You want to help archivists uncover the secrets of vast scientific collections? Want to measure wild giraffes – or search for elusive gravitational waves?
You do not need a doctorate or a lab coat to do this.
You do not even have to leave the couch or drop the phone.
Zooniverse, a citizen science platform, uses the power of the masses to contribute to science.
The site recruits individuals to support projects in areas such as physics, astronomy, zoology, and social sciences on a large scale. Individuals can browse large amounts of data, collect and classify data, and make scientific contributions that computers can not afford. You can also connect with researchers in discussion forums, where their opinions and observations stimulate further research.
The site has more than 1.7 million registered users who have previously classified more than 439 million pieces of data. A popular project is Galaxy Zoo, in which volunteers classify telescope images of distant galaxies. Bash the Bug, another voluntary favorite, helps researchers identify which antibiotics can treat different tuberculosis strains to fight new drug-resistant strains.
All this work has led to numerous published research results. Exoplanet Explorers, a search for new planets, has identified several planetary planets and an entire planet, K2-288Bb, at 226 light-years distance.
From 2012 to 2014, another project, the Cell Slider, looked more closely at how crowdsourcing can help combat cancer. During this time volunteers classified more than 180,000 microscopic images of human cells – and proved just as well as trained pathologists to identify cancer cells and tumors on your computer or cell phone. Start at Zooniverse.org.