August 31, 2009
Since it’s Monday and none of us really wants to settle in and work yet, I thought I’d share some of my favorite science-themed (and science-ish) computer games with you:
The Eyeballing Game: How well do you perceive shapes? Can you find the center of a circle or complete a parallelogram? The better you are, the lower your score.
Killer Flu: In this game, from the U.K. Clinical Virology Network, you work to spread the flu virus from the countryside to the city, and from town to town. The goal is to infect as many people as possible. It’s a nice demonstration of some of the factors that promote the spread of the flu virus (transportation, schools, offices).
The Great Flu: The goal here is the opposite of that in Killer Flu. A new flu virus has emerged. You’ll need to manage health services worldwide to control the spread of the virus and prevent a pandemic.
Global Protection Squad Game: As project manager for an experiment intended to slow global warming, you’ll travel between the lab, project site and Congress balancing money, influence and science.
Galaxy Zoo 2: It’s not exactly a game, but it’s highly addictive. By classifying real pictures of real galaxies (something done better by humans than computers), you’re helping scientists learn about the universe. Launched in 2007, the project has already had a few discoveries, including a strange blue object called the Voorwerp.
Foldit: This is the only game that you’ll need to download, but it’s worth the effort, both for your own enjoyment and for science. The researchers behind Foldit are trying to figure out if humans fold proteins any better than computers. I haven’t made it out of the training section yet, so for me the answer is probably “no,” but the “game” has me hooked, nonetheless.
And I can’t end this without mentioning PhysicsGames.net, which had dozens of addictive little games, like Assembler:
Sign up for our free email newsletter and receive the best stories from Smithsonian.com each week.