Welcome to the main page for Public Laboratory for Los Angeles.
Public Lab Organizers in the Los Angeles area
- Sara Sage (Val Verde, CA)
- Claudia Martinez Mansell (LA & Bourj Al Shamali, Lebanon)
- Maria del Carmen Lamadrid (Los Angeles, CA)
- Lauren Sullivan (Los Angeles, CA)
Other Organizers in California:
- Matt Pendergraft (San Diego, CA)
- Victor Sinatra (Salinas, CA)
- Pat Coyle (Livermore, CA)
- Stewart Long (Oakland, CA)
- Mathew Xi (Oakland, CA)
About the LA Maker Space
There is a physical location for meetings at the LA Makerspace. This is a citizen science group is at the Pio Pico library in Koreatown, Los Angeles 694 S Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005
What is it? Citizen science is the practice of science by those who are not members of the professional scientific community. This can be done by members of the public in conjunction with a research group at a university, a non-profit, or by a completely self-organized group.
Who can get involved? Anyone really. As long as someone has the interest and motivation they help contribute to the scientific community. Learning and expertise on a topic will grow out of this. Although different projects will require different skill sets, so some research work may not be feasible before someone is in high school or later.
Why do this? For the reason anyone gets involved in science: the world is too interesting to not ask questions. For students it's also a great opportunity to learn science by actually doing science.
What's the goal? To establish a network of research groups in Los Angeles, with at least one dedicated community lab space, for high school students to work on various research projects. This same space would also serve as a space for teachers to learn about how to connect current science to their teaching, and even get involved in the research work themselves.
What has been done? There are thousands of citizen science projects all over the world. Through the citizen science work I've been doing with high school students I've been involved in the following:
Citizen science projects in our community
Mapping the waste stream of Southern California
Mapping the waste stream of Southern California - Residents in Val Verde advocate for appropriate waste handling in regard to their close neighbor, Southern California's largest landfill. Val Verde residents hosted the 2016 Barnraising.
Safecast radiation - Started in response to the Fukushima meltdown, this project has led to the development and deployment of a large network of radiation monitors and the creation of a public database of radiation levels across large portions of the planet.
Safecast air - The next step in the Safecast network is the creation of an air quality monitoring network which will allow anyone in the world to monitor their local air quality and check a public database with current statistics on air quality elsewhere in the world.
Global Sensor Web
The Global Sensor Web is an online service and application which allows for the public to use a network of devices, such as mobile phones, to monitor their environment. The information gathered from these devices and their on-board sensors, such as magnetic field strength from a phone’s compass, will then be logged in an open online server in an easy to query database for both members of academia and the general public. These data sets can also be concatenated with other public geotagged data sets, such as climatic data from NOAA or seismology data from the USGS, to provide for a richer data set to look for potential patterns in nature over large geospatial scales. We are also developing an online data aggregation and analysis platform for hosting a variety of citizen science projects so anyone with a mobile device will be able to collect scientific data, and anyone with an internet connection will be able to analyze scientific data.
Distributed Electronic Cosmic-ray Observatory - This project involves the use and testing of an Android app which turns the camera chips in phones into distributed cosmic-ray detectors. This project will enable users to help study the nature of rare and high energy space-based phenomena by running the application on the their phone at night.
Natural History Museum
BioSCAN - The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles has a well-establish group of citizen science projects. One of the newer project, BioSCAN, will monitor local climate and insect biodiversity across the LA Basin and allow for biologists to study the relationship between climate and the evolutionary trajectories of different species.
Reefquest is a project to monitor the health of reef sites, and to provide the tools for citizenscientists to help with the monitoring efforts remotely. In Reefquest our dive team has captured a large number of high resolution images of target reef sites in order to measure the health of the sites from color data. This data is also being merged with remotely logged temperature data, which can be used to infer local current velocities, allowing for potential tracking of the point source pollution and elevated heat levels which are damaging to the reef ecosystem.