Citizen Science in the City

By Eva Lewandowski February 17th, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Comment

unnamed (2)Do you live or work in a city? Well, have we got the projects for YOU! Below, we highlight research projects in need of your help in cities.  Find more projects on SciStarter to do now or bookmark your favorites for later!
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

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Pluto, Planet Nine and Other Backyard Worlds

By Guest February 15th, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Comment

By: Marc J. Kuchner

Eighty-seven years ago, this week, Clyde Tombaugh was poring over a pair of photographic plates, hoping to change the world.  He was staring hard into an arcane device called a blink comparator, which allowed him to rapidly switch from viewing one image to the next. In those days before computers, that was the best tool he had for finding the faint, moving dot he was seeking, a new planet in our solar system.

When Tombaugh discovered Pluto in those photographic plates on February 18, 1930, the news made headlines all around the globe. “In the little cluster of orbs which scampers across the sidereal abyss under the name of the solar system there are, be it known, nine instead of a mere eight, worlds,” said the New York Times. It was a victory for Tombaugh, and for astronomy. Read the rest of this entry »

Flight of the Living Dead

By Guest February 9th, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Comment

By: Ayla Fudala

If you’ve ever seen bees flying around at night, there’s a good chance they’re so-called “ZomBees”—honey bees whose brains are under the control of tiny fly larvae growing inside their bodies.

Yes, you read that correctly.

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Join SciStarter at AAAS Family Science Days in Boston!

By Catherine Hoffman February 9th, 2017 at 11:18 am | Comment

Join the SciStarter, Science Cheerleader and our partners from Discover Magazine and Astronomy Magazine at the free Family Science Days in Boston on February 18th-19th as part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting.

This free event features tons of interactive science exhibits. Come talk with scientists, learn about their jobs, and explore science! SciStarter will help you DO science with citizen science including counting birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count. recording your flu symptoms for Flu Near You, observing clouds to ground-truth NASA satellites with the GLOBE Cloud Observer app, hunting for Backyard Bark Beetles and more! We can’t wait for you to become a citizen scientist with us!

We’ll also be joined by our partners from Science Cheerleader. Watch physics in action when the MIT cheerleaders show off their stunts and bring to life the free ebook, The Science of Cheerleading! Be sure to catch the Science Cheerleader stage show on February 19th at 11:30am, sharp!

Meet Science Cheerleader Hilary and a special guest from the hometown heroes, the New England Patriots Cheerleaders! Learn more about these women below.

Theresa: Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
I graduated from Yale University with a B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. I am currently working at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard as a research associate in the laboratory of Feng Zhang. I am helping to develop a genome-editing platform by harnessing the crazy genome rearrangement pathway found in ciliated protozoa. Genome editing, or the ability to change the DNA code of human cells, allows us to further understand complicated genetic diseases such as cancer and someday could be used in therapeutics. I am currently applying to PhD programs in Biochemistry and Biophysics and I hope to continue contributing to scientific discovery throughout my career. My interest in science developed as a kid through science fair projects such as designing a seashell filter to remove lead contamination from water or harnessing wind energy with a kite power system. As a New England Patriots Cheerleader, I enjoy being engaged in the community and connecting with many different people. It has also allowed me to share my passion for science with kids and to encourage them to follow their own dreams, whatever they may be!

 

Hilary: Medical Oncology
I graduated from Colgate University with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. From there, I went on to do my PhD at Brown University in Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, which I defended in 2016. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School in William Kaelin’s lab. I am researching ways to selectively kill cancer cells based on the differences between cancer cells and normal cells. Currently, I am focusing on kidney cancer. I love my work, and I love getting people excited about it and about science in general (just like I loved getting the crowd excited as a cheerleader at Colgate!). I have been a regional coordinator with Science Cheerleader for almost five years, and one of my favorite things is watching young scientists get excited when they connect science to something they’re passionate about!

Kelly: Computational and Systems Biology

I graduated from Harvard with a degree in Engineering Sciences and I am now working on my PhD in Computational and Systems Biology at MIT.  Being a scientist, and being able to discover things that nobody else in the world knew until me, makes me incredibly happy.  I also like the fact that my research tries to answer “big questions” like understanding how our cells are capable of handling stress like starvation or temperature fluctuations.  Understanding protein folding and interactions in this context is like a big puzzle, and I am so lucky that I get to help fit a tiny piece of the puzzle into the whole. In both cheerleading and science, having passion for what you’re doing and having the self-confidence to do it are hugely important!  When you’re competing, there’s this saying to “leave it all on the mat” – do your best, don’t be afraid, believe that your stunts will hit, and give the performance of your life.  In science, loving what you do and not being afraid to do it are what will allow you to come up with completely new ideas that can reshape what we know about our world.

See you the AAAS Family Science Days in Boston!

Wildlife Disease Citizen Science

By Eva Lewandowski February 2nd, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Comment

Photo: USFWS

Photo: USFWS

Wild animals get sick from parasites, fungi, and other causes just like people and pets do, but they don’t usually have doctors to help them get better. Instead, you can help them with citizen science! Below, we highlight five projects that study wildlife diseases. Find more projects on SciStarter to do now, or bookmark your favorites for later!

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Photo: USGS
ZomBee Watch
Honey bees across North America are being infected by tiny parasites called Zombie Flies; the sick bees abandon their hives and die. Volunteers can capture honey bees and test them for the presence of the parasite.

Photo: Bethann Merkle
Bee Germs
Many bee species nest in the ground, and often we know very little about the diseases that impact them. If you have ground-nesting bees in your area, you can collect a few and send them to researchers to be tested for diseases.

Photo: NPS
Project Monarch Health
A parasite called OE affects monarchs throughout the United States; the disease causes malformations and even death. Volunteers can help track the abundance of this disease by capturing monarchs, painlessly collecting a sample of their scales, and then releasing them.

Photo: SERC
Chesapeake Bay Parasite Project
If you live in the Chesapeake Bay area, you can help survey for an invasive parasite that is infecting native mud crabs. Volunteers are needed for this summer, so use our new bookmark feature to save the project for later!

Photo: USFWS
OK Amphibian Disease Testing
Students and teachers in Oklahoma are needed to catch frogs, swab them for a fungus called chytrid (potentially lethal to frogs), and then safely release them. Request a monitoring kit now to be prepared for the March-June peak monitoring season.


Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!