Announcing… Eyewire: Over the Rainbow!

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Are you ready to fly over the rainbow? Seven years ago, one of Eyewire’s earliest challenge weeks was The Wizard of Neuropia, themed around The Wizard of Oz. This month, we’re going to explore the rainbow again, but in a more literal way: we’re going to enter the mysterious land of light.

Light is how we see. Light feeds the plants that then feed us, let us build shelters, and more. Light can become the difference between life and death. Light can be harnessed for aesthetic purposes to become art that enriches our world.

But although we’ve learned how to make light ourselves, once upon a time our planet was usually just lit from very far away, with light traveling millions of miles from a particular star, or from that star’s light bouncing off the surface of our moon. And light is straight-up weird. Light is made of photons, which are both particles and waveforms (more on that later!); and in a vacuum, photons move at a characteristic constant speed of 299,792,458 meters per second. So far, this appears to be the fastest that anything in the universe can move, and it’s upon this premise that most modern physics depends. Meanwhile, our retinal cells have evolved to react chemically with photon stimuli and translate this into an electrical signal for our brains to interpret. How does any of this wild stuff work?

Starting on February 17th, we’ll explore these mysteries as best we can. In Eyewire: Over the Rainbow, you’ll get to learn about general optics, vision science, electromagnetism, color theory, astrophysics, quantum physics, and more, all while scooping up a heap of bonuses and badges! We are also pleased to announce that despite our earlier announcement about having no swag prizes in 2022, there in fact will be swag this year, thanks partly to a generous anonymous donation. Read on for all the details!

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*All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST).*

Accuracy Happy Hours

First session runs from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM on Thursday 2/17
Second session runs from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Friday 2/18
Third session runs from 10:00 PM to midnight on Friday 2/18

There’s a lot about light that we can’t perfectly quantify, or that we can’t yet explain. However, we can still measure and calculate many natural behaviors of visible light, allowing us to accurately predict what light will do under the right circumstances. Sit down for a few mini-lessons and then see if that ultra-satisfying spirit of accuracy transfers to your Eyewire gameplay!

Swag: Most accurate player completing at least 30 cubes wins a notebook, plus a sticker/magnet set! Second and third place will each also win a sticker/magnet set.

1st Place Accuracy – 10,000 points
2nd Place Accuracy – 8,000 points
3rd Place Accuracy – 6,000 points
Achieve 95% Accuracy – 5,000 points
Achieve 90% Accuracy – 3,000 points
Achieve 80% Accuracy – 2,000 points
1,000 points for anyone under 80% who still plays at least 30 cubes in either slot.
(These bonus thresholds are non-cumulative, i.e. they will not combine. If you earn 3rd place, for instance, and presumably got over 95% accuracy, you still earn a 6,000 point bonus, not 11,000.)


Begins at 12:00 AM (midnight) on Saturday 2/19
Ends at 12:00 PM (noon) on Thursday 2/24

Our eyes receive impossible amounts of information as soon as they open. How can they possibly sort out signal from noise? In this vision science lesson, you’ll find out how the mammalian eye and nervous system have evolved to focus on specific things and recognize important patterns. Then, with this in mind, we have a Hunt cell for you: can your own eyes and brain focus well enough to realize where mergers are hidden?

Swag: The top scoring player will win a mug, plus a sticker/magnet set! Second and third place will each also win a sticker/magnet set.

Each merger found – 1,000 points
7,500 additional points if all 12 are found
200 point bonus available on each merger to the player whose guess is closest
250 point bonus available to any player who guesses within 10 voxels of a merger

Electromagnetic Trivia

Begins at 11:00 AM on Sunday 2/20
Continues until 11:00 AM on Tuesday 2/22
Finishes with Power Hour from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Tuesday 2/22

Visible light is just a tiny portion of the entire electromagnetic radiation spectrum. So our trivia bot will test you on eeeeeeeeverything there is to know about all EM waves — not just the colors of the rainbow but also infrared and ultraviolet frequencies, radio waves, X-rays, and more! As usual there will be some neuroscience and general science questions, too.

Swag: The top scoring player will win a tote bag, plus a sticker/magnet set! Second and third place will each also win a sticker/magnet set.

For every question —
1st to answer – 300 points
2nd to answer – 200 points
3rd to answer – 100 points

Primary vs. Secondary Colors

Begins at 11:00 AM on Monday 2/21
Ends at 11:00 AM on Wednesday 2/23

When dealing with light, the three primary colors are red, green, and blue. These can each be blended with each other with different balances in order to produce the secondary colors of yellow, cyan, and magenta, or any other color in between, as well as plain white light. Choose your team based on your favorite color: is it one of the pure primaries, or do you have to do some blending to create it?

Swag: The top scoring player on the winning team wins a t-shirt, plus a sticker/magnet set! Second and third place on the winning team will each also win a sticker/magnet set.

Starting Lineup – top 3 players on each team, who earn 75% of their score in bonus points
All Other Players – earn 50% of their score in bonus points
Winning Team – 20,000 additional points
Each Team’s MVP – 5,000 additional points
(The winning team is determined by average points per player, with 2x weight given to Starting Lineup players. To qualify for any of the above bonuses or affect the team score, players must earn a minimum baseline of 2,000 points.)

Lightspeed Marathon

Begins at 10:00 AM on Wednesday 2/23
Ends at 10:00 AM on Thursday 2/24

For this last part of going over the rainbow, we’re going to explore light on a subatomic level. What is a photon, really? What role does it play in quantum mechanics? Why does light move so fast? And meanwhile, it’s also time for all Eyewirers to trace at the speed of light!

Swag: Anyone in the top 25% of participants will be entered into a raffle, for which the five prizes include a wall clock, a pillow (new for this year!), and three sticker/magnet sets.

One live cell will be designated the “marathon cell,” with a 3x points multiplier!
Cube count bonuses: 3500 points per cube traced.
SC bonuses are doubled on all cells.
Every 3 SCs counts for 1 cube toward naming eligibility & per-cell completion bonus.
50 cubes = 5,000 points per completed cell, plus rights to vote on a new name for the marathon cell
200 cubes = 10,000 points per completed cell, plus rights to nominate a new name for the marathon cell

Eyewire: Over the Rainbow Closing Ceremony

Begins at 4:00 PM on Friday 2/25

Come celebrate the end of this competition, where admins will recognize everyone’s achievements. As always, we will include a round of promotions for Scouts, Scythes, Mystics, Moderators, and Mentors. If you’d like a promotion, you can request them here.

Artwork by Daniela Gamba