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Helping Scientists Do Real Science!

 The power of the web is tremendous. Different organizations and scientists have created web sites that allow ordinary people the joy of working on real science projects. On this page we feature some of the most exciting examples of "citizen science" projects that are on the web today. Each picture is linked to a science project, or in the case of Zooniverse , a collection of science projects. Explore, learn and help contribute to one of the greatest adventure humans can partake in; SCIENCE!

 

NOVA Labs: A global leader in science education, NOVA, is creating another marvel for us!

Over the past few decades, new technologies have revolutionized the way science is done. Computers and other tools now generate avalanches of data, while also making it easier to visualize, analyze, and share. As a result, the raw material of scientific research can now be made available to anyone with the interest and motivation to use it. To take advantage of this opportunity, we’re creating NOVA Labs: a new digital platform–distinct from the regular NOVA website –for “citizen scientists” who want to actively participate in scientific work. This first Lab is about the Sun. But over time, individual Labs covering a wide range of topics will challenge users to learn about science by actually doing it, to think like scientists and sometimes even contribute to real-world investigations.

   

 Zooniverse is an incredible site. Well designed and intuitive interface makes this a fun place to explore. The science projects are engaging and clearly explained. Click on the screenshot to visit the site. Here are a few of the projects that you can join:
  • Solar Storm Watch - Help spot explosions on the Sun and track them across space to Earth. Your work will give astronauts an early warning if dangerous solar radiation is headed their way.
  • Ancient Lives - Transcribe ancient papyri, discovered in Egypt over 1,000 years ago.
  • The Milky Way Project - The Milky Way Project aims to sort and measure our galaxy. We're asking you to help us find and draw bubbles in beautiful infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope.
  • Old Weather - Help scientists recover worldwide weather observations made by Royal Navy ships around the time of World War I. These transcriptions will contribute to climate model projections and improve a database of weather extremes. Historians will use your work to track past ship movements and the stories of the people on board.
   

 Foldit is another revolutionary tool that challenges people to help scientists solve puzzles. Many of these puzzles have to do with how proteins fold. The web site is well designed and you will have to download some software to your computer to participate.

 This game was produced at the University of Washington. Congratulations to David Baker and his group for creating an amazing tool.

 Take a look at this YouTube video from Nature to learn more, or just click the screenshot to the left to visit the site.

   

 The School of Ants project is a citizen-scientist driven study of the ants that live in urban areas, particularly around homes and schools. Participation is open to anyone interested in contributing. Teachers, students, parents, kids, junior-scientists, senior citizens and enthusiasts of all stripes are involved in collecting ants in schoolyards and backyards using a standardized protocol so that we can make detailed maps of the wildlife that lives just outside our doorsteps. The maps that we create with these data are telling us quite a lot about native and introduced ants in cities, not just here in North Carolina, but across the United States and, as this project grows, about the ants of the world! If you'd like to participate, read about how and join us!
   

 The Network for Citizen Science Projects and Resources is an amazing web site that has hundreds of projects that you can learn about and contribute to. The breadth and depth of these projects is extensive. NCSPR has put together an intuitive place for anyone interested in science to gather. The site features:
  • a project database - so that you can find one that fits your interest easily
  • blogs
  • videos
  • other resource
  • even a way for scientists to post their own projects
 
   

 Phylo is a flash game in which every puzzle completed contributes to mapping diseases within human DNA. This is a challenging science citizen project, but worth investigating!

Though it may appear to be just a game, Phylo is actually a framework for harnessing the computing power of mankind to solve a common problem; Multiple Sequence Alignments.  Humans have evolved to recognize patterns and solve visual problems efficiently.By abstracting multiple sequence alignment to manipulating patterns consisting of coloured shapes, we have adapted the problem to benefit from human capabilities.
By taking data which has already been aligned by a heuristic algorithm, we allow the user to optimize where the algorithm may have failed.