Citizen Science: From Genes to Galaxies

Course Code: SCIE 3200

Academic Year: 2021-2022

We often think of scientists as highly trained people in white coats working in gleaming laboratories. But with recent developments in communications we are entering a new era of citizen science. Citizen scientists - average people without formal scientific training - have made some important contributions throughout the history of science. But through the technological ingenuity of crowd sourcing citizen scientists are now taking a leading role in scientific discovery. The sharing of ""big data"" generated by scientific researchers now enables the general public to process and analyze data through user-friendly software. This inclusive process is currently contributing to making major discoveries in cancer research, climate change, environmental sustainability and our broader understanding of the universe. It is also leading to a redefinition of the scientific process itself. This course examines the nature of the scientific process, its accomplishments and limitations in terms of generating and handling large scales of information, and the significant impacts of citizen scientists in the past and present. In particular, we examine the impacts of ""big data"" and contemporary citizen science in three major areas: biology and medicine, climate and environmental change, and astronomy. Students will not only study but participate in these history-making citizen science projects, and thus directly contribute to scientific progress itself. Category and Level: Science and Technology, Upper Level Restrictions: None Note: Students benefit from taking a lower level course in the Science and Technology category prior to enrolling in this upper level course.