It seems that whenever we meet someone new, one of the first questions is: “What do you do?”
You may have a traditional title of doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, IT.
Or maybe a more adventurous career of fire fighter, law enforcement.
Or possibly something more independent such as entrepreneur, freelancer, writer.
What about something sexy like pilot, actor… uh, stripper? 🙂
You could even say you are an early retiree or financially independent, but that doesn’t really explain ‘what you do’.
And, what if you are just tired or bored with your chosen career, whether you still work in your field, or not?
While it would best to be able to do away with titles altogether, that isn’t too realistic in these modern times… mostly because people are just too darn curious to know what we do with our time.
SOOOO…. if you’re brave enough, how cool would it be when the next time you are at a party or meet someone new, you could respond by saying: “I’m a Muon Hunter”, or “I’m a Gravity Spy”? Just watch the looks on their faces.
But you ask, is this real? Yes.
How? Become a Citizen Scientist. For free. No experience necessary.
If you want more passive participation, then just lend your computer idle time to:
- SETI@home and search for life outside of our planet. (setiathome.berkeley.edu)
- Einstein@home and search for gravitational waves. (einsteinathome.org)
- Or, become a carbon detective.
However, if you want something much more active, then check out Zooniverse.org. You will actually view captured footage and classify scientific data.
[Don’t worry, if you are wrong, they will assure you that you “won’t break science”. They have means to filter through the responses.]
Categories range from physics to history to art to nature & wildlife, so there is something for everyone’s interest.
You could participate in:
- identifying and classifying galaxies, moons and planets (and hunt for muons)
- watching penguins, whales, or chimps
- viewing wildlife in the Amazon, Serengeti, or even in the urban ‘jungle’ of Chicago
- interpreting letters from WW1 or making Shakespearian translations
And, some very non-scientists have actually made discoveries that have been named after them. Research papers will even list the names of the participants who helped with the research and discovery…
… just in case your nosey neighbor (or you mom) wants proof of “what you do”. 🙂
What do you think? Would this be something you would be interested in?