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Data field and modern amateur science

Chet describes the surfeit of data that is readily available and what that means in WikiScience.

The professionals with all that government funding are building tools and instruments to collect data. That data is no longer a photograph of the stars or of a cloud chamber or a chart of weather station temperatures but rather a digital database ready for automated browsing.

And the computers we have these days – plus the tools to program them – make going through massive amounts of data within the capabilities of nearly anyone.

That is why you see stories of some young kid who discovers a new super nova first or finds some other strange object in space; why climate research has hit a whole lot of embarrassing questions; and why even the pros are getting unto network shared computing sources for analyzing protein folding and other complex problems.

We are back to the age when anyone can do good, bleeding edge, science. This time, though, you don’t need a lot of wealth to have at it.

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