Want to chat with the physicists from Einstein@home?

Einstein@Home analyzes data from the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico. Credit: Cornell University
Einstein@Home analyzes data from the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico. Credit: Cornell University

Our pal, Elsa Youngsteadt, at Sigma Xi (one of the oldest and largest scientific organizations in the world) asked us to invite you to participate in an online conversation taking place right now over at The World: Science.

Elsa co-produces the popular science podcast for The World, a daily international news magazine broadcast on public radio stations across the United States.

Some of her most interesting subjects extend beyond the podcast to online forums. One such example includes the physicists who run Einstein@home: Bruce Allen and Benjamin Knispel, from the Max Planck Institute of Gravitational Physics in Hannover, Germany. Einstein@Home asks volunteers to donate their computers’ idle time to search for gravitational waves and new astronomical objects. Recently, three of their volunteer citizen scientists were credited with discovering a new pulsar!

From The World: Science website:

In a study published in the journal Science this week, the scientists report Einstein@Home’s first discovery – a pulsar, some 17,000 light years from Earth. Pulsars are rotating neutron stars (leftover cores of dead giant stars). They spin rapidly and emit pulses of electromagnetic radiation. Those radio waves are picked up by radio telescopes like the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, which was used in this study.”

Elsa, Bruce, and Benjamin are participating in an online science forum, hosted by The World: Science, and they want to share with you information on how scientists are working with citizen scientists–and their computers – to make discoveries in space. (You’ll also find more details about the pulsar discovery–it’s a rare type called a “disrupted recycled pulsar.”)

They also want to hear from you. Do you participate in distributed computing projects? Care to share your experience? Is there anything you would like to ask Bruce and Benjamin?

If you’d like to participate, simply visit the Volunteer Computing online forum. But do it soon. This forum ends August 25th.

And if you learn something the ScienceForCitizens.net community might find interesting, be sure to tell us about it on your Sci4Cits member blog.

Categories: Astronomy & Space, Citizen Science, Computers & Technology

About the Author

Darlene Cavalier

Darlene Cavalier

Darlene Cavalier is a Professor at Arizona State University's Center for Engagement and Training, part of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Cavalier is the founder of SciStarter. She is also the founder of Science Cheerleader, an organization of more than 300 current and former professional cheerleaders pursuing STEM careers, and a cofounder of ECAST: Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology, a network of universities, science centers, and think tanks that produces public deliberations to enhance science policymaking. She is a founding board member of the Citizen Science Association, a senior advisor at Discover Magazine, a member of the EPA's National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology, and was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences "Designing Citizen Science to Support Science Learning" committee. She is the author of The Science of Cheerleading and co-editor of The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science, published by Arizona State University. Darlene holds degrees from Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania and was a high school, college and NBA cheerleader. Darlene lives in Philadelphia with her husband and four children.