Temari balls are mathematical craft objects in which patterns of multicolored thread are
wound around a spherical surface to create intriguing, sometimes remarkable patterns. This is a picture of one that I happen to see at the Annual Obon Festival in Palo Alto. The Math on a Sphere team just submitted a paper where we demonstrate an interactive programming system, Math on a Sphere (MoS), that enables users to create and explore temari-like designs on a spherical surface represented on a computer screen. Here, you will find some more examples of the Math on a Sphere language and designs. We also posted a second publication that was submitted to the Pervasive Displays conference which will be taking place in Mountain View, California at Google in July 2013.
Teen Volunteer Interns, a program at the Lawrence Hall of Science, receive training every second Saturday of the month. In addition to community building and reflection on practice exercises, training includes better ways to communicate science to public audiences, as well as how to facilitate different exhibits and demonstrations. In today’s session, a group of the TechHive teens also received a brief overview of Math on a Sphere, learned some basic commands, and then were turned loose to create a design of their choice. Teens also began to write up their ideas into instruction cards to be used in future camps for younger children. There was a Pokeball under construction and a great seasonal pumpkin appeared! Here is a short video of a Rainbow Wheel made by a pair of teens.
Mike Eisenberg and Sherry Hsi headed to sunny Long Beach, California on November 6-8th to speak at the 5th annual SoS Network Meeting sponsored the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Taking place at the Aquarium of the Pacific along side tanks of baby sharks and sea otters, the workshop was the largest since its history gathering 115 people representing 52 institutions including countries as far as China and Korea. The newest Science on a Sphere was recently installed in Mexico! Mike first demonstrated the latest Math on a Sphere software showing how one could progressively create more sophisticated designs from longitude and latitude lines to spherical cubes. Sherry presented on the second day’s education panel sharing two formats for introducing MoS to children and showing some preliminary data from the front-end survey given out to the field. So far, few institutions allow visitors to create digital content as part of their public programs, but there is a high interest in doing so in the future. Two other colleagues from the Lawrence Hall of Science provided more examples of how a Science on a Sphere could be used to engage audiences in viewing near-real time satellite data (Bill Mitchell, PhD candidate) and scientifically-informed, artistic visualizations of hostile and habitable planets from NASA’s Kepler mission (Toshi Komatsu, Director of Digital Theaters). All in all, it was jammed packed workshop with storytelling tips from collaborator demonstrations, practical how-to sessions, inspirational keynotes, and even a fireside chat with producer Jerry Zucker. He entertained us with personal stories about he started the Science Entertainment Exchange to help bring scientific accuracy to Hollywood’s storytelling to the public.