Archive for the ‘In the News’ Category
Philadelphia Inquirer and SciStarter partner to inform and engage millions of readers and local science leaders in citizen science
A “citizen science” movement is sweeping the country and now millions of Philadelphians who want to collaborate with leading scientists can visit Philly.com to join cutting-edge research projects.
The Philadelphia Media Network (Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly.com and Philadelphia Daily News) is teaming up with SciStarter, a Philadelphia-based company with global reach, to present featured citizen science projects, events, and instruments through a dynamic project showcase and blog. Each week, SciStarter’s editorial team will feature a new opportunity for millions of Philadelphians to take part in, from SciStarter’s curated Project Finder. There will be something for everyone, ranging from opportunities to analyze and classify cancer cells online to participating in outdoor bioblitzes to track migratory paths of local species and more. The goal is to make it simple for everyone to jump in and contribute to scientific research. Read the rest of this entry »
What do Buzz Aldrin’s shoe, the Liberty Bell & sports arenas all have in common? Watch Space to Ground, your weekly update on what’s happening aboard the International Space Station.
SciStarter’s Project MERCCURI, a research project to compare microbes on Earth and in space (presented by the Eisen Lab and UC Davis, SciStarter and Science Cheerleader, with support from the Sloan Foundation, Space Florida and NanoRacks), was featured on NASA’s “Space to Ground,” a weekly update on what’s happening aboard the International Space Station. Click here to read more about the status of this project!
The Knight Foundation today announced the latest winners of its Knight Prototype Fund. Eighteen projects will receive $35,000 to help them bring their concepts closer to fruition and one of the 18 projects is ours:
SciStarter ‘s project will connect data journalists and researchers with citizen scientists who are interested in helping them collect data about specific issues (i.e. water quality in a particular neighborhood).
The fund, launched in 2012, also gives winners a support network and the opportunity to receive human-centered design training in an effort bring early stage media ideas to a formal launch.
We are very honored to be in such great company and will post developments here.
Learn more about the other winners and the Knight Prototype Fund.
Image Credit: Knight Foundation
Listen. Let’s get one thing straight: I am an unabashed public radio nerd.
So, when citizen science and public radio come together, I am nothing short of ecstatic. But it’s not just my public radio nerdiness for its own sake. Rather, this convergence speaks to a larger narrative (for me, at least) — that of citizen science being a form of public participation in science and public radio playing the role of representing public discourse.
In conjunction with SciStarter’s current audio/radio citizen science theme, I’ve put together a “playlist” of some examples of how public radio can engage citizen scientists and vice versa.
WHYY the Pulse
Producer Kimberly Haas features various citizen science projects, in partnership with SciStarter, on The Pulse on WHYY. She has covered projects like Old Weather, Tiny Terrors, IceWatch, and other projects in order to (1) report on research findings and (2) recruit volunteers for the projects themselves.
Encyclopedia of Life podcast
If you haven’t listened to the EOL’s ‘One Species at a Time‘ podcast, go do it now. Producer Ari Daniel walks listeners through various species — from bees to raptors to head lice (and much more) — and their traits. You can also help contribute to the Encyclopedia of Life with your own findings.
There might not be any on-air pieces about citizen science yet, but Science Friday certainly has a lot of educational opportunities around citizen science. For instance, the Jumping Spider Shake Down activity, you can both listen to and try to match spider courtship displays with the right vibration signals.
North County Public Radio
Over the summer, North County Public Radio covered the FrogWatch project and interviewed a citizen science volunteer for the segment. Listen along as the producer and volunteer embark on trying to spot one.
BBC Radio 4
This episode of ‘Saving Species’ series reports on citizen science efforts around species monitoring. Many scientific communities, such as an academic study by Jeremy Thomas (Professor of Ecology at Oxford) and colleagues acknowledge that without the input from these amateur wildlife watchers much of today’s understanding of the natural world would be impossible.
Are your ears tingling yet? Although I am acutely aware of my own biases, I hope that public radio does more with citizen science, and I hope that citizen science does more with public radio. There is potential for much, much mutual benefit in these kinds of collaborations.
For now, happy listening!
Lily Bui is a researcher and M.S. candidate at MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program. She holds dual degrees in International Studies and Spanish from the University of California Irvine. She is also the STEM Story Project Associate for Public Radio Exchange (PRX) in Cambridge, MA. Previously, she helped produce the radio show Re:sound for the Third Coast International Audio Festival, out of WBEZ Chicago. In past lives, she has worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; served in AmeriCorps in Montgomery County, Maryland; worked for a New York Times bestselling ghostwriter; and performed across the U.S. as a touring musician. In her spare time, she thinks of cheesy science puns. Follow @dangerbui.
How to use the American Meteor Society’s smartphone app (iOS and Android) to create observer reports of fireballs and meteors during the Camelopardalids this weekend.
Coming soon to a sky near you: a brand new meteor shower!
Barring all cloudy conditions and light-polluted landscapes, you should be able to bear witness to the Camelopardalids this Friday, May 23, 2014 (going into the morning of Saturday, May 24, 2014).
As Earth orbits the sun, sometimes it passes through the stream of debris left by a comet. If the timing is just right, the debris enters the atmosphere and create trails of light in the sky, more colloquially referred to as “shooting stars.” Alas, they aren’t stars at all but tiny pieces of pebble, rock, and grains as fine as sand.
The comet responsible for this shower is 209P/LINEAR, which was discovered in 2004 by Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research, for which it’s nicknamed. It came to closest to our sun (perihelion) on May 6, 2014, but it’ll miss Earth by about 8.3 million kilometers (about 5 million miles) at its closest on May 29, 2014. Don’t worry — we’re not in any danger from it…this time around.
What you can do while you watch the Camelopardalids
The American Meteor Society invites you to report fireball and meteor sightings with their smartphone app and browser-based field logger. The smartphone app allows witnesses to log details about their observations using a mobile device, meaning you can take it with you to your preferred viewing locations — your backyard, a hiking trail, the beach, etc. Sensors in the phone provide a means of triangulating your GPS location, the azimuth and elevation levels, and start/end points of the meteor. Using this data, the AMS can not only accurately determine where meteors occur, but they can also use the data to trace their orbits to their origins.
Simply start your observing session and then each time you see a meteor point to that place in the sky and swipe your finger on the screen in the direction the meteor traveled. Observation data is uploaded to the AMS website, available under your profile there and shared with the scientific community. You can also use the AMS app to look up a meteor shower calendar with star charts and moon conditions for all major and minor showers throughout the year.
[You can also read about contributor Angus Chen’s conversation with Mike Hankey from the American Meteor Society on SciStarter’s Citizen Science Salon at DiscoverMagazine.com.]
No matter where you’re watching it from, this cosmic event should be exciting and accessible to astronomers and amateur citizen scientists alike.
Oh, and in case you’re curious about how to pronounce “Camelopardalids,” don’t worry — Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, has got you covered:
Plait, Phil. “We May Get a Major Meteor Shower on Friday May 23-24.” Bad Astronomy. MAY 20 2014 7:00 AM.
209P/LINEAR. (2014, May 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:54, May 22, 2014.
“Fireballs.” American Meteor Society (2014, May 21).
Lily Bui is the Executive Editor of SciStarter and holds dual degrees in International Studies and Spanish from the University of California Irvine. She is also the STEM Story Project Associate for Public Radio Exchange (PRX) in Cambridge, MA. This fall, she’ll be a masters candidate in MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program. Previously, she helped produce the radio show Re:sound for the Third Coast International Audio Festival, out of WBEZ Chicago. In past lives, she has worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; served in AmeriCorps in Montgomery County, Maryland; worked for a New York Times bestselling ghostwriter; and performed across the U.S. as a touring musician. In her spare time, she thinks of cheesy science puns. Follow @dangerbui.