Dr. Lucy Fortson is a Professor of Physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota. She is an observational astrophysicist using very-high-energy gamma ray telescopes to probe jets of matter and radiation that emanate from the region surrounding supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. She is also a founding member of the Zooniverse project (www.zooniverse.org) and a leading expert in the field of “crowdsourcing science”. With over 1.6 million volunteers and 120 projects covering a wide range of disciplines, the Zooniverse provides opportunities for volunteer citizens to contribute to discovery research by using their pattern matching skills to perform simple data analysis tasks. Fortson leads the Zooniverse team developing human-computation algorithms to maximize the utility of the citizen science method of data processing. These methods are critical to tackling the large amounts of data that are expected to come from the next generation of Astronomy observatories including the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Cherenkov Telescope Array.
Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy and Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics