TED Radio Hour: Citizen Science

We often think that science is reserved for credentialed experts. But now that's changing. This hour, TED speakers on how ordinary citizens are helping make groundbreaking discoveries.   

TED Radio Hour
11:03 4 Oct 2017 Steve Daunt 11:03 Wednesday 4 October 2017


After a massive earthquake struck Japan in 2011, MIT's Joi Ito assembled a ragtag team of hackers and eager citizens to help assess the damage after the government came up short.

When Sharon Terry's two kids were diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, she and her husband didn't wait for the professionals to find the cure. They rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

In 2009, the Kepler telescope was sent into space to search for other planets. But when astronomer Tabetha Boyajian asked thousands of amateurs to comb through Kepler's data, they found something entirely unexpected.

For centuries, amateur naturalists observed and recorded the living things around them. But journalist Mary Ellen Hannibal says citizen scientists today have a new mandate: to help save species on the brink of extinction.