Thursday, 30 September 2010

Videos online!

For anybody who missed out on the fab talks at last months Citizen Cyberscience Summit now's your chance to catch up! We've put videos of all the talks from the two days up onto the Anatomy Theatre website especially for you. And as an added bonus all the slides from the talks are on there too.

What are you waiting for? Check it out now!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Summit on radio

Thanks to BBC's Digital Planet you can now hear from the Citizen Cyberscience summit online.

The lovely Gareth Mitchell from Digital Planet spent two days at the Summit interviewing our fantastic speakers and finding all about the research coming out of the citizen cyberscience community. What's more, he even found time to chair one of our sessions!

This special edition of Digital Planet is available to listen to on BBC's iPlayer. So what are you waiting for? Head over there now!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Twitter Conversation

During the two days of the summit we encouraged people to contribute via twitter and to use the #cybersci hashtag. We have collected all of those tweets into this post (yeah it's a long one). You can get the entire archive of tweets from here. You can see more after the jump.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Discussion questions

These are the 9 questions we are discussing at the summit now. We will be trying to get answers from the session and online (tweet with #cybersci or comment here) and build a citizen cyberscience manifesto. After the jump updated with notes from the session.

Citizen Cyberscience Wrap-up

So it's the end of the very first Citizen Cyberscience Summit here in London and, although the event has been full of discussion, I think everyone can agree that we've had a successful couple of days. To round up the Summit we had a quick chat with Francois Grey, coordinator of the Citizen Cyberscience Centre and one of the brains behind the Summit. Watch below for Francois' thoughts on the event and what he thinks we've achieved in the last two days.

Creating maps for Africa

One of the projects presented this morning was AfricaMap, a Citizen Cyberscience Centre project, which aims to use volunteers in Africa to create maps for Africa. We chatted to Peter Amoako Yirenkyi who told us a little more about the project.

From GridCast

The Citizen Cyberscience Summit online

This morning we've been hearing about volunteer computing projects in the pipeline. From solving Suduko puzzles to creating detailed maps of Africa, the possibilities of citizen cyberscience appear to be endless and there are some amazing ideas coming out of the Summit today.

However, if you're not lucky enough to be at the Summit yourself, there's still plenty of ways to keep up with all the action online. We're streaming the talks live on the web at the King's College Anatomy Theatre and Museum website. And for those of you in America or Australia, we're also hoping to archive filmed versions of the talks, plus the speakers presentations after the Summit is over, so there's no need to wake up before sunrise or stay up until the wee hours of the night.

For a quick snapshot of the attendees thoughts on the speakers and talks take a look at Twitter, just search for the #cybersci tag. And last but not least don't forget to keep checking the blogosphere. We'll be updating this blog throughout the day. There are also some great summaries of all the speakers talks on Suw Charman-Anderson's blog, Strange Attractor, check it out here.

An interview with Becky Parker

One person that got everybody talking yesterday was the amazing Becky Parker, a 'superteacher', from Langton Grammar School in Kent. Becky is inspiring her pupils to get interested in physics by setting up CERN@school, a network of cosmic ray detectors, and her enthusiasm for the project was infectious.

 We grabbed Becky to find out a little more about the project - watch below to find out more about her fab ideas. And if that's not enough, you can read more in this article from iSGTW.

From GridCast

Thursday, 2 September 2010

CERN@school @ the Citizen Cyberscience Summit

Today at the Citizen Cyberscience Summit in London has been one of the most lively and entertaining events I’ve attended in ages. Under the banner of citizen cyberscience in all its guises, we’ve heard about human computers from David Grier, finding prime numbers from PrimeGrid, now running to hundreds of thousands of digits, and from the founder of BOINC and SETI@home, David Anderson.

The story of herbaria@home struck a particular chord as well for me – as a former museum curator in a previous life, the idea of using volunteers to help catalogue otherwise inaccessible botanical collections seems like an inspired idea. Instead of spending several weeks in a darkened museum cupboard cataloguing 200 pairs of 19th century spectacles, as I found myself doing a few years ago, today  I could have asked a team of enthusiastic  volunteers to give me a hand from the comfort of their own homes.

Among a host of enthusiastic presenters, a highlight for me was Becky Parker’s  energetic presentation on building cosmic ray detector networks in schools. Through regular trips to CERN her class has had a unique insight into the world of particle physics and cosmic rays – a far cry from the experiments we did in school rolling little trucks down slopes attached to ticker tapes. Becky introduced us to the CERN@school initiative, which sends Medipix detector chips, as used in the Large Hadron Collider, into schools. A pilot group of schools in Kent are using these chips to gather data about secondary cosmic rays in the atmosphere, and Queen Mary University’s GridPP project is helping them to process the data. Hopefully this is a pilot that will take off into a whole host of schools, bring cyberscience to the citizens of tomorrow.

From Catherine Gater at GridCast


Citizen cyberscience projects don't just help physicists and astronomers. Scientists from all sorts of disciplines can benefit from the efforts put in by citizens across the world.

A Herbaria@home specimen

With this in mind, this morning we heard from Tom Humphrey of the Botanical Society of the British Isles who explained how volunteers are helping to classify UK plant specimens.

His project, Herbaria@Home, asks volunteers to decipher plant specimen labels, providing information such as site name and date. This allows botanists to map these plants and track the spread (or not) of species across the UK. This provides vital biodiversity information which can be used for  future studies of taxonomy, ecology, conservation and genetic biodiversity.

For hard-to-read handwritten labels volunteers need an opportunity to collaborate and discuss with each other, so like many other successful projects Herbaria@home has a very active message board. All information provided by volunteers is open to peer review and can be edited, with the public edit history accessible to all.

As an added bonus, uploading these plant specimens onto the internet for analysis, means that Herbaria@home is opening up the museum's collections of plant material, which are otherwise largely inaccessible.

To date Herbaris@home has classified a total of 70,000 species and looks set to continue well into the future.

From GridCast

The Charity Engine by Mark McAndrew

Mark McAndrew is talking from the Citizen Cyberscience Summit in London about his startup: The Charity Engine
You can find more on their website:

From GridCast

Citizen Cyberscience Summit: Hanny van Arkel's interview

While volunteering for the Galaxy Zoo project, teacher Hanny van Arkel came across an unexplained astronomical object - Hanny's Voorwerp. Hanny tells us more about her find below - you can also read more at her website

From GridCast

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Tomorrow ..

The BOINC Workshop is on right now but tomorrow the Summit starts at 9am (doors at 8:30am). Who is coming along? We will be streaming from here all day and the GridCast team will be blogging, tweeting and interviewing people though out the day.

If your attending or want to comment we are using the #cybersci hashtag on twitter and we will be keeping an eye on it.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Pulsars, Bruce and webcasts

Citizen Cyberscience has once again come up trumps for science. After the excitement that was Hanny’s Voorwerp in 2007 and the constant science being crunched across the globe on home computers, Einstein@home has found its first pulsar. The 3 cyberscientists that discovered PSR J2007+2722 are Chris and Helen Colvin from Iowa, US, and Daniel Gebhardt from Mainz in Germany. More details can be found in a paper published by Science.

To tie in with this amazing discovery we have Bruce Allen the Lead Scientist on Einstein@home who is talking at the Citizen Cyberscience Summit answer our usual round of questions:
Why are you going to the Summit?
I want to learn about how other groups are making use of volunteer computing, and about what else might be done in this way.
What are you going to talk about at the Summit?
I'm going to talk about the recent discovery made by the Einstein@Home project, and about what we might be able to find in the future, with the help of the public. I may also talk about some of the astronomical science that large-scale volunteer computing could enable in the future, if enough people 'signed up'.

There has been a massive amount of interest in the summit and there are a few tickets left but if you can't make it we will be doing a live webcast. We will be streaming from here. Just click on the video link at the top right. Of course it's not ready yet, the summit's not for 2 weeks so ignore the error message you get if you click on it just now, we're getting it ready.

Of course we are all media savvy here at Citizen Cyberscience Towers and we will be also using web 2.0 on the day with our twitter account @CyberSciCentre being from the horse's mouth and we will be asking people to use the hashtag #cybersci when talking about/at the event.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

We talk to Ben Segal

The summit is even closer now, just over two weeks away. The speakers lined up are amazing and none more so than Ben Segal who has been working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, for 40 years. In that time he has seen the internet grow from a tool used only by scientists to the massive communications network used by the entire globe. He has been a part of many projects that hope to turn the public that uses the network into a resource for science, including LHC@home and Africa@home. Again we were able to collar Dr Segal and get him to answer our questions about the summit.

Why are you coming to the Summit?
I'm coming to meet other enthusiasts and volunteers who want to spread public interest in science. In my own work I have seen the scientific potential of public participation via the Internet. Also I am very excited by the beauty of some of today's Citizen Cyberscience applications and want to see what the future holds.

What are you going to speak about?
I will describe how CERN has used volunteer computing since 2004 to help design the LHC accelerator, and what we are doing today to extend the system to handle much more difficult "real physics" problems. I will also stress that most of this LHC@home system has been built at minimal cost by volunteers and students, in the spirit of the public volunteers who offer their computers to us for solidarity and interest in CERN's research.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Giant Prime Numbers

One of the speakers we are lucky enough to have coming to our event is Rytis Slatkevičius, creator of PrimeGrid - a distributed computing project for searching for prime numbers of world-record size. Francois Grey discusses his project in an article for the Cern Courier and we caught up with him to ask him two quick questions:

Why are you going to the Summit?
I believe in inspiration. It is one of the things that drive my life, and I hope that my talk will inspire more people to join cyberscience ranks. The Summit seems to be a great place to meet inspirational people, and to help to inspire people who just need that tiny nudge to shift from citizens to cyberscientists

What do you plan to talk about at the Summit?
I manage a volunteer computing project that searches for giant prime numbers, so naturally, my talk will be centered around the relation of mathematics and volunteering. I hope to disclose the story behind my project and the development of prime number discovery process. You will find out about my struggles while running the project and the incredible help that I received from ordinary (and extraordinary!) people. No math or science skills necessary!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Hanny's Anwers

Back in 2007 Hanny van Arkel, a Dutch teacher, was taking part in citizen cyberscience project Galaxy Zoo, when she found Hanny’s Voorwerp.

Since then she has probably become the most famous cyberscientist in the world. She even has a section of her site dedicated to her media appearances/lectures. Well you can add our Cyberscience Summit to the list Ms. van Arkel :-)

Hanny will be talking at the summit and we tracked her down (virtually) and asked her some questions about why she is coming and what she will be talking about.

Why are you coming to the Summit?
I am attending the Summit because I think it’s great that citizens without a scientific background can easily be a part of scientific research. This has an important value to science, but it also enables those citizens to learn a lot. Besides this, in my experience, it’s a lot of fun to participate in citizen science research and therefore I think it’s important to promote it.

What are you going to speak about?
I’m planning to talk about the citizen science project Galaxy Zoo, on which I made an astronomical discovery.

We have a few busy weeks coming up preparing for the summit but we will keep bringing you updates here, on twitter and FaceBook.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

World’s first summit on citizen cyberscience

At the moment we are gearing up for the summit next month (tickets available here) and in that spirit we have put out a press release. It is a good overview of the summit and the people involved so I have posted it below for anyone interested.

The world’s first summit on citizen cyberscience will be held at King’s College London on 2-3 September.

Citizen cyberscience is a growing trend where ordinary people use their computers and the world wide web to contribute in meaningful ways to an increasingly wide range of scientific challenges.

Citizen cyberscience activity takes place all over the world and by its very nature participants very rarely – if ever – meet. This event will showcase a cross-section of these projects and will provide a platform for for scientists and citizens to share their thoughts on the impact of citizen cyberscience face-to-face.

The summit will be hosted by King’s College London, and is organised jointly by the Citizen Cyberscience Centre, based at CERN in Geneva; the Centre for e-Research at King’s; Queen Mary, University of London; Imperial College London; University College London and GridRepublic. It is supported by the Shuttleworth Foundation, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), e-ScienceTalk and Microsoft Research.

Confirmed speakers include David Anderson, director of the SETI@home project, Space Sciences Laboratory, University of Berkeley; George Dyson, historian and philosopher of science and author of ‘Darwin Among the Machines’; and Myles Allen, head of at Oxford University.

There are currently more than 100 active citizen cyberscience projects - many address topical themes, such as modelling climate change ( or simulating the spread of malaria ( King’s staff will demonstrate how citizen cyberscience can be applied to the cultural heritage sector through the East London Theatre Archive project (

John Ellis, CERN and incoming James Clerk Maxwell Professor of Theoretical Physics at King's College London said:
“Citizen cyberscience offers people around the world the opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge scientific research that may be of fundamental significance, as well as having applications relevant to their own lives. The Large Hadron Collider at CERN has already benefited from the contributions of citizen cyberscientists, and this event will provide an ideal opportunity to showcase this and other possibilities for more citizen cyberscientists to get involved in this and other scientific projects.”

Mark Hedges, Deputy Director of the Centre for e-Research at King’s College London said:
"Citizen cyberscience has great potential not only for scientific researchers but also for those working in the humanities and cultural heritage. By bringing together experts in the field, this summit will both advance the techniques of citizen cyberscience, and encourage public participation by publicising the various applications among a broader community. The Centre for e-Research at King's has a strong interest in supporting citizen cyberscience and we are delighted to be able to host this important event."

Francois Gray, Citizen Cyberscience Centre Co-ordinator, said:
"There are already hundreds of thousands of people actively contributing to citizen cyberscience - we want to reach tens of millions. This event will provide a unique opportunity to brainstorm about how new technologies can enhance citizen cyberscience, and how researchers in the developing world can exploit this highly appropriate low-cost approach to doing science. One bold ambition of the summit is to draft a citizen cyberscience manifesto, involving all stakeholders in the field."

The event will be of interest to both amateur and professional scientists, to people who care about the impact of science on society, and of society on science, and to those working in the digital humanities and cultural heritage.

The Citizen Cyberscience Summit will take place on 2-3 September 2010 in the Anatomy Theatre & Museum at King’s College London’s Strand Campus. To see the full programme and for information about how to book tickets, see The event will also be webcast.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Tickets NOW available

The Citizen Cyberscience Summit is now (just) less than a month away! Even better news, you can now book tickets online for this event at:

The programme is almost complete with some fantastic speakers lined up like Julia Wilkinson and David Grier. We will bringing you more news and updates as we get them so watch this space, follow us on twitter @CyberSciCentre or friend us on FaceBook.

For any questions you may have about the event or tickets, please contact Anna Ashton at

Looking forward to seeing you in London!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Words from the wise

We have many amazing speakers lined up for the Citizen Cyberscience Summit in London next month (literally starts a month from today). One of the people we will have is David Grier, the author of When Computers Were Human. He is talking on the first day and we have been able to get a few minutes of his time to answer some questions for us in anticipation of the event.

Why are you coming to the Summit?
This is easy. I'm coming to the Summit so that I can be on yet another panel with George Dyson. I understand that if I give one more talk with him, I am moved up to the next level of rewards in the frequent Dyson speaker program and will get upgrades to all conferences next year plus extra treats in the speakers' lounge (This may or may not be true - Ed).

At our last conference, which was the Rome Science Festival, George talked about how life uses matter, a subject was both highly disturbing and yet exhilarating. I am interested in a slightly less fundamental topic but one perhaps equally disturbing, how organizations use science to achieve their social and political goals. I am hoping that I will spark some good discussions at this summit. I'm also pleased to see that I am going to talk before George, which means that the audience will stay through my talk even though they may view me as the warmup act.

What are you going to speak about?
Well, I believe that there is no aspect of contemporary life, no matter how advanced and ethereal that cannot be traced back to the Great Depression and the New Deal. This is important because it allows me to stories about Henry Wallace, (Roosevelt's Secretary of Agriculture) who is both one of the great visionaries of the 20th century and one of the stranger individuals to achieve high office. Second, it gives us a distant mirror that reflects some of the aspects of crowd sourcing. The New Deal loved to promote the accomplishments of the unemployed and thereby revealed the tensions in their programs. The New Workers genuinely wanted to be viewed as accomplished and were more than a little angry that they achieved that goal through the state of unemployment. We may be in a position to remedy that contradiction but where will that remedy lead us?

Thanks to David for his answers and we will have many more nuggets coming soon from the other speakers so watch this space.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Question (& Answers) from Julia Wilkinson

The Citizen Cyberscience Centre caught up with Julia Wilkinson from Galaxy Zoo who will be attending the summit in London next September. We asked her two simple questions to help explain her motivation to be involved in the summit but also citizen cyberscience itself.

Why are you going to the Summit?
I have been invited to attend the summit and take part in the panel discussion about volunteering and Citizen Science. I have been involved in various Citizen Science projects for the last 3 years and currently co-moderate the Solar Stormwatch and Moon Zoo Forums. I didn’t study science at school and have always regretted it. My career took me in a completely different direction. Citizen Science has offered me a second chance and a way to contribute to scientific research without a PhD. It has also rekindled an interest in studying science, specifically Astronomy, which I am now doing with the Open University. I am looking forward to discussing the benefits of Citizen Science with others and spreading the word!

What do you plan to talk about at the Summit?
I have 25 years experience of training and managing volunteers in the not-for-profit sector and as a consequence I am well aware of the huge benefits (as well as the downside) of using volunteers, in particular their recruitment, motivation and retention. These are the same issues faced by Citizen Science projects. Now I am a volunteer myself I hope to share some of my observations and swap ideas about how to get the best from Citizen Science volunteers and how to manage this vast resource in a way that will enhance the Citizen Science experience for everyone involved.

To learn more about Julia and the wonderful people over at Zooniverse did a full interview with her at the end of last year.

Friday, 23 July 2010

The Citizen Cyberscience Centre and Summit

The Citizen Cyberscience Centre has a been set up to help scientists in developing countries to access the power of internet-based volunteer computing and volunteer thinking.

To this end the centre's three-fold mission is:
  1. To develop citizen cyberscience applications targeting research on humanitarian and development issues as well as fundamental science, by coordinating collaborative projects between scientists from North and South.
  2. To organize hands-on workshops for scientists in developing countries in order to spread know-how about citizen cyberscience and its benefits for their research.
  3. To provide online educational material about the research challenges addressed by citizen cyberscience projects, encouraging greater public participation.

Now the centre is bringing members from all sides in citizen cyberscience together for a summit in London later this year. The London Citizen Cyberscience Summit is a great chance for scientists and citizens to learn about the latest breakthroughs in citizen cyberscience. It will be a unique opportunity to brainstorm about how new technologies can enhance citizen cyberscience. A bold ambition of the summit is to draft a citizen cyberscience manifesto, involving all the stakeholders in the field.

The event will be in King's College London on the 2nd and 3rd of September. The programme is filling up fast with some amazing speakers lined up and you can register your interest here.

In the weeks leading up to the event we will be bringing you the views and opinions of people contributing to the summit from all walks of life so watch this space.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Welcome to the Citizen Cyberscience Centre Blog.

Welcome to our new blog!

Want to give your opinion on citizen participation in science through cyber-initiatives like BOINC? You've found the right place! We will have blogs from members of the community scientists, citizens and more coming soon.