ESRL Global Systems Division

Inaugural Demonstration of NOAA's Science On a SphereTM at a Public Museum

NOAA's Science On a Sphere™, invented by FSL Director Alexander E. MacDonald, was showcased at the Maryland Science Center from June 15 through June 30. Intended for museums, science centers, and schools, Science On a Sphere™ makes it easier for people to understand Earth-based science. It displays dynamic, three-dimensional views of global data featuring storms, weather patterns, oceans, climate, geophysical processes, and animations depicting other planets in our solar system. These images are displayed onto the surface of a large suspended sphere in a darkened area. The audience can walk around the entire globe for a complete perspective of the phenomenon being viewed.

NOAA's innovative science teaching technology complements the Maryland Science Center's mission "to stimulate and cultivate awareness, interest, and understanding of science for all residents of and visitors to Maryland through excellent and exciting educational programs and exhibits, and to be a regional resource and a national model for science education."

The Maryland Science Center invited NOAA to exhibit Science On a Sphere™ at the museum to determine how it can be best used as an interpretative and educational tool within a science museum setting. The NOAA team and Maryland Science Center staff gave hourly demonstrations of Science On a Sphere™ for the two-week display. To fully evaluate the effectiveness of the NOAA Science On a Sphere™ exhibit during this period, a national group of exhibit designers and educators met at the Maryland Science Center to observe Science On a Sphere™ in action and discuss how best to adapt it to their own respective science centers. The final results of this study are not yet available, but responses so far have been very positive.

The Science On a Sphere™ project helps NOAA meet its goal to collaborate with scientists and teachers in government and industry to offer new approaches toward improving science education. With funding, this technology is available for display anywhere there is an interest in science. For more information, visit the Science on a Sphere™ Web site.

Contact information
Name: Rhonda K Lange
Tel: 303-497-6045