Writing - Summary

 Draft ver.05 (September 2008)



The aim of this thesis is an exploration of scientific visualization in Cosmology, and developing educational resources by using 2D and 3D computer animation and interactive design.

There are three main components to my thesis: two computer animations - the Island Universes, and the Cepheids - and interactive design - the Desk of One Astronomer. The first animation, the Island Universes, is about the wonder of what the universe is like, and rephrases it as the question of how are the stars distributed in space. The Cepheids is about the discovery of the method for determining the distances to galaxies. This uncovered the true nature of galaxies as islands of stars and thereby convincingly determined the architecture of the universe as the distribution of galaxies. The Desk of One Astronomer is the interactive online version of those two animations. It allows people to navigate through an interactive design, which is provided with several options in viewing information, which will be easier for them to understand.

The aim of this project is to make astronomical theories and data more tangible. On a broader level, this project explores creative ways to educate a broad range of people about understanding the origin and structure of our universe.


I have spent the past several years working with interactive design, as a web designer and developer. In doing that work, Ií»ve seen opportunities to go to the next level of interaction, beyond the text-heavy website and towards something that is more delightful, and engaging. The idea of this thesis project about cosmology was developed from working on projects in the Integrated Training Pipeline of Scientific Visualization Laboratory at California state university, Los Angeles - supported by the National Science Foundation. In this laboratory, I was trained to develop accurate and effective scientific visualizations of topics in Cosmology, and by using those, to implement their public dissemination. I spearheaded projects about the structure of the universe. Theses experiences led me to do this thesis project.


2D and 3D computer animations and interactive design for communicating ideas about the origin and structure of universe

Statement of Problem

The technology in Cosmology has improved rapidly. The public has more and better visual resources of our universe than before. Historically, the visualization of astronomical topics were planets, but the most of visualizations in current cosmology are situation when the science is not in a powerful image, but rather in some graph or equation from complex theories and enormous amounts of data. However, because the public is exposed too often to many high quality visual resources, they do not fully understand even how far, and how large the actual objects are. Moreover, using computer-generated Imagery , film already spoils people with brilliant images .It makes a bigger gap between people and current science in Cosmology.


The computer animation and interactive design field has been changing the innovative ways to attract and educate. There are exciting possibilities in art, science and education using new technology and ideas, such as developing in animations, interactive design and game. The computer animation and interactive design are able to not only bridge the gap between the public and current science in Cosmology, but also it can be made playful and attractive to the public. The aim of this project is to make astronomical theories and data more tangible. This will be accomplished through animations of the stories of philosophers and astronomers throughout history, and simulating scientific data, algorithm, or theories. This project presents ideas in a compelling way, thereby reducing the gap between the scientist and the layman.

Background of Concepts

In the fall of 2006, I joined in the Integrated Training Pipeline of Scientific Visualization Laboratory. In this laboratory, students through which Physicists, Artists and Computer Scientists collaborate and share their expertise and hone their aesthetic and technical skills. We are developing computer animations, computer games, and interactive web applications that bring the current understanding of the origin and structure of our Universe to the general public. This training was the beginning of this project. I chose to make educational animations and interactive design about understanding the structure of universe because I believe that teaching about cosmology is one step in helping to reduce the gap between the public and current science in Cosmology. Our learning institutions need to make this information as accessible and compelling as possible. With this project I want to help people get more excited about Cosmology and better understand the origin and structure of our universe.