You don't need a Ph.D. to work on serious scientific research—all you need is a computer connected to the Internet. Choose a project (or several) that interests you:
Climateprediction.net is the largest experiment trying to produce a forecast of the climate in the 21st century. Climate change and our response to it are issues of global importance, affecting food production, water resources, ecosystems, energy demand, insurance costs, and more. There is a broad scientific consensus that the Earth will probably warm over the coming century; climateprediction.net may, for the first time, tell us what is most likely to happen. Join the team.
Albert Einstein discovered long ago that we are adrift in a universe filled with waves from space. Colliding black holes, collapsing stars, and spinning pulsars create ripples in the fabric of space and time that subtly distort the world around us. These gravitational waves have eluded scientists for nearly a century. Through exciting new experiments, scientists will catch the waves in action, opening a whole new window on the universe—but scientists need your help to do it.
The goal of Predictor@home is to answer biomedical questions and investigate protein-related diseases. Every function of a living cell depends on proteins. Proteins are made from a sequence of amino acids, and this project tries to predict what kinds of protein structures will develop from different sequences. There are many new theoretical methods for predicting protein structure, and Predictor@home allows you to help scientists test and evaluate these methods.
Forget X-Files. SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a real scientific effort seeking an answer to the question, "Does intelligent life exist in the Milky Way beyond Earth?" One tool SETI researchers use in their work is radio SETI, which listens for artificial radio signals coming from other stars. SETI@home allows you to join the effort to find ET.
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