Now entering Eyewire’s Chemical Curiosities!

Eyewire, citizen science, chemistry, Eyewire's Chemical Curiosities, Nurro, Minjeong Kim

Something exciting is bubbling in an Erlenmeyer flask. Not sure what that is, or can’t quite remember from school? Don’t worry! The “something exciting” is precisely how you’ll learn about Erlenmeyer flasks and a whole lot more as Eyewire kicks off its first challenge week of 2023: Chemical Curiosities. While elements (no pun intended) of chemistry have come up many times before in other competitions, never before have we brought the wonders of all chemical sciences under one heading for you to learn about and celebrate together. Honestly, chemistry is such an enormous field that we can’t even possibly cover it all in a week, either!

But we’re sure going to do our best, serving you up a tasty sampler. Many scientists regard chemistry as “the central science” because of how it connects the seemingly abstract, mathematically driven principles of physics with all of the more hands-on, tangible sciences like biology, geology, and so forth. To fully understand all of chemistry’s discoveries, you’d benefit from understanding all the other fields linked to it, but in turn by using chemistry you will also understand all those other fields better. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. No wonder chemistry shares the same etymology as alchemy, the scientific method’s non-scientific but widespread predecessor, whose practitioners also tried their darnedest to understand the whole universe significantly through attempts at studying things that were more or less chemical processes, even though most of the chemical knowledge we have today came about after the scientific revolution.

So, are you ready to strengthen your grounding in the central science, and benefit your neuroscience knowledge as a result? Starting on February 16th, Eyewire’s Chemical Curiosities will kick off, and in addition to learning new things, you’ll have many opportunities for earning bonuses, special badges, and Eyewire swag!

Eyewire, citizen science, Nurro, chemistry, Eyewire's Chemical Curiosities

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

Accuracy Happy Hours

First session runs from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM on Thursday 2/16
Second session runs from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Friday 2/17
Third session runs from 10:00 PM to midnight on Friday 2/17

At so-called “room temperature,” every chemical element or compound has a default phase or state of matter: solid, liquid, gas, plasma, or one of various midway points between these things. However, change the temperature — or other conditions — and you may see something previously solid melting away! In this opening competition event, it’s time to learn about phase transitions and getting the conditions just right for a thing’s phase to change… or stay the same! And meanwhile, trace as accurately as you can, getting your cubes just right in turn.

Swag: Most accurate player completing at least 30 cubes wins the choice of a notebook or a mug, 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.)

Gene Mutation Hunt

Begins at 12:00 AM (midnight) on Saturday 2/18
Ends at 12:00 PM (noon) on Thursday 2/23

When DNA is replicated in the creation of new life, most of the copied version matches the “instructions” for what its genes are supposed to be like. However, there are always at least a few tiny mutations. This next lesson concerns the biochemistry of genetics: what exactly is going on when a gene mutation occurs? Likewise, a previously correct cell on Eyewire has wound up with some adverse mutations (that is, mergers) added on, so here’s your seasonal chance to clear those out!

Swag: The top scoring player wins the choice of a notebook or 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

Elemental Trivia

Begins at 11:00 AM on Sunday 2/19
Continues until 11:00 AM on Tuesday 2/21
Finishes with Power Hour from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Tuesday 2/21

Join our ever knowledgeable trivia bot for a bunch of chemical questions, especially covering aspects of the Periodic Table of the Elements! Neuroscience or other science questions will also feature.

Swag: The top scoring player wins the choice of a notebook or a mug, 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

Acid vs. Base: An Epic Rematch

Begins at 11:00 AM on Monday 2/20
Ends at 11:00 AM on Wednesday 2/22

We had an Acid vs. Base battle several years ago, but now it’s time to go even deeper into the mysteries of pH, what governs it, and how pH affects our daily lives and environment. And of course we’ll see whether Team Base wins again, or whether Eyewire’s not feeling so alkaline anymore.

Swag: The top scoring player on the winning team wins the choice of a notebook or a mug, plus a sticker/magnet set! Second and third place 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.)

Battery-Powered Marathon

Begins at 10:00 AM on Wednesday 2/22
Ends at 10:00 AM on Thursday 2/23

Building on some of our previous lessons, it’s time to tackle electrochemistry. Get excited to learn cool facts about how electricity can affect chemical processes, or how chemical processes can be harnessed to generate electricity! Appropriately, we’ll be throwing a battery-powered light-up marathon cell up on Eyewire. Its battery will last exactly 24 hours for you to finish it as well as finish any other cells online, for points points points!

Swag: The player who has earned the most points during the marathon (not the most cubes) wins the choice of a notebook or a mug, plus a sticker/magnet set! Second and third place will each also win a sticker/magnet set.

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’s Chemical Curiosities Closing Ceremony

Begins at 4:00 PM on Friday 2/24

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 Minjeong Kim