Google Global Impact Award Expands Zooniverse, a Project Led by the Adler Planetarium and University of Oxford

Chicago, IL –(ENEWSPF)–December 12, 2013. A $1.8 million Google Global Impact Award will enable Zooniverse, a nonprofit collaboration led by the Adler Planetarium and the University of Oxford, to make setting up a citizen science project as easy as starting a blog and could lead to thousands of innovative new projects around the world, accelerating the pace of scientific research.

The award supports the further development of the Zooniverse, the world’s leading ‘citizen science’ platform, which has already given more than 900,000 online volunteers the chance to contribute to science by taking part in activities including discovering planets, classifying plankton or searching through old ship’s logs for observations of interest to climate scientists. As part of the Global Impact Award, the Adler will receive $400,000 to support the Zooniverse platform.

With the Google Global Impact Award, Zooniverse will be able to rebuild their platform so that research groups with no web development expertise can build and launch their own citizen science projects.

“We are entering a new era of citizen science – this effort will enable prolific development of science projects in which hundreds of thousands of additional volunteers will be able to work alongside professional scientists to conduct important research – the potential for discovery is limitless,” said Michelle B. Larson, Ph.D., Adler Planetarium president and CEO.

“The Adler is honored to join its fellow Zooniverse partner, the University of Oxford, as a Google Global Impact Award recipient.”

The Zooniverse-the world’s leading citizen science platform – is a global collaboration across several institutions that design and build citizen science projects. The Adler is a founding partner of the Zooniverse, which has already engaged more than 900,000 online volunteers as active scientists by discovering planets, mapping the surface of Mars and detecting solar flares.

Adler-directed citizen science projects include: Galaxy Zoo (astronomy), Solar Stormwatch (solar physics), Moon Zoo (planetary science), Planet Hunters (exoplanets) and The Milky Way Project (star formation).The Zooniverse ( also includes projects in environmental, biological and medical sciences.

Google’s investment in the Adler and its Zooniverse partner, the University of Oxford, will further the global reach, making thousands of new projects possible.

“By removing technical barriers to producing a first-class online citizen science project, science teams worldwide will be empowered to undertake projects they couldn’t otherwise complete without engaging the public directly with their research,” said Laura Whyte, Ph.D., director, Adler Planetarium Citizen Science Department.

“Here in Chicago, the Adler will also extend the Zooniverse to schools, youth organizations and community groups to provide unique, authentic science experiences. Google’s Global Impact Award will make it possible for anybody, anywhere to create their own citizen science project.”

The Google Global Impact Award supports organizations using technology and innovative approaches to tackle some of the toughest human challenges. They are awarded annually to nonprofit organizations with a specific project that tests a big game-changing idea.

About the Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium – America’s First Planetarium – was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. A recognized leader in public learning, the Adler inspires young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Scientists, historians and educators at the museum inspire the next generation of explorers.