Learn the truths and myths of citizen science at the July 16 Fermilab At Home

The Fermilab At Home arts and lecture series continues on Friday, July 16, with "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Data: Truths and Myths about Citizen Science as a Knowledge Democracy."

Dr. Caren Cooper of North Carolina State University will lead the virtual program at 7:30 p.m. (CST). There is a $4 access fee. Sign up at

She is the author of the new book "Citizen Science: How Ordinary People are Changing the Face of Discovery."

Scientists prepare for years to become credentialed experts at science, a process of reliably creating new knowledge.

How then can people without formal scientific training take part in making verified knowledge claims?

Cooper will lead a journey into citizen science, and its successes and failures.

This event will challenge you to think differently about the structure of the scientific enterprise, about who is served, who is underserved, and why the participatory sciences are part of helping humanity meet grand challenges.

Cooper is an associate professor in the Department of Forestry & Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University, in the Chancellor's Faculty Excellence Program in Leadership in Public Science.

Cooper uses geospatial analytics to discern large-scale patterns across the natural and built environments to gain insights into the ecology, evolution, and conservation of birds, as well as expose racial and economic inequities in environmental hazards and in the representativeness of environmental data itself. She develops public science programs that focus volunteer interests towards the generation of large-scale data to study and visualize the interactions between social and ecological systems.

Prior to her faculty appointment, she worked for almost 15 years at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where she has published research with citizen science data from projects such as NestWatch, Project FeederWatch, Christmas Bird Count, and the Breeding Bird Survey.

Cooper's current citizen science project, Crowd the Tap, is an investigation of safe drinking water. She is director of research partnerships at, an online hub for citizen science. She served on the board of the Citizen Science Association (2017-2020) and led the committee to create a new journal, "Citizen Science: Theory and Practice," and currently serves as the editor of "Special Collections." She is co-chair of the international CODATA-WDS Task Group on Citizen Science and the Validation, Curation, and Management of Crowdsourced Data. Cooper is also co-author of "The Field Guide to Citizen Science: How You Can Contribute to Scientific Research and Make a Difference."

The Arts & Lecture Series is hosted by Fermilab. For more info about all Fermilab events, go to

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.