Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Cosmic Connections

This afternoon I'm heading down to the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology (MoST) in downtown Syracuse, to walk through an upcoming exhibit. I am a co-PI on a $600, 000 National Science Foundation grant to create an entire cosmology exhibit, called Cosmic Connections, which will be a permanent part of the museum.

Stage one of this project is now almost complete, with the grand unveiling in two weeks' time. For the past couple of months a lot of construction has been going on in the space and, since I am really involved more with the conceptual side, I haven't had a good look at it. If the exhibit looks anything like the elaborate models we had, then I'll be very excited. To ensure a professional and coherent design, we collaborated with two classes of students in the design program at Syracuse. Getting physicists and designers to work well together was a challenge, but I think it worked out pretty well and we learned a lot from each other.

The opening reception, at which I'm giving a short cosmology talk, is on the evening of April 27th, and I intend to post some photographs of the exhibit soon afterwards, with a more detailed explanation of what we've accomplished so far. What I really want to show you are the fantastic glass sculpture of the galaxy that we have, and the hologram of large-scale structure in the universe (although this one will be challenging). The latter provides a three-dimensional-looking representation of an actual N-body simulation of the distribution of dark matter. I think they both look fantastic, and I'll give you all a chance to judge them for yourselves very soon.
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