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Cynthia Prosser, Science Library, University of Georgia, Athens, GA Monica Pereira, Broome Library, California State University, Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA Getting Down and Dirty: Citizen Involvement in Science Contributions of Individual Citizen Scientists Since the invention and formalization of science, areas of scientific inquiry have benefited immensely from the contributions of citizen scientists. Gentlemen scientists such as Charles Darwin, Antoine Lavoisier, John Muir, John Wesley Powell, David Rittenhouse, and Henry David Thoreau, have all made contributions. Women scientists such as Mary Anning, Clara Barton, Ada Lovelace, Maria Sibylla Merian, Maria Mitchell, and Ellen Richards have likewise contributed in spite of financial and social obstacles. This is a select list. However, in all cases, a key skill has been, and continues to be, careful observation. Citizen science can be said to have its earliest roots in the observations made by people as they went about their daily lives observing the recurring rhythms of nature, such as the annual flooding of rivers, the appearance and disappearance of constellations, the phases of the moon, the migration of animals, and the progression of the seasons. Examples include: Ancient Egyptians observing the flood cycles of the Nile, the Early Polynesians noting the constellations and their movements with regard for navigation, the Aztecs using engineering for city building and agriculture, and the Early Chinese developing medical system and equatorial astronomy. Definition of Citizen Science Citizen science is defined as the systematic collection and analysis of data; development of technology; testing of natural phenomena; and the dissemination of these activities by researchers on a primarily avocational basis. (Open Scientist, 1 Proto-Citizen Science Interacting with natural environments and understanding natural phenomenon has been a matter of cultural and physical survival. Before ‘science’ existed, humans have observed, and sometimes, expressed their understanding in tangible ways: 2 Astronomical observation Navigation Timepieces and calendars Agricultural practices Alfred Russel Wallace ( ) Surveyor turned naturalist. He independently described the Theory of Evolution. On a voyage to the Malay Archipelago in the 1850’s, his observations led him to describe what has become known as Wallace’s Line, the division between Australian and Asian fauna Charles Darwin ( ) Gentleman naturalist. Circumnavigated the globe on the HMS Beagle and made many observations. Proposed the Theory of Evolution and later wrote On the Origin of Species Benjamin Franklin ( ) Printer turned inventor and statesman. While probably best known for his involvement with the American Revolution, his work as an inventor is also of note. His work with electricity led to the description of the positive and negative aspects of it and he coined many of the words associated with this science, such as charge and discharge, conductor, condense, and electrify Mary Anning ( ) Fossil collector turned self-taught geologist and anatomist. Working on the Dorset Coast, she found large intact fossil skeletons, many the first of their kind. By the time of her death, Geology had become firmly established as a science in its own right Charles Lyell ( ) Lawyer turned geologist. He travelled extensively in England, Eastern North America, and Europe. He wrote Principles of Geology, outlining his observations of geologic phenomena, and put forth the Theory of Uniformitarianism © 2013 Prosser & Pereira125 th Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Geological Society of America, Denver, CO (October 28, 2013)
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