A wax figure of Charles Darwin, whose theories about species have influenced science for centuries.
Jose Manuel Ribeiro/Reuters
Humans have an innate interest and ability in naming biologically meaningful entities, or species. Taxonomy, then, vies for the title of world's “oldest profession”.
A fun game, plus science advancement.
We recently set up a Foldit competition between gamers, undergraduate students and professional scientists. The winner might surprise you – and offer important possibilities for scientific research.
It is important to clean bird baths regularly.
Bird baths are more than just ornamental splash pools. They're also a site where animals socialise and intense rivalries play out. And bird bath design, location and cleanliness can have a big impact.
Citizen scientists have a great deal to contribute.
Mount Rainier National Park/Flickr
More and more Africans are becoming citizen scientists – and the benefits are huge both for them as individuals and for science on the continent.
Imagine where working together on open data can get us?
Puzzle pieces image via www.shutterstock.com.
This method of crowdsourcing science legwork is ready to expand into other disciplines – and maybe the amateurs themselves can start calling some of the shots.
The Changzheng-2F rocket with the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft carries three Chinese astronauts to the space station Tiangong-1.
We should welcome the fact that amateur astronomers are increasingly keeping tabs on what's going on up above.
Demand is growing for statistical ecologists to research climate change. Rapidly growing mega-cities in Africa, like Lagos, face the highest risks.
Some of the most in-demand ecologists in Africa are specialists in statistics. But this is currently a scarce skill combination in Africa.
Straw-necked ibis gather to breed.
Bird feathers can tell us a lot about their owners and the places they visit.
All that computer power will still need a helping hand from our uniquely human expertise.
Computers image via www.shutterstock.com
Computers are getting better and better at the jobs that previously made sense for researchers to outsource to citizen scientists. But don't worry: there's still a role for people in these projects.
Can a galaxy (like NGC 3810 in this case) have a classical spiral structure and also be already dead?
ESA/Hubble and NASA
Extragalactic astrophysicists want to know how and why galaxies stop forming stars, change their shape and fade away. With help from citizen scientists, they're figuring it out.
Flint, Michigan residents couldn’t get answers about their water – so they did their own research.
A new model of citizen-led science is emerging – as in the case of Flint, Michigan's poisoned water. Rather than simply supporting scientists, citizens ask their own questions and set the research agenda.
From disease spreaders to scientists.
Convincing the public to not just take part in but to design and run research programmes is providing new behavioural insights for doctors.
Rapid changes in technology are transforming the contributions ordinary citizens can make to scientific research.
You looking at me?
Sometimes the best way to deal with mountains of data is to turn to the public for help. That's what Snapshot Serengeti did to classify millions of photos from savanna camera traps in Tanzania.
Male enigma moth, a new species discovered on Kangaroo Island.
Amateurs and experts worked together to unravel the mystery of a new moth, the first discovery of its kind in 40 years.
In the name of science…let’s play.
A few days ago, I was an astrophysicist and contributed to a research project by organising sunspot images in order of complexity. After I’d had enough of that, I became a biochemist and worked late into…
Name an exoplanet, you don’t need to be a scientist for that.
UCL Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Public participation in science is increasing, and citizen science has a central part in this. It is a contribution by the public to research, actively undertaken and requiring thoughtful action. Citizen…
A day out in woods, for science.
People from all walks of life and all corners of the world are becoming scientists. Citizen science empowers those with an interest in any area from ecology to astronomy to be a part of the scientific…
Hands up if you want to be a citizen scientist.
Amateur astronomers in Russia made a discovery last week any professional would envy - it seems they may have identified the remnants of the ill-fated Soviet Mars 3 lander, 30 years after it lost contact…
A scientist training a volunteer on how to collect data on web-building spiders.
Citizen science occurs when data for scientific research is collected by members of the public in a voluntary capacity. Public participation in environmental projects, in particular, has been described…