SOBA: Citizen Science

Join a discussion about how amateur scientists contribute to discoveries.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


October 31, 2012 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-07:00)

Science Online Bay Area is all about how science is carried out and communicated online. As part of the Bay Area Science festival, SOBA opens up the debate to the larger community and addresses the question of citizen science with amateur scientists and professional researchers.

“DIY science,” “science hacking,” “citizen science” – these are just some of the many terms used to describe the experiments of amateur scientists, a trend that’s been evolving for more than 20 years. In garages, kitchens, and community labs, these “new” scientists shed light onto how science happens and occasionally contribute to exciting discoveries.  But how do they interact with professionals?  Science Online Bay Area and Swissnex San Francisco invite the public to attend a talk with citizen scientists and researchers to share their views on this new interface between science and society.

Presentations are followed by a panel discussion, audience Q&A, and follow-up conversation at a nearby bar (to be announced at the event). During the discussion portion of the evening, we’ll probe the challenges and opportunities of citizen science. Bring your questions!

*Presentations and discussion livestreamed. Follow the event on Twitter (@sciobayarea and #sobay), like SOBA on Facebook, and visit the Science Online Bay Area blog for event recaps, news, and more.


Roberta Ayres

Roberta Ayres is currently an education consultant for the Gulf of Guinea Biodiversity Project education component at the California Academy of Sciences Department of Herpetology. For the past twelve years, Roberta has managed a cadre of educational programs and initiatives including citizen science projects. She was an integral part developing, launching, and managing the first Citizen Science project by the California Academy of Sciences. Roberta was a key member of the organizing committee for the first West Coast Citizen Science Convening in April 2012. The convening brought together more than 50 professionals in the field for discussions and exchange of ideas and experiences on citizen-science best practices. Roberta received her bachelor of science in biology at Mackenzie University, São Paulo, Brazil, and a master’s in science education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


Kristina Hathaway

Kristina Hathaway is a consultant, strategist, and entrepreneur focused on the life sciences industry. She is the chief operating officer and co-founder of BioCurious, the first and largest hackerspace for biology in the United States. She has a deep understanding of open science and the emerging grassroots biotech culture, creating communities where biotech can thrive and contribute. Kristina has led human resources, operations, and administration for a variety of large and small organizations, and she excels at helping transform early stage companies into full commercial enterprises.


Ariel Waldman

Ariel Waldman is the founder of, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration, and the global instigator of Science Hack Day, an event that brings together scientists, technologists, designers and people with good ideas to see what they can create in one weekend. She is also an interaction designer, a research affiliate at Institute For The Future, and an advisor for the SETI Institute‘s radio show, Big Picture Science. Previously, she worked at NASA’s CoLab program whose mission was to connect communities inside and outside NASA to collaborate. Ariel has also been a sci-fi movie gadget columnist for Engadget and a digital anthropologist at VML. In 2008, she was named one of the top 50 most influential individuals in Silicon Valley.



Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos