NOAA's Science On a Sphere® Opens at The Tech Museum in California

View from Space, the newly installed Science On a Sphere® (SOS) exhibit, opens on March 31st at The Tech Museum of Innovation located in downtown San Jose, California. During the week of March 6th, a team from the Global Systems Division's Technology Outreach Branch installed the exhibit. This was made possible through the support of an Environmental Literacy grant awarded by NOAA's Office of Education.

The Tech is a science and technology showcase that attracts nearly 400,000 school children and visitors annually. Their Vice President of Operations and Technology, Greg Brown, said, "The exhibit brings both the beauty and fragility of our environment to life. Our mission is to inspire our visitors and View from Space will certainly do that."

Initial SOS presentations at The Tech will focus on Earth's climate and topography. For example, the globe will visualize how the Pacific Plate slides past the North American Plate along the San Andreas Fault Line. One hundred years ago, the result of this movement was the devastating San Francisco Earthquake.

The Tech is an appropriate location for the NOAA Exhibit since Dr. Alexander MacDonald, Acting Director of the Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, received a Tech Museum award for his work developing Science on a Sphere® in 2003. The awards are given to innovators who develop technology benefiting humanity.

Background: Science On a Sphere® is a unique visualization technology that was invented by Dr. Sandy MacDonald, Acting 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.

Significance: 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. To view details about the exhibit at the Tech Museum of Innovation go to their Web site.

Contact information
Name: William Bendel
Tel: 303-497-6708
William.B.Bendel@noaa.gov