At the end of every conference comes the onslaught of obligatory summary posts of the top takeaways from the day. You can learn about all the best speakers, who had the most creative slides and catch some great summaries of the more intricate details of the presentations. But this time I thought I’d write something ...
Whilst crowdsourcing has been the darling buzzword of social media - facilitating consumer research, citizen journalism and even contributing to the organisation of political groups, exposes and social change there's another crowdsourcing revolution taking place in the science community.
Possibly just as valuable if not in some ways more so; crowdsourcing has revolutionised scientific research processes, as well as opened further debate on empirical data and ethical research policies. Organisations such as the Citizen Science Alliance and Zooniverse, act as hub sources of global collaborative communities of scientists, researchers, organisations and projects.
Here's some of the more awe-inspiring projects that you can be involved in!
The AEgIS experiment at CERN
According to weak equivalence principle (WEP) all bodies fall at the same acceleration regardless of mass and composition. Now, as you can imagine it's fairly simple to test this when it comes to matter; but not for anti-matter! How awesome would it be to be part of the experiment which seeks to track ejectiles (occurring when antimatter meets matter) to help AEgIS determine how antihydrogen falls to earth!
Although you need take no part in drilling, or blowing them [asteroids] up; this project might as well be Armageddon. It's practically the same thing. Show me the person who does not want to help NASA find killer asteroids and I'll show you, well exactly!
Go now. You don't wanna miss a thing.
Starting in '07 with one citizen science project, Zooniverse is now the hub for collaborative science projects. Connecting amateur enthusiasts, students and the interminably curious with amazing projects in Astrophysics, Climatology, Biology and more the site currently lists over 850,000 people taking part in their featured projects, across the world.
My particular favourite is the Planet Hunters project to help scientists process data recorded from the Keplar spacecraft as it currently stares at a field of stars in the Cygnus constellation, (as you do!)
The Milky Way Project (Also on Zooniverse)
A gamified project for participants to draw/define bubbles and similar objects from Spitzer telescope images, or some quick-fire cloud spotting from Herschel images, The Milky Way project has helped classify over 1MM clouds in our galaxy.
Shark Savers/Sharkscount Appeal
You! Yes, you
Do you dive? Can you count?
If you can answer yes to both of these then why not help count sharks?
Sharks are awe-inspiring creatures far older than us and whilst feared, in truth we kill far more sharks than they kill us. Sharks are under serious threat and Shark Savers are on a mission to help, through knowledge and education.
If you want to relax and save the world at the same time, put the pan pipes down and tune in to WhaleFM. Containing multiple recordings of whale song collaborators are asked to match smaller sounds to the larger source for the best aural match. Marine researchers hope to be able to use the matched sounds to help decode whale song and identify what these mammals are actually 'saying'.
Finalement. Obviously I crowdsourced some of this. So thanks to G1SMD from off the Twitters.