3D Visualizations for Public Explorations of Current Astrophysical Research

High Energy Physics Seminar, Michigan State University.

19 October 2004

R. Landsberg

Abstract: Interactive 3-D visualizations are a compelling tool to connect museum visitors with evolving scientific research (e.g., the Large-Scale Structure of the Universe being mapped by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey). Immersive electronic media allows people to experience scientific discoveries as they unfold and to visit otherwise inaccessible worlds such as a quark's view of a particle accelerator or telescopes in Antarctica. Electronic exhibits are flexible and adaptable on timescales of days compared to years for physical displays, which means they are well positioned to exploit real and theoretical data streams (e.g., Mars Rovers images). Until recently, interactive immersive technology was prohibitively expensive and complex. However, it is now possible to create robust, commodity hardware based, visualization systems (e.g., the stereoscopic projection system know as the Geowall www.geowall.org). In this presentation I will briefly describe our motivation for working with electronic media, our dissemination plans, and the technology that we are utilizing. The majority of the presentation will be used to describe and explore the 3D visuals with a portable geowall system. Many of our visualizations can be previewed in 2D at the Cosmus web site: astro.uchicago.edu/cosmus. KICP's education & outreach programs are described at cfcp.uchicago.edu/education