right and some even the key to curing some diseases.
There is a great article about the game on RichardDawkins.net: ‘Computer game’s high score could earn the Nobel prize in medicine.’ There’s even a classic quote from co-developer Prof. David Baker:
“I imagine that there’s a 12-year-old in Indonesia who can see all this in their head.”
Too right. Let’s represent for Indonesia!
Here’s a quick clip of the game in action at a high level:
Download the game here and get playing!