Press Archive

SDSC Unveils Web-based Introduction to Science and Computing

Published 07/31/1996

For more information, contact:

Ann Redelfs, SDSC 619-534-5032/5113 (fax) redelfs@sdsc.edu

San Diego, CA--To introduce middle and high school students to the excitement and possibilities of science, art, and the World Wide Web, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) unveiled July 31 a dynamic, interactive addition to its Web site, "SDSC Science Discovery"-an educational tour of the center and the science conducted there, not only for students who visit SDSC in person, but also for students across the Internet.

With floating skulls, vibrating molecules, and cutting lasers, the site incorporates many images created in SDSC's Advanced Scientific Visualization Laboratory (VisLab) and animations created from videos and image sequences. The images help explain complex topics such as computational science and scientific visualization that are central to SDSC's mission.

Covering the high-performance hardware, scientific research, and the latest Web technologies, the site was designed by artist Rosemarie McKeon, a graduate student in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego, with help from David Hart, a writer for SDSC's external relations group, and Jayne Keller, SDSC's education coordinator. It can be visited at http://www.sdsc.edu/discovery.

"I wanted to find a way to make science appealing to children, and I used my own kids to help find what worked best," McKeon said. "But I also wanted to capture the personality of SDSC. There is just so much going on here, and it feels like we've hardly scratched the surface."

McKeon previewed the site for high school science teachers in UCSD's and SDSC's Supercomputer Teacher Enhancement Program (STEP) to enthusiastic response and many ideas for expansion.

"I have seldom been so excited about the possibility of 'grabbing' the attention of students as I was by your fusion of art and science," Jay Maness, a science teacher at Southwest High School, three miles from the Mexican border in San Diego County, told McKeon after seeing her presentation. "You were accessing the part of my psyche which is seldom exercised by my work with computers and science."

The design also leaves room to expand. As a next step, McKeon and SDSC staff members will translate the text into Spanish, providing a bilingual site for the substantial number of Hispanic students in Southern California and across the border in Mexico. Future additions will include pages designed by students in SDSC's Science Scholars program, which introduces girls in grades 7-11 to scientific research, and by STEP teachers.

"Because I grew up in Los Angeles, I was really excited about the chance to make the site bilingual," McKeon said. "By including Spanish, we can reach out to so many students who normally wouldn't have the chance to get excited about science."

SDSC, a national laboratory for computational science and engineering, is sponsored by NSF, other federal agencies, the State and University of California, and private organizations; is affiliated with the University of California, San Diego; and is administered by General Atomics. For more information, see http://www.sdsc.edu/ or contact Ann Redelfs, SDSC, redelfs@sdsc.edu, 619-534-5032.