- When: 12th October 2018 12:00 - 13:00
- Where: Cole 1.33b
Visualization and the Universe: How and why astronomers, doctors, and you need to work together to understand the world around us
Astronomy has long been a field reliant on visualization. First, it was literal visualization—looking at the Sky. Today, though, astronomers are faced with the daunting task of understanding gigantic digital images from across the electromagnetic spectrum and contextualizing them with hugely complex physics simulations, in order to make more sense of our Universe. In this talk, I will explain how new approaches to simultaneously exploring and explaining vast data sets allow astronomers—and other scientists—to make sense of what the data have to say, and to communicate what they learn to each other, and to the public. In particular, I will talk about the evolution of the multi-dimensional linked-view data visualization environment known as glue (glueviz.org) and the Universe Information System called WorldWide Telescope (worldwidetelescope.org). I will explain how glue is being used in medical and geographic information sciences, and I will discuss its future potential to expand into all fields where diverse, but related, multi-dimensional data sets can be profitably analyzed together. Toward the aim of bringing the insights to be discussed to a broader audience, I will also introduce the new “10 Questions to Ask When Creating a Visualization” website, 10QViz.org.
Speaker biography: Professor Alyssa Goodman, Harvard University
Alyssa Goodman is the Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Applied Astronomy at Harvard University, and a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution. Goodman’s research and teaching interests span astronomy, data visualization, and online systems for research and education. Goodman received her undergraduate degree in Physics from MIT in 1984 and a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard in 1989. Goodman was awarded the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize from the American Astronomical Society in 1997, became full professor at Harvard in 1999, was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009, and chosen as Scientist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation in 2015. Goodman has served as Chair of the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and on the National Academy’s Board on Research Data and Information, and she currently serves on the both the IAU and AAS Working Groups on Astroinformatics and Astrostatistics. Goodman’s personal research presently focuses primarily on new ways to visualize and analyze the tremendous data volumes created by large and/or diverse astronomical surveys, and on improving our understanding of the structure of the Milky Way Galaxy. She is working closely with colleagues at the American Astronomical Society, helping to expand the use of the WorldWide Telescope program, in both research and in education.