ESRL Global Systems Division

Fulbright Scholarship Activities at ESRL

On Saturday, November 18th, ESRL's Global Systems Division hosted the Fulbright Association Colorado Chapter for a demonstration of Science On a Sphere® at the David Skaggs Research Center in Boulder, Colorado. The group was made up of Fulbright alumni from the U.S. and Fulbright scholars and students from England, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Bahrain, Iran, Pakistan, Morocco, Brazil, the Philippines, and South Korea.

Using the international language of science and education, Will von Dauster, from the ESRL Global Systems Division, highlighted how connected the world really is with an hour and a half presentation using Science On a Sphere®. By discussing the global displays of atmospheric conditions, connections between ocean currents as they flow around the Earth, tsunami modeling, and other phenomena, a better understanding of the Earth's environment was obtained by the entire group of visitors. Some comments received from the evaluations included: "an amazing use of technology!" and "(I liked) the chance to see and learn in a new perspective, familiar science using one of the most interesting and innovative technologies in the world for this area of knowledge."

Of particular value was supporting Fulbright in their mission to increase international understanding.

To view pictures taken during this visit, click on the activities photo album at

Last summer, ESRL's Global Systems Division hosted Elizabeth Russell, a Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program Intern from Penn State University. Ms. Russell did an excellent job working on Science On a Sphere® activities during her 10-week stay. That included writing descriptions for the data sets shown on Science On a Sphere®. This work was compiled into five categories and organized into a data catalog. Beth also assisted the Science On a Sphere® team with demonstrations of data sets on the sphere.

This fall we were pleased to support Ms. Russell's application to become a Fulbright scholar next fall at the National Central University in Chung-Li, Taiwan. We will learn the outcome of that application next quarter.

Science On a Sphere® is a unique visualization technology that was invented by Dr. Sandy MacDonald, Director of the Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, CO. In August of 2005 NOAA received a patent for Science On a Sphere®. Using computers coupled with video projectors, the system presents NOAA's global science in an engaging three-dimensional representation of the Earth's features as if they were viewed from space. It is currently being installed at museums and science centers throughout the United States.

One of NOAA's main mission goals is "Serve Society's Needs for Weather and Water Information" and its performance objective is to enhance environmental literacy and improve understanding, value, and use of weather and water information and services. Science On a Sphere® maps directly into that goal. This innovative technology is intended to educate multigenerational audiences about ongoing NOAA research being conducted at many laboratories and to inspire students so that they might investigate scientific career paths.

Contact information
Name: William Bendel
Tel: 303-497-6708