The Citizen Science Movement


Interview with Sean Bonner, citizen scientist and founder of Safecast, a lay nuclear radiation monitoring group founded a week after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima.

Bonner started Safecast when the Japanese government failed to disseminate adequate information about radiation levels following the Fukushima diasaster. Using mobile radiation detectors mounted to vehicles, Bonner and his volunteers produced complete radiation maps of northern Japan that forced the government to release data they were trying to cover up and alter they evacuation zones.Since then, volunteers have joined from all over the world are are helping to map radiation levels on the West Coast.

All the information on Bonner’s website (, which includes detailed instructions on building radiation detectors, is totally Open Source. In the age of corruption and cover-up, Bonner feels it’s absolutely essential that citizens develop the ability to produce their own science – instead of relying on government and academic experts.

Bonner also comments on the related topic of Internet freedom and the danger of political movements relying on private companies, such as Facebook, for information sharing.

photo credit: pasukaru76 via photopin cc