ESRL Global Systems Division

SOS is the Centerpiece of the New Ocean Explorium Exhibit

The 18th Science On a Sphere® (SOS) installation took place in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the week of December 3. Hanging as the centerpiece in the Ocean Explorium exhibit, the brilliant sphere made an enormous impact on the project's donors who were allowed a sneak preview before the grand opening. Bob Feingold, Chair and President of the New Bedford Oceanarium said, "The Sphere surpassed expectations. The resolution, color, brightness, and its seamlessness were all excellent."

The Ocean Explorium at New Bedford Seaport is the outcome of an important partnership between the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the New Bedford Oceanarium formed to design and provide a unique and effective vehicle for educating the public about the oceans, with a particular emphasis on environmental stewardship. Once again visitors were awestruck by how SOS brings science to life in an understandable way. Feingold confirmed that when he said, "The programming sampler demonstrated that the Sphere is an impressive teaching machine; the visual impact drives the lessons home in an unforgettable way."

Located in the magnificent lobby of a stately historic building that once housed the local Institution for Savings, this display is unique in its exhibit design. On entering the Ocean Explorium, visitors are captivated by a luminescent cube–a metaphorical slice of the ocean.


Drawing by cosestudi.

SOS is housed inside this cube. Together these elements create the visual heart of the lobby and the Explorium's most impressive attraction.


Drawing by cosestudi.

Science On a Sphere® is a unique visualization technology that was invented by Dr. Sandy MacDonald, Director of the Earth System Research Laboratory. 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 being installed at museums and science centers throughout the United States and the world.

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
William.B.Bendel@noaa.gov