Reinforce, EU project focused on citizen science coordinated by EGO, was the focus of a series of activities presented this past weekend at ICHEP 2022, the 41st International Conference on High Energy Physics, in Bologna. ICHEP is the most important international conference in particle physics, and this year it was organised in Italy for the first time in its history.
The work done in the past years on Reinforce’s demonstrators was showcased in a series of posters, detailing how scientists from international collaborations and laboratories such as EGO/Virgo and CERN worked to develop platforms and applications that allow common citizens to help them in their work, while they learn and have fun, a process called citizen science.
Reinforce’s experience in developing citizen science activities in the field of physics was also the focus of a roundtable held on Saturday July 9th, with the participation of EGO director Stavros Katsanevas, Gwenhaël de Wasseige from UCLouvain that has worked on the KM3NEt workpackage “Deep Sea Hunters”and the EGO researcher Francesco di Renzo, who was working previously at the University of Pisa, and together with Maximiliano Razzano made the leading contributions to the GW Citizen Science package “GWitcHunters”.
The roundtable was opened by a talk by Prof. Katsanevas reporting on all the activities in the project so far. A long and live discussion with the chair of the sessions Claire Bourdarions (Annecy) and the participants followed.
S. Katsanevas concluded that as REINFORCE proved, “contrary to false common perceptions, citizen science is not only a matter of science communication, but also a method of engagement of the citizens to the scientific effort providing new knowledge.”
REINFORCE (REsearch INfrastructures FOR Citizens in Europe, 2019-2022) is coordinated by the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) and supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 SWAFS program. It has developed demonstrator projects in the leading citizen-science platform, Zooniverse, engaging citizens in four frontier-physics research domains. Citizen scientists participate in the analysis of:
a) transient-noise signals, known as ‘glitches’, which are mostly of environmental origin, in data from the Virgo gravitational-wave detector
b) bioluminescence and bioacoustic data from KM3NeT, cosmic neutrinos detector
c) high-energy physics data from the ATLAS experiment at CERN
d) cosmic-ray data, exploring the connections across the fields of cosmic-ray physics, geology, volcanology and archaeology
All four demonstrator projects interact transversally with a sonificationwork package, aimed at increasing inclusion providing access to the data to visually-impaired people
but also increasing the perceptual capabilities of general scientific efforts, investigating the ability to distinguish signal from background using the different senses. The citizen scientists’ work is also used in conjunction with machine-learning algorithms, effectively mixing human and artificial intelligence.