"Hundreds of citizen scientists without any formal materials engineering background are advancing the field through Materials Discovery—an initiative led by Carla Gomes, Professor of Computer and Information Science, and Bruce van Dover, Chair of Materials Science and Engineering.

Searching through a seemingly infinite amount of x-ray diffraction data from the synchrotron and other sources involves tremendous amounts of computational power and human insight. But by combining computational techniques with a citizen science community that can identify simple patterns within images, Gomes’ lab can analyze over one-million different combinations of materials in a single day. Using the UDiscoverIt platform on their home computers, citizen scientists can volunteer—and sometimes earn cash—by combing through images, searching for patterns representing crystal structures that are optimized for sustainable technologies like hydrogen fuel cells and solar cells."

For more information:  http://www.engineering.cornell.edu/magazine/features/materials-to-do-anything-under-the-sun.cfm.