ESRL Global Systems Division

24th Science On a Sphere® Installation

NOAA's 24th Science On a Sphere® was installed the week of August 4th at the International Museum of Art and Science (IMAS) in McAllen, Texas. This museum is focused on promoting a deeper appreciation of the arts and sciences through exhibitions, cultural events, and education programs for the city and the entire Rio Grande Valley. IMAS provides opportunities for families to participate in hands-on art and science activities through education classes for adults and children.

Dr. John Gerling, President of the IMAS Board and the driving focus for getting Science On a Sphere into the museum, said upon viewing the installed system, "SOS is a very high impact educational exhibit. Many people literally drop their jaw when they first see it. The stunning beauty and versatility impress everyone and it can display information of great contemporary interest. When I see it display the blue marble I'm gripped with a profound sense of our Earth as our only home in a hostile universe."

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.

Science On a Sphere® maps directly to NOAA's mission goal to "Serve Society's Needs for Weather and Water Information" and its performance objective of enhancing environmental literacy and improving understanding, value, and use of weather and water information and services. This innovative technology is intended to educate multigenerational and now international audiences about ongoing NOAA research being conducted at many laboratories and to inspire students so that they might investigate scientific career paths. Over a half dozen other international installations are planned for Europe, Asia, and possibly Australia. It is estimated that over 15 million people will be seeing SOS in FY09.

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