88 - Manu Prakash: Democritising science

June 30th 2020

This weeks guest, Manu Prakash,  who I met at the Design Indaba earlier this year, did his master’s and PhD in applied physics at MIT before founding the Prakash Lab at Stanford. “Manu works at the molecular scale to literally try and understand how the world really works. 

he is the co-inventor of the Foldscope and co-founder of Foldscope Instruments. Manu is dedicated towards inventing and distributing “frugal science” tools to democratize access to science , diagnostics of deadly diseases like malaria and convening global citizen science communities to tackle planetary scale environmental challenges such as mosquito surveillance or plankton surveillance by citizen sailors mapping the ocean

The Foldscope is an idea that’s more relevant now than ever. We are in my mind seeing the decentralisation of power on so many spheres and this is yet another. As we discuss in our conversation there has been a big loss of trust in science today because the funding system often builds in biases which are hard to overlook. Manu has the goal of democratising science through making it accessible to everyone which I find  a thrilling and powerful idea. You can’t argue against something that is proven by hundreds or thousands of people. The recent months have shown again how polarised and distrustful many people are in science and for good reason, but with people like Manu pioneering projects like Foldscope, there is hope. Listen to our conversation to find out more.