As technology continues to mature, scientific data can be collected and gathered quicker than it can be analyzed. While computer programs can conduct data analysis, there are certain research problems and data sets that are easier, faster, and far more efficient to have the human senses analyze. From astrophysics to biochemistry, citizen science revolutionizes how the public interacts with the research. Projects like Foldit, Galaxy Zoo, Zooniverse, and CosmoQuest establish online communities and tools that encourage volunteers to contribute to a variety of scientific projects. By assisting with developing CosmoQuest, the technological underpinnings and motivators for contribution were explored. The Internet serves as a great vehicle to drive citizen science, and it produces research publications from the contributed work of scientists and non-scientists alike.
Sean McKenna, ’12
Majors: Computer Science, Physics
Sponsor: Tony deLaubenfels