'The Story of How Ordinary People Are Enabling Large Scale Discovery'

FEATURED SPEAKER: Pamela Gay, Ph.D., Astronomer, Assistant Research Professor, Southern Illinois University -- Edwardsville; Co-Host, Astronomy Cast; Team Member, Galaxy Zoo

We live in a new age of technology-driven science, with new instruments and new computers that allow us to collect more information -- more images, more DNA profiles, more environmental sensor data, than ever before. With this flood of information, scientists are no longer able to explore all the images, all the data, on their own, so more and more -- science is turning to the public and requesting help. From the discovery of rare "Green Pea" galaxies to the first sighting in fourteen years of a rare non-spotted ladybug in the Northeastern U.S., ordinary citizens are contributing to discoveries in science.

It is possible to get involved in meaningful science either by going online or by going outside. The Galaxy Zoo project invites people to help astronomers better understand our evolving universe by classifying online galaxy images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Rather be outside? The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a variety of bird counting projects to help track the population of birds around the United States. Starting with the original citizen science projects begun by Benjamin Franklin, astronomer, writer, and podcaster, Pamela Gay, talks about citizens and science, the problem of data flood, and the ways ordinary citizens today can, and do, contribute to the pursuit of scientific discovery.

Filmed: February 10, 2010

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