Citizen Science 2.0

The next level in citizen science to advance scientific research and the common good.

Event Details


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


April 09, 2016 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)



Citizen science—the direct involvement of the public in scientific research—has been part of the scientific enterprise for over a century. The internet has elevated citizen science to a new level by connecting large networks of people around the world with shared scientific interests.

This symposium focuses on the next level in the development of citizen science as a tool to advance scientific research and the common good. The next generation of citizen science projects will go further by distributing and opening up the entire scientific process, from the choice of topic, hypothesis generation and sample selection all the way to analysis, interpretation and dissemination.

This event is part of ETH Meets California, a series of programs in the San Francisco Bay Area between April 6-15, 2016, organized by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) and its presenting partners.


7:00 pm          doors open
7:30 pm          talks and Q&A
9:00 pm          networking reception
10:00 pm        doors close


Kevin Schawinski

pic Kevin SchawinskiKevin Schawinski is a professor of galaxy and black hole astrophysics at ETH Zurich and the co-founder of the Galaxy Zoo online citizen science project that has engaged over a million people in scientific research. His research focuses on the impact of the energy released by black hole growth on the formation and evolution of galaxies and discovering the ultimate origin of supermassive black holes in the Universe. After completing his D.Phil in three years at Oxford University, for which he won the Royal Astronomical Society’s thesis prize, he moved to Yale University and won a NASA Einstein Fellowship. He has now returned to Switzerland as an assistant professor and where he continues his passionate support of public involvement in scientific research.


Lucy Fortson

Lucy Fortson is a founding member of the Zooniverse project, a current Board Chair for the Citizen Science Alliance, and a leading expert in the field of “crowdsourcing science”. With ~1.5 million users worldwide contributing to a range of active online citizen science projects (from supernova detection to classification of cancer cells, hurricanes and galaxies), the Zooniverse is a partner to knowledge discovery with large data sets while engaging the public in the process of research. Recently, Fortson has been involved with pushing the development of human-computation algorithms to maximize the utility of the citizen science method of data processing in preparation for the onslaught of data from next-generation astronomical observatories. Dr. Fortson is Associate Head and Associate Professor of Physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota.

Ulrich Genick

Ulrich Genick started out studying biochemistry in Berlin, Germany and went on to do research in structural biology and biophysics at the Scripps Research Institute, The Salk Institute and Brandeis University. He changed continents and research focus when he moved to the NRC in Lausanne, Switzerland to lead a large-scale study on the interplay of human genetics, metabolism and taste perception. He joined the ETH’s Institute of Molecular Systems Biology in 2014 as lecturer and senior scientist where he is setting up a citizen science project on the genetic factors that shape individual taste and smell perception. Ulrich is an active advocate for the individual citizen’s right to access and actively use all of his/her personal health-related data. Towards this goal he co-founded the MIDATA health data cooperative in 2015.

Dirk Helbing

Dirk Helbing is Professor of Computational Social Science at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences and affiliate of the Computer Science Department at ETH Zurich. He is internationally known for his work on pedestrian crowds, vehicle traffic, and agent-based models of social systems. Furthermore, he coordinates the FuturICT Initiative, which focuses on the understanding of techno-socio-economic systems, using smart data. Helbing is an elected member of the prestigious German Academy of Sciences “Leopoldina” and worked for the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Complex Systems. In 2013, he became a board member of the Global Brain Institute in Brussels. On January 10, 2014, he received a honorary PhD from Delft University of Technology, where he is now heading the PhD program “Engineering Social Technologies for a Responsible Digital Future”.

Adrien Treuille

Adrien Treuille is VP of simulation at Zoox. Before this he ran a project at Google X, and was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the co-creator of Foldit and Eterna, crowdsourcing platforms which have enabled over half a million computer gamers to help solve real scientific problems. He has given invited talks around the world, including to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and has won numerous scientific awards, including the MIT TR35. In 2013, a PBS/NOVA-produced documentary segment about Dr. Treuille life won the AAAS Kavli Award (the “Pulitzer Prize of scientific journalism”).

More info

ETH Meets California is a program from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) that brings some of its top researchers to California to unravel the mysteries of science and technology in an exchange of ideas with west coast counterparts in academia and industry. From Black Holes and Citizen Science to Cybersecurity and Flying Robots; from Earthquakes to a Hackathon; and from Robotics for Parathletes to Future Cities, ETH invites you to participate in a series of free public gatherings that connect a community of scientists, engineers, industry leaders, politicians, and students.

Join ETH Zurich and its presenting partners: 3D Robotics, Cisco, Disney Research Zurich, Ericsson, GoPro, Google, IBM, Pixar, SmarterBetterCities, Swisscom, swissnex San Francisco, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Urban Hive, Wingtra, the Mixing Bowl and the World Food Systems Center in the San Francisco Bay Area.  



Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos