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The Blind Astronomer, Sonification and citizen science...


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Just heard this on BBC sounds, from BBC Radio 4, very interesting woman, inspiring even. Not sure if she has been mentioned before...



This is the story, and the sound, of Puerto Rican scientist Wanda Díaz-Merced, who is revolutionising astronomy by turning data from space into audio that can be explored by ear.This process, ‘sonification’, is not only making the universe accessible to people with visual disabilities, it takes advantage of the human ear’s ability to explore vast ranges of data and spot patterns that could be missed by other means. It’s already proved its worth scientifically, with discoveries being made that are complementary to those found by traditional analysis.
Having achieved success and recognition for her work over several years, her next project takes her into one of the hottest areas of current astronomy, the hunt for gravitational waves. These tiny ripples in space-time were found for the first time only in 2015. As technology improves, more signals will be detected but these will be surrounded by masses of non-gravitational wave signals. The human ear is better than any computer at categorising these signals, so through a huge citizen science project, Reinforce, Wanda and her team aim to work with many thousands of volunteers to listen to and analyse reams of data, to help progress this new area of science.
The future, as Wanda says, is not just about sound, or vision, it is multisensory – the more senses we can use to explore the world, the more we discover.

Here is the link to some citizen science, from Italy I believe. Hope someone finds it interesting and can contribute, I certainly intend to look into doing so. :smiley:


An example of one project:


GWitchHunters will develop a cutting-edge citizen science programme by providing public access to GW antenna data, including environmental data, for an open-data project.
The sensitivity of GW detectors is limited by several types of noise and requires recognition on how they affect GW data is crucial to understand their origin and eliminate them. The result of this activity of noise hunting and profiling is crucial to be more sensitive to GW Signals, including those that are not modelled by general relativity formula, such as those from the explosion of supernovae.
Citizen scientists will contribute to this activity by looking at chunks of data and identify the presence of noise, and this outcome will serve as a basis to train machine learning algorithms that will automatically recognize and isolate noise in GW data. The same approach can also be used for seismic applications and/or earthquake. The team is already working in collaboration with the team of GravitySpy, a highly successful citizen science project base on recognition of transient noise sources called glitches. The experience of the LIGO Gravity-SPY programme will be central here. The University of Oxford has many Zooniverse resources and technologies than can be usefully deployed here. In the framework of the “GWitch Hunters” demonstrator, the option is to develop multi-messenger techniques in citizens science will be investigated. Take a look at the Zooniverse page!


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I think (may be wrong) that the Voyager team converted data to produce the "sound" of interstellar space when they left the solar system.  Jupiter and Saturn probes have also produced some mesmerising audio interpretations.  This really is a fascinating interpretation and definitely widening access. I wasn't aware of Wanda Díaz-Merced; listening to the podcast now :).  Such a wonderful concept, thanks for the heads up. 




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