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  • richardmitnick 9:43 am on June 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Research Fascinates Non-Academics Too", , Citizen Science, , World Community Grid (WCG)   

    From University of Zürich (Universität Zürich) (CH): “Research Fascinates Non-Academics Too” 

    From University of Zürich (Universität Zürich) (CH)

    22 Jun 2021

    Citizen Science

    Around half of the Swiss population is interested in actively taking part in academic research. Social and environment topics are among the most popular.

    There is great interest in citizen science: around half of the Swiss population can imagine participating in participatory research. Image: Anna Yang, Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz.

    Whether it’s collecting hydrological data or measuring biodiversity, there are a host of UZH projects where people with a thirst for knowledge can get involved – even if they don’t have an academic degree or university background. The Citizen Science Center Zürich, run jointly by UZH and ETH Zürich, has been developing and promoting citizen science projects together with the Participatory Science Academy since 2017.

    First-ever Swiss-wide data

    Citizen science is based on the idea that anyone can participate in research. But who might be willing to spend their time on participatory research projects, and under what conditions? To date there was no well-founded data available on the overall willingness of Swiss people to get involved in such research. “We wanted to fill this gap with a representative study to be able to identify our target groups even better,” explains Susanne Tönsmann, managing director of the Participatory Science Academy.

    The study was developed by the Participatory Science Academy, the UZH Department of Communication and Media Research and the FHNW School of Social Work. A total of 1,394 people over the age of 18 in Switzerland were surveyed for the study.

    The key findings include:


    8% of respondents are familiar with the term “citizen science”, and 15% know the term “participatory research”.


    5% of respondents have taken part in a citizen science project before.
    48% of respondents could imagine taking part in participatory research. A majority (83%) would be prepared to invest at least a few hours a month for this. People who are particularly interested in citizen science mainly include young people, people with higher levels of education, and people who are open to scientific topics.
    When it comes to the reasons for not participating, 40% stated that they lacked the required knowledge, 29% said they didn’t have time, and 27% said they weren’t interested.

    Research tasks:

    “Collecting and classifying data” is a popular task (50%), followed by “interpreting results” (43%) and “co-determining a research question” (33%).


    Social and environmental topics are most popular (55%), followed by the environment/animals (49%), technology/natural sciences (48%), medicine/health (44%) and art/culture (21%).
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________Major Avenues to Citizen Science

    World Community Grid


    From World Community Grid (WCG)

    World Community Grid (WCG) brings people together from across the globe to create the largest non-profit computing grid benefiting humanity. It does this by pooling surplus computer processing power. We believe that innovation combined with visionary scientific research and large-scale volunteerism can help make the planet smarter. Our success depends on like-minded individuals – like you.”

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing.


    Please visit the project pages-

    Microbiome Immunity Project

    FightAIDS@home Phase II



    Help Stop TB
    WCG Help Stop TB
    Outsmart Ebola together

    Outsmart Ebola Together

    Mapping Cancer Markers

    Mapping Cancer Markers

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

    Uncovering Genome Mysteries

    Say No to Schistosoma

    GO Fight Against Malaria

    Drug Search for Leishmaniasis

    Computing for Clean Water

    The Clean Energy Project

    Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together

    Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy

    Help Fight Childhood Cancer

    Help Conquer Cancer

    Human Proteome Folding



    World Community Grid is a social initiative of IBM Corporation
    IBM Corporation

    IBM – Smarter Planet

    Visit the BOINC web page, click on Choose projects and check out some of the very worthwhile studies you will find. Then click on Download and run BOINC software/ All Versons. Download and install the current software for your 32bit or 64bit system, for Windows, Mac or Linux. When you install BOINC, it will install its screen savers on your system as a default. You can choose to run the various project screen savers or you can turn them off. Once BOINC is installed, in BOINC Manager/Tools, click on “Add project or account manager” to attach to projects. Many BOINC projects are listed there, but not all, and, maybe not the one(s) in which you are interested. You can get the proper URL for attaching to the project at the projects’ web page(s) BOINC will never interfere with any other work on your computer.


    SETI@home The search for extraterrestrial intelligence. “SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a scientific area whose goal is to detect intelligent life outside Earth. One approach, known as radio SETI, uses radio telescopes to listen for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from space. Such signals are not known to occur naturally, so a detection would provide evidence of extraterrestrial technology.

    Radio telescope signals consist primarily of noise (from celestial sources and the receiver’s electronics) and man-made signals such as TV stations, radar, and satellites. Modern radio SETI projects analyze the data digitally. More computing power enables searches to cover greater frequency ranges with more sensitivity. Radio SETI, therefore, has an insatiable appetite for computing power.

    Previous radio SETI projects have used special-purpose supercomputers, located at the telescope, to do the bulk of the data analysis. In 1995, David Gedye proposed doing radio SETI using a virtual supercomputer composed of large numbers of Internet-connected computers, and he organized the SETI@home project to explore this idea. SETI@home was originally launched in May 1999.”

    SETI@home is the birthplace of BOINC software. Originally, it only ran in a screensaver when the computer on which it was installed was doing no other work. With the power and memory available today, BOINC can run 24/7 without in any way interfering with other ongoing work.

    SETI@home, a BOINC [Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing] project originated in the Space Science Lab at UC Berkeley.

    The famous SET@home screen saver, a beauteous thing to behold.

    einstein@home The search for pulsars. “Einstein@Home uses your computer’s idle time to search for weak astrophysical signals from spinning neutron stars (also called pulsars) using data from the LIGO gravitational-wave detectors, the Arecibo radio telescope, and the Fermi gamma-ray satellite. Einstein@Home volunteers have already discovered more than a dozen new neutron stars, and we hope to find many more in the future. Our long-term goal is to make the first direct detections of gravitational-wave emission from spinning neutron stars. Gravitational waves were predicted by Albert Einstein almost a century ago, but have never been directly detected. Such observations would open up a new window on the universe, and usher in a new era in astronomy.”

    MilkyWay@Home Milkyway@Home uses the BOINC platform to harness volunteered computing resources, creating a highly accurate three dimensional model of the Milky Way galaxy using data gathered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. This project enables research in both astroinformatics and computer science.”

    Leiden Classical “Join in and help to build a Desktop Computer Grid dedicated to general Classical Dynamics for any scientist or science student!”

    World Community Grid (WCG) World Community Grid is a special case at BOINC. WCG is part of the social initiative of IBM Corporation and the Smarter Planet. WCG has under its umbrella currently eleven disparate projects at globally wide ranging institutions and universities. Most projects relate to biological and medical subject matter. There are also projects for Clean Water and Clean Renewable Energy. WCG projects are treated respectively and respectably on their own at this blog. Watch for news.

    David Baker’s Rosetta@home project, a project running on BOINC software from UC Berkeley

    Rosetta@home BOINC project

    Rosetta@home “Rosetta@home needs your help to determine the 3-dimensional shapes of proteins in research that may ultimately lead to finding cures for some major human diseases. By running the Rosetta program on your computer while you don’t need it you will help us speed up and extend our research in ways we couldn’t possibly attempt without your help. You will also be helping our efforts at designing new proteins to fight diseases such as HIV, Malaria, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s….
    GPUGrid.net “GPUGRID.net is a distributed computing infrastructure devoted to biomedical research. Thanks to the contribution of volunteers, GPUGRID scientists can perform molecular simulations to understand the function of proteins in health and disease.” GPUGrid is a special case in that all processor work done by the volunteers is GPU processing. There is no CPU processing, which is the more common processing. Other projects (Einstein, SETI, Milky Way) also feature GPU processing, but they offer CPU processing for those not able to do work on GPU’s.


    These projects are just the oldest and most prominent projects. There are many others from which you can choose.

    There are currently some 300,000 users with about 480,000 computers working on BOINC projects That is in a world of over one billion computers. We sure could use your help.

    My BOINC

    My BOINC

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Zürich (Universität Zürich) (CH), located in the city of Zürich, is the largest university in Switzerland, with over 26,000 students. It was founded in 1833 from the existing colleges of theology, law, medicine and a new faculty of philosophy.

    Currently, the university has seven faculties: Philosophy, Human Medicine, Economic Sciences, Law, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Theology and Veterinary Medicine. The university offers the widest range of subjects and courses of any Swiss higher education institutions.

    Since 1833

    As a member of the League of European Research Universities (EU) (LERU) and Universitas 21 (U21) network, the University of Zürich belongs to Europe’s most prestigious research institutions. In 2017, the University of Zürich became a member of the Universitas 21 (U21) network, a global network of 27 research universities from around the world, promoting research collaboration and exchange of knowledge.

    Numerous distinctions highlight the University’s international renown in the fields of medicine, immunology, genetics, neuroscience and structural biology as well as in economics. To date, the Nobel Prize has been conferred on twelve UZH scholars.

    Sharing Knowledge

    The academic excellence of the University of Zürich brings benefits to both the public and the private sectors not only in the Canton of Zürich, but throughout Switzerland. Knowledge is shared in a variety of ways: in addition to granting the general public access to its twelve museums and many of its libraries, the University makes findings from cutting-edge research available to the public in accessible and engaging lecture series and panel discussions.

    1. Identity of the University of Zürich


    The University of Zürich (UZH) is an institution with a strong commitment to the free and open pursuit of scholarship.

    Scholarship is the acquisition, the advancement and the dissemination of knowledge in a methodological and critical manner.

    Academic freedom and responsibility

    To flourish, scholarship must be free from external influences, constraints and ideological pressures. The University of Zürich is committed to unrestricted freedom in research and teaching.

    Academic freedom calls for a high degree of responsibility, including reflection on the ethical implications of research activities for humans, animals and the environment.


    Work in all disciplines at the University is based on a scholarly inquiry into the realities of our world

    As Switzerland’s largest university, the University of Zürich promotes wide diversity in both scholarship and in the fields of study offered. The University fosters free dialogue, respects the individual characteristics of the disciplines, and advances interdisciplinary work.

    2. The University of Zurich’s goals and responsibilities

    Basic principles

    UZH pursues scholarly research and teaching, and provides services for the benefit of the public.

    UZH has successfully positioned itself among the world’s foremost universities. The University attracts the best researchers and students, and promotes junior scholars at all levels of their academic career.

    UZH sets priorities in research and teaching by considering academic requirements and the needs of society. These priorities presuppose basic research and interdisciplinary methods.

    UZH strives to uphold the highest quality in all its activities.
    To secure and improve quality, the University regularly monitors and evaluates its performance.


    UZH contributes to the increase of knowledge through the pursuit of cutting-edge research.

    UZH is primarily a research institution. As such, it enables and expects its members to conduct research, and supports them in doing so.

    While basic research is the core focus at UZH, the University also pursues applied research.

  • richardmitnick 12:51 pm on June 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Help astronomers find rare cosmic jellyfish galaxies in this new Zooniverse citizen science project!", A rare kind of galaxy is at the heart of a new citizen science project that is being unveiled today: "Cosmological Jellyfish"., , , , Citizen Science, ,   

    From MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie] (DE) : “Help astronomers find rare cosmic jellyfish galaxies in this new Zooniverse citizen science project!” 

    Max Planck Institut für Astronomie (DE)

    From MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie] (DE)

    June 01, 2021

    Markus Pössel
    Head of press and public relations
    +49 6221 528-261
    Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg

    Annalisa Pillepich
    +49 6221 528-395
    Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg

    Gandhali Joshi
    +49 6221 528-370
    Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg

    Help astronomers find rare cosmic jellyfish galaxies in this new Zooniverse citizen science project!

    A rare kind of galaxy is at the heart of a new citizen science project that is being unveiled today: “Cosmological Jellyfish” is part of the Zooniverse platform, where volunteers can contribute to genuine scientific research projects.


    In the new project, participants look at the results of a cosmological simulation and identify galaxies that look somewhat like jellyfish. The jellyfish-like appearance is an indicator that the galaxy in question has interacted with gas in a galaxy cluster – which is what the creators of the project, the group of Annalisa Pillepich at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, want to study further.

    Eight examples for jellyfish galaxies. Images like these are presented to the participants of the new Zooniverse project for classification. Credit: IllustrisTNG collaboration

    Galaxies like our own Milky Way galaxy, consisting of millions, billions or even hundreds of billions of stars, are large-scale building blocks of our universe. While astronomers are confident they now have a reliable overall picture of how galaxies have formed over the past 13.8 billion years, after the hot Big Bang phase of the universe, many details are still in need of further research – and whenever new observations and powerful simulations become available, there are opportunities of adding pieces to the puzzle.

    One region of the puzzle that is badly in need of more pieces is the case of so-called jellyfish galaxies.

    Located 220 million light-years away, this jellyfish galaxy migrates toward one o’clock. Credit: COURTESY OF HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE, NASA, ESA AND HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM (STScI/AURA); ACKNOWLEDGMENT: M. SUN University of Alabama in Huntsville.

    Such galaxies can be found in galaxy clusters, alongside with thousands of other galaxies. Such clusters not only contain the galaxies themselves, but also thin, hot intergalactic gas. As thin as that gas is, it is enough to make galaxies that are moving at high velocities through the cluster feel a “headwind”.

    The missing details of jellyfish formation

    Imagine someone on a motor bike, with their hair, or maybe their shawl, streaming behind as they move through the surrounding air. Galaxies moving quickly through a cluster feel a similar headwind, or “ram pressure”. The stars in such a galaxy are virtually unaffected, but in extreme cases, the gas that is contained in the galaxy can be driven out, streaming behind the galaxy. The result is a galaxy that looks similar to a jellyfish: a body (made up of the galaxy’s stars) with tentacles (gas) streaming behind.

    We have yet to understand how this works in detail, though: Do such jellyfish galaxies form only in the most massive clusters, or can they form even around our own Milky Way? Where and how quickly do the tails form and how long do they last? What happens to the gas in these tails? How does the stripping process affect the galaxies themselves?

    Computer simulations to the rescue

    Since the processes in question occur over hundreds of millions or even billions of years, it is impossible for us to observe them happening in the Universe in real time. But we can turn to computer simulations to find out more! Cosmological simulations create a virtual universe following the same laws of physics as our own cosmos. In that model universe, virtual stars and galaxies form, interact, and evolve – and for each galaxy, one can reconstruct its history!

    A key problem here are the hugely disparate scales. The physics of how stars evolve takes place on scales of thousands of kilometers. A half-way representative volume of cosmic space is hundreds of millions of light-years across, a factor of one quintillion (one with 18 zeros) larger! No computer simulation has yet managed to simulate individual stars in such a cosmological volume. But for a few years now, there have been simulations that manage to model galaxies in sufficient detail for the simulation to capture ram-pressure in clusters, and the way it can turn galaxies into jellyfish galaxies.

    Tracking jellyfish in IllustrisTNG

    (c) 2021 The TNG Collaboration.

    The first simulations that have managed to capture jellyfish creation are part of a suite called IllustrisTNG. There are three different versions of the IllustrisTNG simulation, each with a different size of the cosmic volume, a different resolution, and containing thousands to hundreds of thousands of galaxies. The two higher-resolution versions of the simulation, known as TNG50 and TNG100, are sufficiently detailed to allow for the formation of jellyfish galaxies.

    But in order to study those simulated jellyfish galaxies, the researchers need to determine which of the tens of thousands of galaxies in their virtual universe are jellyfish galaxies in the first place! This requires a process that is still very difficult for computers to do automatically – but comparatively simple for human brains, with their excellent pattern recognition skills. That is why, as a first step, the researchers set out to learn which of their simulated galaxies look like jellyfish to a human observer, with a body made of stars trailing a tail made of gas.

    Crowdsourcing jellyfish-galaxy identification

    In a pilot study, led by Kiyun Yun, one of the group’s PhD students, the team members themselves identified by eye 800 jellyfish galaxies among 2600 pre-selected candidates. But that is only a fraction of the available data – and looking at all the data in this fashion is more than a small team of scientists can handle.

    This is where the Zooniverse comes in: the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research, which specializes in exactly this kind of citizen science: projects where human volunteers and their pattern-recognition-savvy brains can contribute to cutting-edge scientific research. Parsing through 38,000 images in search of rare galaxies is a considerable task, but not that difficult if thousands of volunteers take it on.

    Building on work by Yun and another group member Elad Zinger, now at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, post-doctoral researcher Gandhali Joshi transformed the problem of jellyfish galaxy identification into the Zooniverse project that is now being revealed: Cosmological Jellyfish.

    Kickstarting jellyfish galaxy research

    In the project, participants study pictures, each of which shows a galaxy in the middle of the image. Each picture was created from the TNG50 and TNG100 simulations, and shows a particular galaxy viewed from a random angle, along with any other gas and galaxies contained in that region Participants then need to decide: Does that particular galaxy look like a jellyfish or not?

    While the project provides a tutorial, as well as classification feedback for some of the images, nature is messy – even faithfully simulated nature. There will always be cases where it is difficult to decide whether or not a specific galaxy resembles a jellyfish. But in the end, it’s OK to be uncertain: During the project, each galaxy will be classified by at least twenty different participants. In the end, researchers will be able to distinguish galaxies that clearly are, or are not, jellyfish galaxies from more ambiguous specimens (where some participants saw jellyfish, others not).

    Once the jellyfish galaxies are identified, the researchers know which galaxies in their simulated universe they will need to look at more closely. The simulation provides the complete formation history for each galaxy, so at that stage, the scientists should be able to find out how these galaxies were formed, how they evolved to look like jellyfish in the first place – and what went differently for the galaxies that do not look like jellyfish!


    The Cosmological Jellyfish project is available in English, in German and in Hebrew at


    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelburg, GE

    The MPG Institute for Astronomy [MPG Institut für Astronomie] (DE), MPIA) is a research institute of the Max Planck Society (MPG). It is located in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany near the top of the Königstuhl, adjacent to the historic Landessternwarte Heidelberg-Königstuhl astronomical observatory. The institute primarily conducts basic research in the natural sciences in the field of astronomy.

    In addition to its own astronomical observations and astronomical research, the Institute is also actively involved in the development of observation instruments. The instruments or parts of them are manufactured in the institute’s own workshops.

    MPG Society for the Advancement of Science [MPG Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.] is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes founded in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and renamed the Max Planck Society in 1948 in honor of its former president, theoretical physicist Max Planck. The society is funded by the federal and state governments of Germany as well as other sources.
    According to its primary goal, the Max Planck Society supports fundamental research in the natural, life and social sciences, the arts and humanities in its 83 (as of January 2014) Max Planck Institutes. The society has a total staff of approximately 17,000 permanent employees, including 5,470 scientists, plus around 4,600 non-tenured scientists and guests. Society budget for 2015 was about €1.7 billion.
    The Max Planck Institutes focus on excellence in research. The Max Planck Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization, with 33 Nobel Prizes awarded to their scientists, and is generally regarded as the foremost basic research organization in Europe and the world. In 2013, the Nature Publishing Index placed the Max Planck institutes fifth worldwide in terms of research published in Nature journals (after Harvard, MIT, Stanford and the US NIH). In terms of total research volume (unweighted by citations or impact), the Max Planck Society is only outranked by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences and Harvard University. The Thomson Reuters-Science Watch website placed the Max Planck Society as the second leading research organization worldwide following Harvard University, in terms of the impact of the produced research over science fields.
    The Max Planck Society and its predecessor Kaiser Wilhelm Society hosted several renowned scientists in their fields, including Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, and Albert Einstein.
    The organization was established in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, or Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (KWG), a non-governmental research organization named for the then German emperor. The KWG was one of the world’s leading research organizations; its board of directors included scientists like Walther Bothe, Peter Debye, Albert Einstein, and Fritz Haber. In 1946, Otto Hahn assumed the position of President of KWG, and in 1948, the society was renamed the Max Planck Society (MPG) after its former President (1930–37) Max Planck, who died in 1947.
    The Max Planck Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization. In 2006, the Times Higher Education Supplement rankings of non-university research institutions (based on international peer review by academics) placed the Max Planck Society as No.1 in the world for science research, and No.3 in technology research (behind AT&T Corporation and the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory (US).
    The domain mpg.de attracted at least 1.7 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com study.
    Max Planck Institutes and research groups
    The Max Planck Society consists of over 80 research institutes. In addition, the society funds a number of Max Planck Research Groups (MPRG) and International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS). The purpose of establishing independent research groups at various universities is to strengthen the required networking between universities and institutes of the Max Planck Society.
    The research units are primarily located across Europe with a few in South Korea and the U.S. In 2007, the Society established its first non-European centre, with an institute on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University (US) focusing on neuroscience.
    The Max Planck Institutes operate independently from, though in close cooperation with, the universities, and focus on innovative research which does not fit into the university structure due to their interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature or which require resources that cannot be met by the state universities.
    Internally, Max Planck Institutes are organized into research departments headed by directors such that each MPI has several directors, a position roughly comparable to anything from full professor to department head at a university. Other core members include Junior and Senior Research Fellows.
    In addition, there are several associated institutes:

    International Max Planck Research Schools
    Together with the Association of Universities and other Education Institutions in Germany, the Max Planck Society established numerous International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) to promote junior scientists:
    Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research, Cologne
    International Max Planck Research School for Intelligent Systems, at the MPG Institute for Intelligent Systems (DE) located in Tübingen and Stuttgart
    International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World (Uncertainty School), at the Max Planck Institutes for Economics, for Human Development, and/or Research on Collective Goods
    International Max Planck Research School for Analysis, Design and Optimization in Chemical and Biochemical Process Engineering, Magdeburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics, Heidelberg at the MPG for Astronomy
    International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics, Garching at the MPG Institute for Astrophysics
    International Max Planck Research School for Complex Surfaces in Material Sciences, Berlin
    International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science, Saarbrücken
    International Max Planck Research School for Earth System Modeling, Hamburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Elementary Particle Physics, Munich, at the MPG Institute for Physics
    International Max Planck Research School for Environmental, Cellular and Molecular Microbiology, Marburg at the MPG Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
    International Max Planck Research School for Evolutionary Biology, Plön at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology
    International Max Planck Research School “From Molecules to Organisms”, Tübingen at the MPG Institute for Developmental Biology
    International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Jena at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
    International Max Planck Research School on Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Hannover and Potsdam MPG Institute for Gravitational Physics
    International Max Planck Research School for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim at the MPG Institute for Heart and Lung Research
    International Max Planck Research School for Infectious Diseases and Immunity, Berlin at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology
    International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, Nijmegen
    International Max Planck Research School for Neurosciences, Göttingen
    International Max Planck Research School for Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience, Tübingen
    International Max Planck Research School for Marine Microbiology (MarMic), joint program of the MPG Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, the University of Bremen (DE), the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, and the Jacobs University Bremen
    International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs, Hamburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Freiburg
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences, Munich[
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Göttingen
    International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering, Dresden
    International Max Planck Research School Molecular Biomedicine, program combined with the ‘Graduate Programm Cell Dynamics And Disease’ at the University of Münster (DE) and the MPG Institute for Molecular Biomedicine (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School on Multiscale Bio-Systems, Potsdam
    International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, at the University of Konstanz (DE) and the MPG Institute for Ornithology (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School on Reactive Structure Analysis for Chemical Reactions (IMPRS RECHARGE), Mülheim an der Ruhr, at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nano-Systems, Halle at MPG Institute of Microstructure Physics (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science[49] at theUniversity of Göttingen – Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (DE) hosted by MPG Institute for Solar System Research [Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung] (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Bonn, at the MPG Institute for Radio Astronomy [MPG Institut für Radioastronomie](DE) (formerly the International Max Planck Research School for Radio and Infrared Astronomy)
    International Max Planck Research School for the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, Cologne
    International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials, Düsseldorf at MPG Institute for Iron Research [MPG Institut für Eisenforschung] (DE)
    International Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics, Hamburg

  • richardmitnick 11:04 am on July 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Citizen Science, , First notice of the unusual brown dwarfs called WISE 1810 and WISE 0414,   

    From NASA/WISE and NeoWISE: “Two Bizarre Brown Dwarfs Found With Citizen Scientists’ Help” 

    NASA Wise Banner

    NASA/WISE Telescope

    From NASA/WISE and NeoWISE

    July 10, 2020

    Elizabeth Landau
    NASA Headquarters

    Karin Valentine
    Media Relations
    School of Earth and Space Exploration
    Arizona State University

    This is an illustration of a brown dwarf. Despite their name, brown dwarfs would appear magenta or orange-red to the human eye if seen close up. Credits: Image courtesy of William Pendrill

    With the help of citizen scientists, astronomers have discovered two highly unusual brown dwarfs, balls of gas that are not massive enough to power themselves the way stars do.

    Participants in the NASA-funded Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project helped lead scientists to these bizarre objects, using data from NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) satellite along with all-sky observations collected between 2009 and 2011 under its previous moniker, WISE [above]. Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 is an example of “citizen science,” a collaboration between professional scientists and members of the public.

    Scientists call the newly discovered objects “the first extreme T-type subdwarfs.” They weigh about 75 times the mass of Jupiter and clock in at roughly 10 billion years old. These two objects are the most planet-like brown dwarfs yet seen among the Milky Way’s oldest population of stars.

    Astronomers hope to use these brown dwarfs to learn more about exoplanets, which are planets outside of our solar system. The same physical processes may form both planets and brown dwarfs.

    “These surprising, weird brown dwarfs resemble ancient exoplanets closely enough that they will help us understand the physics of the exoplanets,” said astrophysicist Marc Kuchner, the principal investigator of Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 and the Citizen Science Officer for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Kuchner is also an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

    These two special brown dwarfs have highly unusual compositions. When viewed in particular wavelengths of infrared light, they look like other brown dwarfs, but at others they do not resemble any other stars or planets that have been observed so far.

    Scientists were surprised to see they have very little iron, meaning that, like ancient stars, they have not incorporated iron from star births and deaths in their environments. A typical brown dwarf would have as much as 30 times more iron and other metals than these newly discovered objects. One of these brown dwarfs seems to have only about 3% as much iron as our Sun. Scientists expect very old exoplanets would have a low metal content, too.

    “A central question in the study of brown dwarfs and exoplanets is how much does planet formation depend on the presence of metals like iron and other elements formed by multiple earlier generations of stars,” Kuchner said. “The fact that these brown dwarfs seem to have formed with such low metal abundances suggests that maybe we should be searching harder for ancient, metal-poor exoplanets, or exoplanets orbiting ancient metal-poor stars.”

    A study in The Astrophysical Journal details these discoveries and the potential implications. Six citizen scientists are listed as co-authors of the study.

    How volunteers found these extreme brown dwarfs

    The study’s lead author, Adam Schneider of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration in Tempe, first noticed one of the unusual brown dwarfs, called WISE 1810, in 2016, but it was in a crowded area of the sky and was difficult to confirm.

    With the help of a tool called WiseView, created by Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 citizen scientist Dan Caselden, Schneider confirmed that the object he had seen years earlier was moving quickly, which is a good indication that an object is a nearby celestial body like a planet or brown dwarf.

    “WiseView scrolls through data like a short movie,” Schneider said, “so you can see more easily see if something is moving or not.”

    The second unusual brown dwarf, WISE 0414, was discovered by a group of citizen scientists including Backyard Worlds participants Paul Beaulieu, Sam Goodman, William Pendrill, Austin Rothermich, and Arttu Sainio.

    The citizen scientists who found WISE 0414 combed through hundreds of images taken by WISE looking for moving objects, which are best detected with the human eye.

    “The discovery of these two brown dwarfs shows that science enthusiasts can contribute to the scientific process,” Schneider said. “Through Backyard Worlds, thousands of people can work together to find unusual objects in the solar neighborhood.”

    Astronomers followed up to determine their physical properties and confirm that they are indeed brown dwarfs. The discovery of these two unusual brown dwarfs suggests astronomers may be able to find more of these objects in the future.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The mission’s principal investigator, Edward L. (Ned) Wright, is at UCLA. The mission was competitively selected in 2002 under NASA’s Explorers Program managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The science instrument was built by the Space Dynamics Laboratory, Logan, Utah, and the spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp, Boulder, Colo. Science operations and data processing will take place at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

    The mission’s education and public outreach office is based at the University of California, Berkeley.

    NASA JPL Icon

    NASA image

  • richardmitnick 11:18 am on April 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 700000 new Folding@home operators have joined up in recent weeks. That's a huge increase over the 30000 people who are typically running Folding @ home at any one time., Citizen Science, Folding @ home network reached an astounding 2.4 exaFLOPs of processing power earlier this week making it faster than the top 500 supercomputers in the world combined., Folding@home   

    From Science Alert : “People Running Folding @ Home Accidentally Created The World’s Biggest Supercomputer “ 


    From Science Alert


    17 APRIL 2020

    You may have heard of Folding @ home, the number-crunching app you can run on your computer to help researchers tackle certain medical problems, including the new coronavirus. In the past month, the network of volunteers who’ve installed it has become so vast, the platform is outperforming the most powerful supercomputers in the world.

    According to the Folding @ home director, biochemist Greg Bowman, some 700,000 new Folding@home operators have joined up in recent weeks. That’s a huge increase over the 30,000 people who are typically running Folding @ home at any one time.

    And it makes a huge difference in computing power too – the Folding @ home network reached an astounding 2.4 exaFLOPs of processing power earlier this week, making it faster than the top 500 supercomputers in the world combined.

    To give you some kind of idea of scale, the new Xbox One Series X console appearing this year is promising 12 teraFLOPs of graphics processing power, and you need a million teraflops to make up an exaFLOP.

    It shows the power of ordinary home computers working at scale, and all this additional performance is being put to good use. The primary job of Folding @ home is to model how proteins behave in the body, underpinning so many core biological functions.

    Those functions include virus infection: the Folding @ home team is looking in particular at how the so-called ‘spike’ of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which is actually made up of three proteins) attaches itself to human cells and infects the human body.

    Those three proteins the spike uses to grab hold of the ACE2 human cells look so much like the mouth of the Demogorgon from Stranger Things, the research team has even nicknamed it after the monster.

    This is the key way that the new coronavirus can penetrate tissue in the human body, and so blocking it could be crucial to future therapies and treatments. If we can understand more about how the spike proteins work – which is what the computer simulations powered by Folding@home are doing – then we can better design the drugs to stop them.

    “If you tried to simulate the opening of the spike on your home computer, you’d be lucky to see even part of the process within the next 100 years,” writes Bowman on the Folding @ home blog. “Fortunately, we have reinforcements!”

    The magic of Folding @ home is that it splits up complex protein computer modelling into smaller tasks that can then be distributed to thousands of computers around the world – everyone takes a chunk.

    If you install the app, you decide when it runs and how much of your computer’s processing power it uses (you don’t need a particularly high-end computer at all). If you want, the app will run when it detects you’re not using the computer for anything else.

    Plenty of other coronavirus-related projects are underway at Folding @ home too: data are being processed to assess the effectiveness of potential drugs now being tested in the lab, and to analyse how the coronavirus controls a cell’s machinery after infection.

    No matter how slow your computer or how little time you think it can spend performing calculations for Folding @ home, every effort will get us closer to better treatments for and protections against COVID-19.

    Having reached 700,000 folders, Folding @ home is now hoping to breach the one million mark. You can download the software for free from here.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 8:10 am on December 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Citizen Science, ,   

    From SETI@home: Winter 2019 News Letter 

    From SETI@home


    I’ve worked at Berkeley’s SETI Research Center for 25 years and co-founded SETI@home.


    Thank you for your efforts as a member of the SETI@home team in 2019. Our program of searching for intelligent extraterrestrial life continues to expand, but SETI@home still needs your help.

    We are putting the finishing touches on our Nebula software suite which will analyze all results from both SETI@home and SERENDIP VI. We are focusing our first efforts on a complete analysis of all SETI@home Arecibo data to date.

    NAIC Arecibo Observatory operated by University of Central Florida, Yang Enterprises and UMET, Altitude 497 m (1,631 ft).

    As you can imagine, it is difficult to quantify the quality and sensitivity of our analysis given that there are no known ETIs to use as a reference! So part of the design of Nebula is to generate a large number of synthetic ETI-like signals, called birdies. Our set of birdies ranges from those that model stationary transmitters on far off planets to transmitters orbiting around a variety of planet types. We are also looking into using machine learning for anomaly detection.

    Two major papers will come out of this analysis. One will be on SETI@home as an instrument and the other will present the analysis in detail.

    This year saw the further commissioning and improving of SERENDIP VI / FASTBurst, deployed on the FAST radio telescope in China – now the largest on the planet.

    FAST [Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope] radio telescope, with phased arrays from CSIRO engineers Australia [located in the Dawodang depression in Pingtang County, Guizhou Province, south China

    Our instrument is dual purpose, looking for both ETI and Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs).

    FRB Fast Radio Bursts from NAOJ Subaru, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    FRBs are transient radio pulses of short duration caused by some as yet unknown astrophysical process. During one exciting testing session we detected repeating FRB 121102, a rare repeating FRB. The detection demonstrates the sensitivity of our instrument as this faint signal is detectable by very few telescopes/instruments.

    We continue to obtain raw data from Berkeley’s Breakthrough Listen program.

    Breakthrough Listen Project


    UC Observatories Lick Autmated Planet Finder, fully robotic 2.4-meter optical telescope at Lick Observatory, situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California, USA

    GBO radio telescope, Green Bank, West Virginia, USA

    CSIRO/Parkes Observatory, located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia

    SKA Meerkat telescope, 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, SA

    Newly added

    CfA/VERITAS, a major ground-based gamma-ray observatory with an array of four 12m optical reflectors for gamma-ray astronomy in the GeV – TeV energy range. Located at Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, Mount Hopkins, Arizona, US in AZ, USA, Altitude 2,606 m (8,550 ft)

    At Green Bank, observing is about to migrate from looking at stars within our own galaxy to observing other galaxies. Meanwhile, at Parkes, we will be surveying the galactic plane. During this survey the raw “voltage” data from the telescope will be recorded. These data will be ideal for processing by SETI@home volunteers like you.

    To accomplish our goals for next year, SETI@home needs two things. First, we need you, and your friends and family. Please spread the word about SETI@home and encourage people to participate. Second, SETI@home needs the funding to obtain the hardware and develop software required to handle new data sources.

    How to donate

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The science of SETI@home
    SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a scientific area whose goal is to detect intelligent life outside Earth. One approach, known as radio SETI, uses radio telescopes to listen for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from space. Such signals are not known to occur naturally, so a detection would provide evidence of extraterrestrial technology.

    Radio telescope signals consist primarily of noise (from celestial sources and the receiver’s electronics) and man-made signals such as TV stations, radar, and satellites. Modern radio SETI projects analyze the data digitally. More computing power enables searches to cover greater frequency ranges with more sensitivity. Radio SETI, therefore, has an insatiable appetite for computing power.

    Previous radio SETI projects have used special-purpose supercomputers, located at the telescope, to do the bulk of the data analysis. In 1995, David Gedye proposed doing radio SETI using a virtual supercomputer composed of large numbers of Internet-connected computers, and he organized the SETI@home project to explore this idea. SETI@home was originally launched in May 1999.

    SETI@home is not a part of the SETI Institute

    The SET@home screensaver image

    SETI@home, a BOINC project originated in the Space Science Lab at UC Berkeley

    To participate in this project, download and install the BOINC software on which it runs. Then attach to the project. While you are at BOINC, look at some of the other projects which you might find of interest.

    My BOINC

  • richardmitnick 10:53 am on August 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Citizen Science, , , , QUT University,   

    From COSMOS Magazine and QUT University: “Citizen scientists and the Great Barrier Reef” 

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    From COSMOS Magazine



    QUT University

    06 August 2019

    QUT researchers are inviting you to help with vital work.

    Researchers are seeking help to save one of the world’s great marine environments. Jeff Hunter/Getty Images

    If news bulletins explaining how climate change has devastated parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef leave you feeling impotent and depressed, maybe getting involved in one of several citizen science projects up there could help.

    Researchers from Brisbane-based university QUT run several programs that are turning everyone from secondary school kids to tourists into marine scientists.

    Statistician Erin Peterson, for example, designed the Virtual Reef Diver project to drive a new approach to monitoring and managing the Great Barrier Reef.

    Members of the public can log on to the website and work through the collection of photographs, classifying the images as they go.

    Less “virtual” divers and snorkellers can submit underwater images they have taken while out on the Reef for others to classify.

    This work is vital.

    “The main challenge that we were trying to address is that the Great Barrier Reef is huge,” says Peterson. “It costs a lot to monitor it all.”

    “But there are more than 65 different organisations out there collecting data on the reef – specifically images – all the time.

    “Plus we have all these citizens out snorkelling or scuba diving, and everybody has an underwater camera now.

    “And so the idea was, can we bring together these image-based data from all these different sources, and learn more about what’s going on to get an estimate of coral cover.”

    Once the data is in and classified, data scientists such as Peterson design statistical models to create a predictive map across the whole of the Great Barrier Reef. Thanks to ordinary lay people, the information is as up-to-date as possible.

    Meanwhile, reef researcher Brett Lewis, at QUT’s Science and Engineering Faculty, has his sights set not on the Great Barrier Reef but its smaller cousins in Moreton Bay, near Brisbane.

    His work focusses on reefs in inner Moreton Bay to see how they cope with climate stress, and what that can tell us about the larger ecosystem to the north.

    Apart from climate, the bay reefs face challenges from sediments spilling from the Brisbane River. This is where Lewis’s work holds relevance for studying the effects of dredging on the Great Barrier Reef.

    “One of the easiest things for us to do, and one of the most beneficial for the local area, is to understand how the corals are surviving sedimentation from the Brisbane River and this turbid environment,” he says. “And I have the techniques to be able to carry this out.”

    For much of his work, Lewis uses time-lapse videography and other visual media to capture, in detail, the changes in corals.

    When Iona College in the Brisbane bayside suburb of Wynnum reached out to see if he would help the students develop a marine science project, he said “yes” immediately.

    To start with, Lewis gave students in years 9, 10 and 11 a crash course in scientific observation. Then, after helping them set up aquariums with corals, he gave them a project: create time-lapse videos of how corals deal with different forms of sedimentation, coarse and fine.

    Not only did students get to run the experiments, they got to report on the results, learning to present at conferences.

    “I wanted them to see the impact that their research can have rather than me saying that their research is going to have impact,” says Lewis. “They can visualise it for themselves and see that, yeah, it’s important that we also communicate.”

    QUT’s Matthew Dunbabin and his team keep watch on the Great Barrier Reef – and other reefs around the world – using technology. He and his team last year launched RangerBot, an underwater drone that can monitor marine health and even take direct action – by identifying and destroying the devastating crown-of-thorns starfish.


    RangerBot’s high-tech vision system allows it to “see” under water, a system that helped it win the 2016 Google Impact Challenge People’s Choice prize when it was still under development.

    Having “trained” the RangerBot to take on the crown-of-thorns, QUT researchers are teaching it new tricks. In April they took it to the Philippines to help in reseeding reefs destroyed by dynamite fishing.

    The project won Dunbabin and Southern Cross University’s Peter Harrison the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s $300,000 Out of the Blue Box Reef Innovation Challenge.

    “We’re looking at a large-scale spreading of the coral spawn,” Dunbabin says.

    “At the moment it’s a manual task, but we attach different payloads that hold bags of concentrated coral spawn after they’ve [been] reared and fertilised.”

    Once that project has been assessed, Dunbabin will head back to the Great Barrier Reef for a similar project at the end of the year.

    And there’s room in RangerBot’s work for the citizen scientist, too.

    “We’ve set it up so that it can be used as a citizen science program,” he says. “We have a citizen science portal where we upload data that’s been collected and lay scientists can help identify crown-of-thorns starfish, helping to verify what the robot thought it saw.”

    They are also working on another project they call the “coral point count” to engage the public where they can upload their own data from their own observations in a similar way to the Virtual Reef project.

    “We’ve developed that with schools,” Dunbabin says. “We were lucky enough to get some money from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund in Melbourne and the Dalio Foundation to engage high schools and other stakeholders.”

    “High schools where students studied marine science were asked to use the technology and give us feedback on what they liked and how we can make it a useful tool.

    “So they actually helped guide the development of the interface for the robot and got an understanding of the technology, and used it as part of that assessment,” he said.

    Professor Dunbabin says it is vital to keep people engaged so they don’t give up hope of keeping the reef vibrant.

    “I think everybody has a role that can help protect the Reef,” he says. “People can actually be part of the science, where they’re analysing the data that helps them contribute to the protection of the reef.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

  • richardmitnick 8:49 am on July 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Citizen Science, Ruby Mendenhall, ,   

    From Science Node: Women in STEM-“The citizen scientists of hidden America” Ruby Mendenhall 

    Science Node bloc
    From Science Node

    03 July, 2019
    Alisa Alering

    This health study in Chicago recruits subjects to also be the scientists.

    When you read the words ‘citizen scientist’, what do you picture? Maybe backyard astronomers helping to classify distant galaxies, or fifth graders recording soil temperatures to track climate change.

    But Ruby Mendenhall, assistant dean for diversity and democratization of health innovation at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, has a different idea of what citizen science can do—and who can participate.

    Mendenhall used a 2017-2018 NCSA Faculty Fellowship to examine how exposure to nearby gun crimes impacts African-American mothers living in Englewood, Chicago. Home to about 30,000 people, Englewood has a reputation as one of the most violent neighborhoods in the city.

    Beyond the physical effects of stress, Mendenhall wanted to investigate the long-term consequences experienced by women living in communities like Englewood. For example, what happens to a parent when the sound of gunshots is common during the day—and especially at night?

    Here’s where the citizen science comes in. The women of Englewood aren’t just subjects in this research, they’re active participants.

    “We wanted to put more agency in their hands,” says Mendenhall. “We asked them, ‘What would you like to see solved? What’s an issue that you have? How can we study this?’”

    From subjects to scientists

    Mendenhall sees citizen science as a way to address health disparities and social inequality. Though many citizen science projects focus on topics like backyard biology, it’s an existing framework that can be applied to community-based participatory research in health and medicine.

    “These are citizen scientists who can take knowledge of their own lived experience and create new knowledge about Black women and families,” says Mendenhall. “We hope they can help us make medical advances around depression, PTSD, and how the body responds to stress.”

    Mendenhall wanted to put more agency in the hands of the women, transforming them from study subjects into participating scientists. The researchers asked what the women wanted to see solved, what issues they were concerned about, and how it might be studied.

    Mendenhall then teamed up with computer scientist Kiel Gilleade to design a mobile health study that documented the women’s experience via wearable biosensors, phone GPS, and diary-keeping.

    Given historical problems with mistrust of the medical community—and with good reason—Mendenhall was concerned that the participants wouldn’t agree to let researchers take samples of their blood (for a separate study) to see how stress affected the genes that regulate the immune system.

    But, somewhat to her surprise, the women agreed. One of the reasons the women gave for their willingness to participate was that they recognized the impact stress was having on their bodies.

    “They talked about having headaches, backaches, stomachaches, many things,” says Mendenhall. “They were interested in what was going on with their bodies, what was the connection.”

    Asking the right questions

    Whose voice is not represented? Mendenhall presented her keynote address, Using Advanced Computing to Recover Black Women’s Lost History, at the PEARC18 conference in Pittsburgh, in July 2018.

    Mendenhall hasn’t always engaged with computation to further her research. She started her academic career in African-American studies and sociology. But when faculty from NCSA visited her department, Mendenhall became intrigued by the possibilities of big data.

    “I didn’t change the research I was interested in, I didn’t change my focus on Black women and their agency and their lived experiences on the margins of society,” says Mendenhall. “What I did was expand my toolkit and my ability to answer questions—and even to ask different questions.”

    Some of the questions she’s asking are: Whose voice may not be represented? Whose lived experience isn’t represented? If they were, how would what we see be different? Mendenhall believes that scholars of all types can benefit from putting more time and energy into asking questions like these.

    “I think it’s important to understand that big data is not neutral, it is not objective,” says Mendenhall. “Data is situated within a historical and political context.”

    Despite biases in existing collections of data, Mendenhall believes data can also be applied to help equalize the historical record.

    “I think big data has great potential if more voices are brought in,” says Mendenhall. “If everyone’s voice can be heard and seen and studied and digitized. And if Black women can also study it themselves and develop ideas about what that data is representing.”

    The study about Black women in Englewood followed only twelve women but the next step will be to expand the pool of citizen scientists to 600 or more.

    “Ideally, I’m thinking about 100,000 citizen scientists or all the women in Chicago. If they could all be citizen scientists—then what would we see?”

    Mendenhall is currently at work on a funding proposal to create a Communiversity Think-and-Do Tank where researchers and citizen scientists will work together to address grand challenges (e.g., gun violence, Black infant and maternal mortality, mental health, diverse histories in the digital archives, etc.) She hopes this will be one avenue to get her closer to her goal of 100,000 citizen scientists.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Science Node is an international weekly online publication that covers distributed computing and the research it enables.

    “We report on all aspects of distributed computing technology, such as grids and clouds. We also regularly feature articles on distributed computing-enabled research in a large variety of disciplines, including physics, biology, sociology, earth sciences, archaeology, medicine, disaster management, crime, and art. (Note that we do not cover stories that are purely about commercial technology.)

    In its current incarnation, Science Node is also an online destination where you can host a profile and blog, and find and disseminate announcements and information about events, deadlines, and jobs. In the near future it will also be a place where you can network with colleagues.

    You can read Science Node via our homepage, RSS, or email. For the complete iSGTW experience, sign up for an account or log in with OpenID and manage your email subscription from your account preferences. If you do not wish to access the website’s features, you can just subscribe to the weekly email.”

  • richardmitnick 9:07 am on May 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Academies Weigh In on Science and Trust, American Astronomical Society, , , Citizen Science, Group of Seven (G7) countries — Canada France Germany Italy Japan the United Kingdom and the United States   

    From American Astronomical Society: “Academies Weigh In on Science and Trust, Citizen Science” 

    From American Astronomical Society

    May 6, 2019
    Richard Tresch Fienberg


    The national science academies of the Group of Seven (G7) countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States — have issued several joint statements to their respective governments, to inform discussions during the G7 summit to be held in August in France, as well as to inform ongoing policymaking.


    In two of the statements, the academies call for strategies to maintain trust in science and to maximize the benefits of citizen science in the Internet era.

    Science and trust. The need for science and innovation to contribute to solving local and global issues requires societal trust in science. Although confidence in science remains high, there are serious and rapidly changing challenges, such as misinformation that is now easily spread on the Internet. Scientists should give a high priority to establishing a genuine dialogue with their fellow citizens, sharing scientific advances with them, and discussing potential negative impacts of science and technology. Maintaining trust in science will also require widespread science education to increase understanding of how research is conducted, as well as the promotion of honest, ethical, and responsible research. Read the full statement (PDF).

    Citizen science in the Internet era. The potential value of involving citizens in the conduct of science is high: It can improve public understanding of science and the scientific method, and it can advance knowledge and innovation in ways that were previously inaccessible to academic, government, or industrial research organizations. The statement recommends creating specific funding programs for citizen science; promoting the co-development of citizen science and laboratory-based research; and taking action to avoid or mitigate ethical lapses and security risks in citizen science. Read the full statement (PDF).

    The US National Academies are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. They operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. Our mission is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe.

  • richardmitnick 9:53 am on February 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Citizen Science, ,   

    From Science Blog from the SDSS: “APOGEE and Amateur Spectroscopy” 

    SDSS Science blog bloc

    Science Blog from the SDSS

    February 17, 2018
    David Whelan

    Drew Chojnowski, APOGEE plate designer and lead of the emission-line stars science group, discusses SDSS and Be stars observed with the APOGEE instrument.

    This weekend, APOGEEans David Whelan and Drew Chojnowski attended the Sacramento Mountains Spectroscopy Workshop. The workshop’s goal? To get amateur astronomers interested in pursuing spectroscopy. With a mix of amateurs and professionals in the room, the expertise was readily available, and the excitement was palatable.

    On Friday, David Whelan lead a discussion on spectral classification of intermediate- and high-mass stars. This is a science effort that is essential to both APOGEE’s emission-line stars group and high-mass stars studies more generally. Perhaps some knowledgeable amateurs can begin to contribute?

    Then on Saturday, Drew introduced the group to observing with the Sloan Telescope. Below, he is shown with one of SDSS’s APOGEE plates.

    Drew and an APOGEE plate – teaching people how the SDSS is done.

    These kinds of workshops break down the barrier between the amateur and the professional, and opens both groups to new possibilities. With special thanks to the organizers Ken Hudson and Joe Daglen, as well as François Cochard from Shelyak Instruments, we very much look forward to pursuing the science generated by this workshop.

    Amateur astronomer Joe Daglen, center, tells workshop attendants about the equipment that he uses to teach undergraduate students about imaging and spectroscopy.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    SDSS Telescope at Apache Point Observatory, near Sunspot NM, USA, Altitude 2,788 meters (9,147 ft)

    After nearly a decade of design and construction, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey saw first light on its giant mosaic camera in 1998 and entered routine operations in 2000. While the collaboration and scope of the SDSS have changed over the years, many of its key principles have stayed fixed: the use of highly efficient instruments and software to enable astronomical surveys of unprecedented scientific reach, a commitment to creating high quality public data sets, and investigations that draw on the full range of expertise in a large international collaboration. The generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has been crucial in all phases of the SDSS, alongside support from the Participating Institutions and national funding agencies in the U.S. and other countries.

    The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has created the most detailed three-dimensional maps of the Universe ever made, with deep multi-color images of one third of the sky, and spectra for more than three million astronomical objects.

    In its first five years of operations, the SDSS carried out deep multi-color imaging over 8000 square degrees and measured spectra of more than 700,000 celestial objects. With an ever-growing collaboration, SDSS-II (2005-2008) completed the original survey goals of imaging half the northern sky and mapping the 3-dimensional clustering of one million galaxies and 100,000 quasars. SDSS-II carried out two additional surveys: the Supernova Survey, which discovered and monitored hundreds of supernovae to measure the expansion history of the universe, and the Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration (SEGUE), which extended SDSS imaging towards the plane of the Galaxy and mapped the motions and composition of more than a quarter million Milky Way stars.

    SDSS-III (2008-2014) undertook a major upgrade of the venerable SDSS spectrographs and added two powerful new instruments to execute an interweaved set of four surveys, mapping the clustering of galaxies and intergalactic gas in the distant universe (BOSS), the dynamics and chemical evolution of the Milky Way (SEGUE-2 and APOGEE), and the population of extra-solar giant planets (MARVELS).

    The latest generation of the SDSS (SDSS-IV, 2014-2020) is extending precision cosmological measurements to a critical early phase of cosmic history (eBOSS), expanding its revolutionary infrared spectroscopic survey of the Galaxy in the northern and southern hemispheres (APOGEE-2), and for the first time using the Sloan spectrographs to make spatially resolved maps of individual galaxies (MaNGA).

    This is the “Science blog” of the SDSS. Here you’ll find short descriptions of interesting scientific research and discoveries from the SDSS. We’ll also update on activities of the collaboration in public engagement and other arenas. We’d love to see your comments and questions about what you read here!

    You can explore more on the SDSS Website.

  • richardmitnick 11:26 am on December 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Citizen Science, , Thousands of citizen-scientists help researchers map kelp forests,   

    From UCLA Newsroom: “Thousands of citizen-scientists help researchers map kelp forests” 

    UCLA Newsroom

    December 20, 2017
    Alison Hewitt

    Website enables researchers from UCLA, other universities to track the effects of climate change on a critical ecosystem.

    Scientists believe that kelp forests like this one off of California’s coast are being threatened by climate change.

    Kelp forests grow along coastlines worldwide, largely hidden from view. Like rainforests, they’re among the planet’s most important ecosystems: beautiful but fragile habitats for a wide array of plant and animal species.

    But scientists believe kelp forests are being threatened by climate change. Now, researchers from UCLA and seven other universities have an improved tool for tracking these shifting ecosystems, the largest of which is about 5 miles long.

    With new funding from NASA, the team recently relaunched Floating Forests, a website that enables volunteer citizen-scientists to scan hundreds of thousands of satellite images for places where the tops of kelp forests skim the ocean surface.

    The original site went online in 2014, and its more than 7,000 users had viewed roughly 700,000 satellite images as of early December 2017. The new version launched Dec. 13 with better image filters and enhanced color contrast, which will produce fewer photos that don’t have kelp in them, and will make the kelp forests easier to identify.

    “We hope to track global trends in the abundance of giant kelp forests and identify regions that have experienced significant declines in kelp,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, a professor of geography in the UCLA College and a member of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. “Giant kelp forests are ecosystem engineers — they provide both food and habitat for incredibly diverse and productive near-shore ecosystems. They are also highly sensitive to changes in climatic and environmental conditions.”

    Mapping kelp forests has traditionally been a more solitary endeavor: Scuba divers would gather information about areas of the ocean that they could explore themselves. So the data was limited to tiny portions of the ocean, and the information divers gathered could only provide a snapshot of conditions on the day that they collected it — a problem because conditions in the forests can change rapidly.

    To gather a fuller picture of the forests, and to monitor them over long periods of time, Cavanaugh recognized he could draw from NASA’s Landsat program, which has taken satellite images of the entire Earth every 16 days since the 1970s. Landsat collects data in the visible and near-infrared wavelengths, which made it an ideal tool to track kelp forests: Because water absorbs a lot of near-infrared energy and plants reflect a lot of it, the kelp forest canopies stand out in the satellite images.

    But Cavanaugh also knew that it would take human eyes to analyze the images, so he and Jarrett Byrnes, a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, obtained funding from a nonprofit called Zooniverse to build a website that would allow people from around the world to participate.

    Here’s how it works: If one of the citizen-scientists sees evidence of a kelp forest in a satellite image, that image is shown to 15 other users for verification and to carefully trace the outline of the canopy. On the other hand, if four different users view an image and don’t see any kelp, that image is discarded from the dataset.

    So far, Floating Forests users have helped map kelp forests along the entire coast of California from 1984 to 2011 — one user found a large, never-before-mapped patch of kelp on an underwater mountain called the Cortez Bank, about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego. Volunteers also helped map most of the coast of Tasmania, Australia, over the same period, providing evidence that climate change is causing problems in the kelp forests there.

    In addition to improvements in its image processing, the relaunched site makes it easier for Cavanaugh and his fellow scientists to add new regions to the platform. One of the newest additions is a collection of 5,000 images of the waters around the Falkland Islands, off the coast of South America. Byrnes said kelp forests are the foundation of the coastal ecosystem there.

    “It’s a breeding ground,” he said. “Local squid love to lay their eggs on kelp. It’s also a source of kelp rafts that can transport some species around the subantarctic oceans.”

    In the coming months, the researchers hope to study other, less-explored regions around the world, and they plan to add images to the website from the coasts of Baja California, northern Chile, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, the U.K. and Japan.

    See the full article here .

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