Do you think you need a degree in science to contribute to important scientific discoveries? Think again. All around the world, from Britain to Australia, in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology, millions of ordinary people take part in the scientific process. Working in conjunction with scientists in pursuit of information, innovation and discovery, these volunteers are following protocols, collecting and reviewing data, and sharing their observations. They are our neighbours, our in-laws, our office colleagues, our friends. The story of the social good that can result from citizen science has largely been untold – until now.
Citizen scientists are challenging old notions about who can conduct research, where knowledge can be acquired, and even how solutions to some of our biggest social problems might emerge. Cooper reveals the crucial role that they play in gaining scientific understanding and putting that understanding to use as stewards of our world. Their stories will inspire readers to join other amateur scientists in making their own scientific discoveries.
Caren Cooper is an associate professor of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University and assistant head of the Biodiversity Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. She studies bird ecology, conservation, and management through the use of citizen science. She served as an advisor to the documentary mini-series The Crowd & The Cloud. She is a blogger at the Public Library of Science and Discover, and guest blogger at Scientific American. She is the director of partnerships at SciStarter.com.
"[An] engaging exploration of citizen science [...] . excellent"
– Library Journal
"Cooper provides that rarest of things: a hopeful road forward [...] on which millions, perhaps billions, have the tools necessary to empower themselves. Read this book if you care about the future"
– Rob Dunn, award-winning author of Every Living Thing and The Wild Life of Our Bodies
"Cooper weaves amazing tales [...] [she is] not only a brilliant scientist in her own right, but also a compelling storyteller [...] a must-read for both scientist and citizen alike"
– Meg Lowman, Director of Global Initiatives, Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability and author of Life in the Treetops
"Ordinary people have been making extraordinary contributions. Prepare to be inspired"
– Steven Strogatz, Cornell University and author of The Joy of X