Citizen science is about embracing differences
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All you need is curiosity

Historian: Question for you my physical friend. While thinking over our post yesterday I wondered: Might citizen science help us embrace difference [link]?

Physicist: Interesting question my historical friend. When I was doing science I especially liked being embraced for what I contributed. Where I came from was not important. In other parts of college and university life it mattered more where I came from than what I contributed.

Historian: In the NSF video on citizen science which we link to below today it is made especially clear that there are no artifical barriers to participation in citizen science. All you need is curiosity. I am surprised though how few people know about citizen science.

Physicist: Yes, that is surprising. Some projects are in the form of popular computer games. All are game-like. Many projects are in life and environmental sciences. There are even projects transcribing old diaries, including artists' diaries. Plenty to choose from. Game-like. No bariers. All you need is curiosity. What more could be better.

NSF citizen science video [link]

Huge catalog of government agency citizen science projects [link]

Zooniverse is also a huge collection of citizen science projects [link].


Citizen science is a way for professional scientists to embrace differences

Historian: A big reason that professional scientists devise projects for participation by non-professionals is to get the benefit of many, many different points of view and many, many different skills sets.

Physicist: It works: Recently RNA folding puzzles were solved in ways surprising the pros. A quantum mechanics puzzle was solved ways the pros thought not possible.

The RNA story [link]

The quantum mechanics story [link]


Chandra X-ray space observatory and Hanny's Voorwerp
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Visible light view of Hanny's Vorwerp

Historian: Best again to quote a bit from the notes included with publication of the video below:


Published on Aug 11, 2016 -- Citizen science projects have done some remarkable things in recent years and those in astronomy are no exception. One of the early success stories of the Galaxy Zoo citizen science project was the discovery of an unusual object in 2007. This object was found by Hanny van Arkel who, at the time, was a school teacher in the Netherlands. Today, the object is known as "Hanny's Voorwerp," which means "Hanny's object" in Dutch.


Physicist: Chandra space X-ray observations give us important views. There is much to learn via these links:

NASA Chandra mission home page [link]

Science at NASA Chandra mission page [link]

Historian: We have mountains of views from long radio waves to super short gamma rays. Citizen scientists crossing all national borders and all sorts of other borders to classify images and discover things are important contributers in this science.

Physicist: Citizen scientists and professional scientists embrace differences and greatly move forward our knowledge of the universe and of ourselves. A lesson for us all.

Chandra video [link]