Galaxy Zoo Starburst Talk

Reviving and Completing the Quench Project: A Proposal

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    We earnestly request that you make public the Quench project clicks database, in a form similar to the Galaxy Zoo 2 data release.

    We would also urge you to publicly commit to work actively with us on the Quench project, following the original project design, right through to the end of Stage 3.

    As of December, 2013, there were several different investigations under way, most of which seem scientifically promising; for example Mass Dependent Merger Fraction (Control vs Post-quenched Sample), and Asymmetrical Classifications. Once the Quench project is revived, we intend to continue these.

    This post gives a brief description of the background to, and current status of, the Quench project, and its scientific nature.

    Chris Molloy, Jean Tate, Jules, mlpeck

    We are ordinary zooites who were active in the Galaxy Zoo Quench project at the time the serious problem with the integrity of the classifications in the Quench Control and Quench Sample databases (used in Tools) was reported.

    The Galaxy Zoo Quench project is described in this "Project Overview" document.

    Stage 1 - "Classification" - took somewhat longer than expected, partly because the Control sample contained duplicates which had to be removed and replaced (and classified, in the Quench Boost phase), but was completed before the end of August, 2013.

    Stage 2 - "Data Analysis & Discussion" - was pretty rocky, with a lot of good discussion on many topics, but also at least one major revision to the classifications parts of the catalogs used in Tools (which are, to date, the only complete databases available to zooite participants); see this post by SCIENTIST mzevin1, dated September 26 2013. By mid December, 2013, there were five zooites still active - ChrisMolloy, JeanTate, jules, mlpeck, and zutopian - one SCIENTIST (trouille), and one Development Team member (edpaget).

    Between 17 and 20 December, 2013 the Quench project Tools databases ("dataset" or "Quench tables") were changed, at least twice; these contain thousands of differences, when compared with the databases made available in late September. Many of those differences are in the summary zooite classifications, which are at the heart of this project (details are in this thread). The Quench project came to a halt.

    The Quench project as science

    In launching Quench, ltrouille wrote "this new Galaxy Zoo Quench project provides the opportunity to take part in the ENTIRE scientific process – everything from classifying galaxies to analyzing results to collaborating with astronomers to writing a scientific article!"

    Within the Zooniverse, there are only two other comparable projects, SpaceWarps and Planet Hunters. Not being professional scientists, we cannot say - from first-hand experience - to what extent our experience in Quench is typical of collaborative astronomical research; however, by comparing what's in the public record - mostly the Talks of those two other Zooniverse projects - there seem to be two huge differences with what we have experienced:

    • participants in those projects have direct access to the data they need in order to do the data analysis which leads to the writing of professional journal articles

    • professional astronomers are very actively engaged.

    Further, anyone wishing to do research based on zooites' Galaxy Zoo 2 clicks - to take just one example - can easily and freely access a much richer dataset of classifications than those provided in Quench (see here for details).

    So, if we have access to Quench classifications data to the same level of detail as is available in the Galaxy Zoo 2 catalog, we should be able to complete Stage 2.

    And if we have a comparable level of involvement by professional astronomers as in SpaceWarps and Planet Hunters - and as was clearly intended ("Throughout, [volunteers will] discuss with the science team their interpretation of the results. At the end of the process, volunteers and the science team will collaboratively write a 4-page Astrophysical Journal article") - we should also be able to complete Stage 3 successfully.


  • trouille by trouille scientist, moderator, admin

    Jean et al.,

    Thank you for your post/email and all your energy and enthusiasm in Quench. It is so very much appreciated.

    To respond to your first question -- the short answer is yes, but it may take a little while. I tried to find the post in Quench talk from a few months ago where I shared the full results from the classification clicks. No luck*, but I didn't spend too much time searching because the file is in a rather hard to digest format. I've emailed Kyle to see if he can convert this into an easier to use/read/make sense of format that he can post to Quench talk so that anyone can easily use it.

    To address your more important point -- YES, I can speak for myself to stress that I'm fully committed to seeing Quench through the final phase. I know others in the science team are as well (though, not unexpectedly, people's time is limited). On my end, I've been working against an NSF proposal deadline and haven't been able to give Quench the time it deserves since the holidays. Your post/email is a very useful call to action and very much appreciated. Thankfully, our internal deadline for the proposal is this Wednesday, which means I can turn my attention back to Quench shortly.

    I will be active on Quench Talk starting Wednesday and I hope Kyle will be able to follow up soon with a good file format for the classification click results.

    Take care,

    *The NSF proposal I'm working on includes budget for a web developer to work on improving Zooniverse infrastructure for projects like Quench, including improvements to the discussion forum format (so we can more easily find related posts).


  • klmasters by klmasters scientist

    There seems to be two threads. I responded here:

    Cheers, Karen.