Author Archive

Finding the Common Culture: Uniting Science and the Humanities in Citizen Science

By July 18th, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Comment

By Brad Mehlenbacher (North Carolina State University) and Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher (University of Waterloo)

Through citizen science projects, the Bodleian Library is improving access to their music collections, the Smithsonian is transcribing important documents, and researchers at the University of Oxford are transcribing Ancient Greek text from Greco-Roman Egypt. Although these projects represent promising examples of the humanities and social sciences, citizen science projects in these fields still aren’t all that common.

Humanities and social sciences (HSS) include disciplines such as language studies, classics, comparative literature, history, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, economics, education, political science, and so on. These disciplines vary considerably in their intellectual traditions, methods, and disciplinary norms, but there are also common issues, questions, and challenges each discipline shares with the others. In fact, HSS and STEM disciplines also share common issues, questions, and challenges. Read the rest of this entry »

Stall Catchers citizen science game to host its first international “Catchathon”

By July 10th, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Comment

If you’re familiar with “hackathons” – intense hacking marathons, or “mapathons” – mapping parties commonly held by mappers worldwide, the term “catchathon” might be starting to make some sense by now. If not – read on. There’s a marathon of Alzheimer’s citizen science coming on July 22nd, and you can be part of it! Read the rest of this entry »

Capturing the Total Solar Eclipse, One Photo at a Time

By June 21st, 2017 at 9:00 am | Comment

By: Alexei V. Filippenko and Hugh Hudson

Diagram of a solar eclipse. Credit: Google

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will trace a shadow over a narrow band of the United States from Oregon to South Carolina.  And if you own a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera*, you can become a part of scientific history by joining hundreds of other photographers to make the first crowdsourced image archive of a total solar eclipse from coast to coast.

The “Eclipse Megamovie” project aims to capture many types of solar phenomena with images taken along the path of totality of the August 21 eclipse by over 1,000 trained volunteers, as well as photos from many more members of the general public through the use of smartphones and simple cameras. This first-of-its-kind citizen science project is a partnership between Google, UC Berkeley, and many others. Our primary goal is to collect as much imagery as possible and to hold it in a vast public-domain archive for future study.  Read the rest of this entry »

Science Heroes at Work

By June 20th, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Comment

By Amy Sterling

Four years ago a citizen science game called Eyewire hatched from Seung Lab, then at MIT and now at Princeton. Its goal was to pair up gamers with a challenge that has been bottlenecking neuroscience for decades: mapping the brain. Over the years the project grew. Hundreds of thousands of people helped, enabling new discoveries and stunning visualizations of neuronsRead the rest of this entry »

Describe Your Desk Doohickey for Fidget Widget!

By June 16th, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Comment

By: Nina Friedman

When I hit a mental roadblock while I’m working, moving always helps. I can’t keep my brain moving unless my body is moving. I might get up from my desk and take a little walk but if I’m in a time crunch I’ll just fidget around in my chair or tap out a fun rhythm. As a growing body of research shows, cognitive functioning increases when we move. In other words, moving helps us think.

While Dr. Michael Karlesky was studying for his PhD at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, he teamed up with his advisor Dr. Katherine Isbister at UC Santa Cruz’s Baskin School of Engineering to pioneer research about fidgeting. They are asking groundbreaking questions about the movements we make while we are sedentary. Read the rest of this entry »