How to get involved and do science
Mathematically challenged? So am I. Fortunately that is fixable, but more importantly it does not stop you from making valuable contributions to the scientific community. Below are some of the projects that allow you, or your computer's down-time, to help find cures for cancer, search for pulsars, discover new planets and help us understand how galaxies form! I have personally logged thousands of hours (check out my BOINC stats below) in these projects and you can help too.
BOINC - Use the idle time on your computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux) to cure diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars, and do many other types of scientific research. BOINC is a non-profit distributed computing platform that collectively forms one of the largest supercomputers in the world from users like me and, potentially, you.
Check out their site:
Some of the projects I contribute most to:
Einstein@Home uses your computer's idle time to search for weak astrophysical signals from spinning neutron stars (also called pulsars) using data from the LIGO gravitational-wave detectors, the Arecibo radio telescope, and the Fermi gamma-ray satellite. Einstein@Home volunteers have already discovered more than three dozens new neutron stars, and we hope to find many more in the future. Our long-term goal is to make the first direct detections of gravitational-wave emission from spinning neutron stars. Gravitational waves were predicted by Albert Einstein almost a century ago, but have never been directly detected. See how I visualize this concept in the Physics In Vogue exhibition. Such observations would open up a new window on the universe, and usher in a new era in astronomy.
Rosetta@home needs your help to determine the 3-dimensional shapes of proteins in research that may ultimately lead to finding cures for some major human diseases. By running the Rosetta program on your computer while you don't need it you will help us speed up and extend our research in ways we couldn't possibly attempt without your help. You will also be helping our efforts at designing new proteins to fight diseases such as HIV, Malaria, Cancer, and Alzheimer's (See our Disease Related Research for more information). Please join us in our efforts!
World Community Grid's mission is to create the world's largest public computing grid to tackle projects that benefit humanity. World Community Grid is making technology available only to public and not-for-profit organizations to use in humanitarian research that might otherwise not be completed due to the high cost of the computer infrastructure required in the absence of a public grid. As part of our commitment to advancing human welfare, all results will be in the public domain and made public to the global research community.
Don't want to let your computer have all the fun?
Check out these browser-based, crowd-sourced science projects at Zooniverse.org - real science online: