Galaxy Zoo: Human guided in-browser optimization

Lead Research Organisation: University of Portsmouth
Department Name: Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation


This PhD project, partially funded by a Google Research Grant is at the interface between machine learning, and crowdsourced analytics for astronomy. During the PhD Tom will develop a browser-based tool that will be used by citizen scientists to generate robust 3-dimensional models for a large number of galaxies observed the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. This will be deployed as a project in Galaxy Zoo ( Tom will then use the models to create mass functions of the separate components of galaxies (bulge, disc, spiral).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/N504245/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2021
1813518 Studentship ST/N504245/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2020 Timothy Kenneth Lingard
ST/R505018/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021
1813518 Studentship ST/R505018/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2020 Timothy Kenneth Lingard
Title Galaxy Builder photometric model dataset 
Description This is a small set of detailed photometric models of 300+ spiral galaxies collected as part of the award. This detailed dataset is larger than any other comparable dataset, and has the potential to be used for analysis of spiral arm formation mechanisms, galaxy stellar population analysis and more. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This database will be made use of in upcoming research examining the winding of spiral arms in galaxies (performed by this research team). 
Title Galaxy Model rendering software inside the Zooniverse Panoptes-Front-End software stack 
Description This software enables WebGL - optimised calculation of photometric models of galaxies inside the Zooniverse citizen science website. The software was first merged into the existing repository in March 2018, with a number of bug-fixes over the following few months. Interactive model rendering is a new frontier for Web-based citizen science, and the software developed for this award provides a good first step towards opening up itizen science to more complex, involved tasks. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2018 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The software is available for other projects to implement, though none have done so at the time of writing. 
Description Galaxy Zoo blog post 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A post was published in the Galaxy Zoo blog detailing the potential research methods and outcomes of the citizen science project developed for the award. This post helped increase interest in the project and increase the rate of classification for a short time.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018