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The Crowd & The Cosmos: Adventures in the Zooniverse

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Oxfordshire County Library

Westgate

Queen Street

Oxford

OX1 1DJ

United Kingdom

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An exciting talk on a new concept in astronomy: crowdsourcing scientific discovery.

About this Event

Galaxies, pulsars, exoplanets and moons are just some of the finds made by members of the Zooniverse, a web-based project that crowdsources scientific discovery.

Find out more at this exciting talk based on Chris Lintott’s engaging, and entertaining new book!

Chris Lintott is a professor of astrophysics, co-presenter of the BBC's 'Sky at Night' , and principal investigator of the Zooniverse!

About the Book

The world of science has been transformed. Where once astronomers sat at the controls of giant telescopes in remote locations, praying for clear skies, now they have no need to budge from their desks, as data arrives in their inbox. And what they receive is overwhelming; projects now being built provide more data in a few nights than in the whole of humanities' history of observing the Universe. It's not just astronomy either - dealing with this deluge of data is the major challenge for scientists at CERN, and for biologists who use automated cameras to spy on animals in their natural habitats. Artificial intelligence is one part of the solution - but will it spell the end of human involvement in scientific discovery?

No, argues Chris Lintott. We humans still have unique capabilities to bring to bear - curiosity, capacity for wonder, and, most importantly, capacity for surprise. It seems that humans and computers working together do better than computers can on their own. But with so much scientific data, you need a lot of scientists - a crowd, in fact. Lintott found such a crowd in the Zooniverse, the web-based project that allows hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic volunteers to contribute to science.

In his engaging, entertaining and semi-autobiographical new book, Lintott describes the exciting discoveries that people all over the world have made, from galaxies to pulsars, exoplanets to moons, and from penguin behaviour to old ship's logs. This approach builds on a long history of so-called 'citizen science', given new power by fast internet and distributed data. Discovery is no longer the remit only of scientists in specialist labs or academics in ivory towers. It's something we can all take part in. “If we really can get everyone to join in – even if only for a few minutes – with this great endeavour, who knows what we might find sitting out there and just waiting to be discovered.”

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Oxfordshire County Library

Westgate

Queen Street

Oxford

OX1 1DJ

United Kingdom

View Map

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