News archive 2010
World’s first summit on citizen cyberscience02 Sep 2010, PR 184/10
The world’s first summit on citizen cyberscience is taking place at King’s College London today and tomorrow (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 and research challenges.
Citizen cyberscience activity takes place all over the world and by its very nature participants very rarely – if ever – meet. More than 30 speakers over two days will showcase a cross-section of these projects and the event will provide a platform for participants to share their thoughts on the impact of citizen cyberscience face-to-face.
The summit will be hosted by King’s 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.
Hanny van Arkel, a Dutch teacher, who is chairing the opening session at the summit, is probably the most famous cyberscientist in the world. She found an astronomical object, now known as ‘Hanny’s Voorwerp’ (meaning Hanny's object), while taking part in the citizen cyberscience project Galaxy Zoo in 2007. Galaxy Zoo calls on the public to help classify the hundreds of thousands of galaxies drawn from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope archive based on their shape.
Hanny says: ‘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 and it’s fun!’
Contribute to cutting-edge scientific research
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'; Myles Allen, head of ClimatePrediction.net at Oxford University, and Bruce Allen Lead Scientist on Einstein@home, MPI for Gravitational Physics. See the full programme at www.citizencyberscience.net/summit/CCC-programme.htm
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 commented: '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 Grey, Citizen Cyberscience Centre Co-ordinator, added: '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 is taking place in the Anatomy Theatre & Museum at King’s College London’s Strand Campus. To see the full programme and to book tickets see www.citizencyberscience.net/summit.
The event is being streamed live at http://www.anatomytheatreandmuseum.kcl.ac.uk/node/59 and you can follow it on Twitter @CyberSciCentre #cybersci.
Notes to editors
Citizen Cyberscience Centre
The Citizen Cyberscience Centre was recently set up in Geneva and is based on an international partnership. The core institutional partners are CERN, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the University of Geneva. The Centre also has associated partners from amongst the leading academic institutions around the world.
It has been demonstrated through collaborative activities between CERN, UNIGE, and various United Nations initiatives and NGOs – specifically through the “Africa@home” project which was initiated at CERN, that Citizen Cyberscience can provide individuals and institutions in the developing world with an appropriate low-cost technology directed at pressing humanitarian challenges.
Centre for e-Research at King’s College London
The Centre for e-Research (CeRch) is an academic research centre, located in Information Services and Systems (ISS) at King’s College London, aimed at facilitating interdisciplinary, cross-school and department, national and international collaboration. The Centre’s strengths are in:
• sustainable e-infrastructures for research;
• digital libraries and digital archives including data use, creation, curation and preservation;
• researcher practices in the digital domain; and
• ICT-Methods with particular expertise in e-Science, geo-spatial and geo-temporal methods, text mining, textual analysis, and use of grids.
The Centre is unusual in that it is both an academic centre researching, publishing and teaching in its areas of expertise - including contributing to an RAE Unit of Assessment with the Centre of Computing in the Humanities (CCH) at King's and running (with CCH) a masters teaching programme in Digital Asset Management - and a focus for ISS-related activities supporting e-research, data management, and the curation and preservation of research data.
The Centre works collaboratively with researchers, research teams and groups, and as partners in research projects across King’s College London. It also works in partnership nationally with HE and research institutes, with European institutions, and internationally with HE library and research institutes.
The Centre comprises a mix of academic researchers, librarians, systems architects and analysts, developers and programmers, and departmental and project managers and administrators. It also has expertise in web and graphic design.
King's College London
King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher Education 2009) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has nearly 23,000 students (of whom more than 8,600 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 5,500 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.
King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe; no university has more Medical Research Council Centres.
King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit: www.kingshealthpartners.org.
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