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Science for everyone by everyone – the re-emergence of citizen science

Katherine Aitchison29 January 2013

Citizen science is something that has undergone a major revival in the past 10 years or so and in the Lunch Hour Lecture on 22 January, Professor Muki Haklay explained why and where the field is going.

The iBats logo

The iBats logo

It may sound like a load of middle-aged men playing with chemistry sets but actually citizen science has encompassed some great thinkers. Like say… Charles Darwin, I imagine you’re familiar with his work?

Darwin wasn’t affiliated with any university or other organisation; in fact, he was only on HMS Beagle as a companion to the captain rather than in any professional capacity.

In fact, it wasn’t until 1833 that William Whewell coined the word ‘scientist’ to distinguish the professional from the amateur. He used interested amateurs to collect data relating to tidal patterns and likened himself to the jeweller who strung these ‘pearls’ of information together to make the necklace.

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