Smartphones Open Up Science To Everyone

Staff Writer | Laboratory Equipment | December 18, 2013

That smartphone in your purse or pocket isn’t just for viewing movies and checking Facebook. By putting data collection, visualization and learning in the palm of your hand, it’s helping to transform science education and open up unprecedented opportunities for citizen science.

That’s the message of a persuasive new peer-reviewed commentary published by two Duke Univ. faculty members in EOS, the weekly magazine of the American Geophysical Union.

“With more than 6 billion smartphones and mobile devices being used worldwide, this technology presents enormous possibilities – especially for the environmental sciences,” says Zackary Johnson, Arthur P. Kaupe Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

“We need to stop telling students, ‘It’s time for class; put your smartphones away,’ and start telling them, ‘Take your phones out now and let’s use them for science,’” Johnson says.