Pause for a moment and think about the 750,000+ classifications achieved by BashTheBug in its first year of existence: that is an enormous number. The next thought is usually who are the 10,000+ volunteers, the Citizen Scientists who contribute their time and energy to the project? We have not yet met any of you – until recently that is. Let me introduce you to Samir, who we met at a public engagement event.
It all happened at the Oxford Brookes Science Bazaar in February 2018. Samir, accompanied by his mum Natalie, visited our stand. We had BashTheBug displayed on a touch-sensitive SMARTboard and it was great to see such an intelligent, inquisitive young man not wasting the chance to nail a few more classifications there and then.
True to his name—which means jovial and loyal to a purpose— Samir asked me numerous questions, suggesting explanations for some atypical images he had spotted whilst diligently working on BashTheBug.
I was proud and happy to see that the scientific enterprise Samir and I and all of us here have embarked on is actually a cloud of meaningful interactions, on- and off-line. It’s about instilling, at any point in life, an appreciation for uncovering the unknown, discussing it with others, sharing knowledge, thinking about possibilities. We work on the same manuscript, thousands of pairs of hands writing the codes and binding the pages.
So cheers to BashTheBug, a place to learn from and draw upon! Cheers to Samir and his family, and to you all, for making this enterprise real!