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What we still don’t know

11 Jul 2012, 21:38 UTC
What we still don’t know
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by Chris Lintott
I used to think that science was about discovery, about adding certainty to what we know about the Universe. Discoveries happen, of course, but I’ve learned that the really exciting stuff happens not when we expand our knowledge, but our ignorance; progress is measured in the number of unanswered questions we have. After all, any good result raises more of those than it answers.
I have this in mind because today is the 5th anniversary of the launch of Galaxy Zoo, and it’s tempting to write about how we – with your help – have magnificently fulfilled the vision we had back in 2007. After all, in that first story on the BBC news website; a youthful version of me chirps that “We hope that participants in Galaxy Zoo will not only contribute to science, but have a lot of fun along the way”. Science? Check. Fun? Check..
But did we really understand what we were getting into? Certainly not. We’ve rehearsed before the story that we didn’t understand the size of the response we would get, nor the undimmed enthusiasm for sharing in exploring the Universe that still motivates volunteers today. But on launch, we didn’t ...

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