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Elementary students ask questions of UC San Diego’s Albert Lin in front of VR display at Desert Research Institute in Reno

April 14, 2014

UC San Diego Research Scentist Honored with DRI Nevada Medal

Qualcomm institute research scientist Albert Lin accepted the 27th Desert Research Institute Nevada Medal for his “pioneering work in a new era of digital exploration and science education through public engagement.” Lin was honored in part because of his National Geographic crowdsourcing campaign in which the public was asked to participate in analyzing satellite images of Mongolia for signs of where the lost burial site of Genghis Khan could be. As part of the crowdsourcing effort, Lin led high-tech expeditions to Mongolia, where his team used unmanned aerial vehicles, ground penetrating radar, magnetometry and other geo-physical instrument to investigate the most promising destinations observed by the crowd. “We looked at over 100 different sites, and 55 of them were Bronze Age tombs,” he told the rapt audience. At one historically significant location, identified by the Mongolian government as the country’s most sacred mountain, “trees were falling down, and the roots of these trees brought up ceramic pieces, including one with the face of a lion, and as we began walking on the plateau, we could hear ceramics crunching under foot, and it became clear that we were walking on the tiled roof of a structure.”

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