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Can Science Be A Hobby?
What is Citizen Science?
Citizen scientists are exactly as the name entails. They are regular, everyday, citizens that help gather scientific data for further analysis by professionals. This is perfect for people that enjoy science but may not have time, funding, drive, or education to become a scientific professional.
Being a citizen scientist is not a new idea. Field investigations have been helped along by the ordinary citizens for years and years. It is only recently, with the availability of high speed internet, data collection has gone digital. Some credit for this phenomenon can be taken by those computers that almost everyone seems to have in their pocket. Your smart phone. Every month it seems a new citizen science application has come out in the Google Play Store or the Apple Store.
Let Us Know!
Have you ever participated in a Citizen Science Project?
Benefits of Becoming a Citizen Scientist
- Know that you have helped advance scientific research.
- Gain knowledge in a field of interest
- Global demand for increased knowledge in Science and Mathematics.
- It can Reduce the costs associated with management of natural resources.
- Community Collaboration builds stronger communities.
It's All In Your Palm
Smart phones place the internet in the palm of our hands. It only makes sense for scientists to tap into that market and outsource some of their data collection. Everyone enjoys using a new technology.
Previously people would collect raw data on paper with pencil. This is time consuming and requires someone to then enter data digitally into a database. The data would be limited to the area a research team could cover during the time they would be receiving funds. Depending on the funds, this could be a relatively small area.
Challenges to Citizen Data Collection
It takes a communities time and resources.
How can the data be made useful?
- Smart phones provide electronic data which can be easier to manipulate and possible easier to perform quality control investigations.
What are the financial pitfalls?
- Resources cost money
How do you keep it fun?
- Smart phones are important because everyone loves to play with a new technology.
Volunteers Make It Possible
Why The World Needs Citizen Scientists
- Smart phones today are connecting us in ways never before seen and scientists are taking advantage of this. Along with different application developers, many organizations are creating applications that run on a smart phone to help with their data collection.
- All fields of science require observations. There aren't enough scientists in the world to make all the observations needed for a better understanding of the natural world.
- This is where you come in to save the day with your nifty smart phone...and you thought it was only good for Facebook and text messages.
Great Citizen Science Projects To Check Out
- Secchi Disk
Are you on the ocean in a boat a lot. Help scientist study phytoplankton with this smart phone application available for iPhone and Android. Using a Secchi Disk, a simple tool used to measure water clarity, anyone can help this project.
- Planet Hunters
Hunt for planets with this amazing citizen science project.
- AgeGuess on SciStarter
Investigate the differences in perceived age by looking at pictures and guessing how old the person in the photo is.
- Citizen Science Central
Cornell Universities Toolkit for citizen data collection.