Frost Science and Sky-Skan to Bring Outer Space to Life

Posted on August 18th, 2016

Comments (0)

By: MiaSci

Frost Planetarium interior Rendering at Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science

Frost Planetarium interior rendering at Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science

One of the goals of the Frost Planetarium is to sweep you away to far-off galaxies and immerse you in the beautiful and educational details of other worlds. The experience needs to be believable and transportive. That means we rely on leading-edge technology to succeed. With that in mind, we are pleased to announce that we’ve chosen Sky-Skan, Inc., based in Nashua New Hampshire, to provide a complete 3D digital planetarium and visualization system.

“Sky-Skan’s technology for 3D science simulation and show development is of the highest quality, and we’re excited to be working with them, ” says Brooks Weisblat, our Vice President of Technology. “They really stood out as a company deeply interested in understanding our goals and in making sure we had the tools to achieve them.”

Sky-Skan launched in 1967 as the world’s first company dedicated solely to producing gear to depict the dynamic visualizations of outer space on planetarium domes. Since then, the company has grown to provide digital full-dome science visualization, theater control, and show programming systems for hundreds of planetariums on six continents.

DSC_0458

Frost Planetarium interior during construction at Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science

Here in Miami, the Frost Planetarium will feature 250 seats on a raked stadium-style platform, with seats angled back steeply so the visuals envelop your entire field of vision. Visitors will gaze into an immense hemispherical screen and enjoy guided tours of the sky and universe, as well as immersive shows on a wide range of fascinating science and nature topics. In some shows, visitors will wear 3D glasses, further enhancing the illusion of being immersed in fascinating environments.

Behind the scenes, ultra-high resolution, edge-blended video projectors fed by state-of-the-art graphics computers will deliver forty million pixels to the screen every 1/60th of a second, providing a vivid representation of the great wonders of the universe. The new system will automatically connect to science data repositories and update itself with the latest data about the universe so that repeat visitors will always have something new to see and learn. The installation of the system will include super bright LED lighting and a powerful 17-channel sound system.

“Our technology has taken decades to perfect and we are honored to receive a commission to equip a system in one of the world’s most exciting cities,” says Steven Savage, president of Sky-Skan. “Miami has always been a world-class leader in its planetarium programming and this tradition is clearly set to continue,” he adds.

Upward Bound students dive into local ecosystems

Posted on August 16th, 2016

Comments (0)

By: MiaSci

By Mauricia Vasquez, Collage Advisor, Upward Bound Math and Science

Summer 2016 IMPACT students

Summer 2016 IMPACT students

Summer is finally here!  For the Upward Bound Math and Science program, which exposes low-income students to the power of science and paths to STEM careers, that means the start of IMPACT, a six-week intensive marine science summer program in which students get up close and personal with South Florida’s unique marine ecology and biodiversity.

During their time in the program, students get out of the classroom and into the field to cover a spectrum of marine science topics including marine ecology, oceanography, meteorology, resource management and more. The idea is to groom future conservationists and to inspire interest in STEM careers. Although living in South Florida offers many opportunities to experience and learn from nature, many teens growing up in urban areas rarely get a chance to get out and explore.

Summer mentor Rockeven Desir shows a student how to adjust his gear

Summer mentor Rockeven Desir shows a student how to adjust his gear

On the first week of IMPACT 2016 we welcomed a brand new cohort of rising 9th grade students. To gain admission, more than 50 eights-grade students underwent a grueling application process based on a combination of academic grades, teacher recommendations, and an interview with Upward Bound staff. Of the applicants 25 were selected to participate in the program.

One of the most exciting experiences for the kids is to get out in the ocean and under the surface to witness the ecosystems at play there. During this week we spent some time in the water reviewing water safety and swimming techniques and ensuring that first-time snorkelers are acclimated to the water. Then they enter the underwater world. According to Brianna, an incoming freshman, “I was scared at first because I had never seen any fish in person before. The first fish I saw was a baby puffer fish, and then I saw a stingray near one of the jetties in Virginia Key. I realized they weren’t very interested in me so I wasn’t scared anymore.” As the summer progresses, students will be able to observe the diverse wildlife that lives just under the surface, and use the information they collect to inform the research they conduct throughout the summer. Some of the projects include surveys of biodiversity in various beaches throughout the Key Biscayne area, and the tracking of the effects of ocean acidification on local coral and limestone.

Summer mentor Laura De Ara assists first-time swimmers and helps them acclimate to the water.

Summer mentor Laura De Ara assists first-time swimmers and helps them acclimate to the water.

 

A Gathering of the Planetarium Experts

Posted on July 27th, 2016

Comments (0)

By: MiaSci

By Dr. Jorge Perez-Gallego, Curator of Astronomy and Exhibition Developer

Every other year, the International Planetarium Society gathers some of the best minds in the planetarium business to share ideas, insights and creative work. This year, the event was held in Warsaw, Poland, and I was lucky enough to go.

With members representing schools, colleges, universities and museums from over 30 countries around the world, the conference is a great opportunities for anyone to advance their planetarium professional skills and knowledge. Given Frost Planetarium’s upcoming opening, we used this opportunity to not only to learn about how other planetariums do things, but to formally present our project to the industry.

Situated on the banks of the Vistula River in east-central Poland, Warsaw is the capital and the largest city of the country. While it was founded in the 13th century, the city required painstaking rebuilding after the extensive damage it suffered in World War II, which destroyed most of its buildings. Some know it as the “Phoenix City.” Part of the newness of the city is the Copernicus Science Centre, which hosted the event. Named after Nicolaus Copernicus, the Polish Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated the revolutionary model of the universe with the Sun at the center, instead of Earth, the center represented a new type of institution in Poland when it opened its doors in November 2010. The facility has quickly earned recognition as one of the most interesting and innovative centers of its kind in the world, and has welcomed almost one million visitors each year since it opened. It definitely represents a source of inspiration for Frost Science given the significant role it plays in its community today. Through its exhibitions, laboratories, and events bridging science and art, it offers people a chance to become involved in creating culture rather than just passively consuming it.

The Heavens of Copernicus Planetarium at the Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw, Poland

The Heavens of Copernicus Planetarium at the Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw, Poland

The adjacent Heavens of Copernicus Planetarium opened its doors in June 2011, and is one of the most advanced multimedia planetariums in the world. It features live astronomical shows, popular-science fulldome shows related to astronomy and other fields of science, and initiatives exploring the bridges between science and art, just as Frost Planetarium will.

During the conference I had a chance not only to take a look at the latest technological advances, but also to engage in very substantive discussions with peers from all over the world who are facing challenges similar to those at Frost Planetarium. I was able to look at well-known issues from different points of view, and draw together ideas for problem-solving and rising to new challenges. After an inspiring week, I came back from Warsaw with a greater understanding of what Frost Planetarium can be, and what it will represent for our local and global community.

Conference attendees holding properly shaded flash lights recreated the arrangement of the Southern Hemisphere’s night sky.

Conference attendees holding properly shaded flash lights recreated the arrangement of the Southern Hemisphere’s night sky.

Keep looking up!

RFP: Advertising Firm

Posted on July 21st, 2016

Comments (0)

By: MiaSci

The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science is seeking to identify and select an advertising agency to assist the museum with creating a clear and distinctive creative concept that will launch Frost Science. Under the proposed relationship, the advertising firm will be responsible for the creation and development of a strategic and impactful creative concept that will resonate in South Florida along with key target markets domestically and internationally.

To obtain a copy of the RFP, contact Joseph Quinones at JQuinones@FrostScience.org. Please provide the name of your company, location, main point of contact, and contact information with your request for the RFP.

All proposals should be emailed no later than 5:00 pm, EST, August 17, 2016.

Learning by Teaching: a MUVE intern reflects on growing with Frost Science as the museum evolves.

Posted on July 21st, 2016

Comments (0)

By: MiaSci

By Eric Laguardia, MUVE (Museum Volunteers for the Environment) Summer Intern

Eric Laguardia (middle) leading a discussion with students from the Overtown Youth Center on how to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Eric Laguardia (middle) leading a discussion with students from the Overtown Youth Center on how to reduce, reuse and recycle.

This summer I have been working at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science alongside MUVE Coordinator Chelle King as the Citizen Science Education Intern. That means I’ve been facilitating the museum’s budding outdoor classroom programming and assessing ways to make it better.

Over the course of a day I might lead our Trash Detectives Field Trips or Citizen Science Workdays—experiences designed to foster environmental sensitivity through beach clean-ups and nature walks. Whenever I’m not leading an event, I’m usually reflecting on the last one or preparing for the next one – tweaking my approach with each iteration.

Working with Frost Science as it transitions to a globally relevant museum at its new downtown location, and as it refines its already powerful community programming, has been a fantastic addition to my own learning experience. As I work to educate local youth, I also gain an education.

The son of a high-school biology teacher, I’ve been drawn to life sciences for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I spent much of my time exploring the outdoors and caring for an array of exotic pets. After high-school, I decided to stay in Miami to study business administration at Florida International University, adding a second degree in parks management after an internship at the FIU Nature Preserve.

From there I pursued a Master in Education at Harvard University. My time there reinforced my belief in the power of experiential education and the importance of informal learning institutions. While in the area, I also worked as an educator in the Living Collections Department at the Museum of Science in Boston. I knew I wanted to return to Miami upon finishing grad school, and I was drawn to the excitement surrounding Frost Science and the construction of its new facility. Once I heard there was an internship opportunity for an educator, I didn’t hesitate to apply.

Congratulating students from the Overtown Youth Center on a job well done upon clearing our Virginia Key restoration site of marine debris.

Congratulating students from the Overtown Youth Center on a job well done upon clearing our Virginia Key restoration site of marine debris.

While facilitating field-trips over the course of this summer, I have been prototyping our curriculum on several student populations ranging in both age and socio-economic background. One of my major internship objectives is to create a comprehensive programs assessment and field trip guide that can be applied by current and future staff/interns. In addition to aligning our curriculum to state standards, I intend to highlight the most effective practices and identify those that can be made even better.

Frost Science’s reclamation site on Virginia Key, a place where we restore degraded habitats by planting native vegetation, is crucial to our outdoor programming, and to my learning as a facilitator. Our programming there immerses participants in topics like marine biology and South Florida ecology by getting them up-close and hands-on. From marine debris scavenger hunts to on-the-field data collection projects where we record the growth of plants, our field trips get students outside and out of their daily routine in a variety of different ways. The sights, smells and sounds these places offer will spark conversations that help kids learn from the natural world, rather than a textbook.

At just over a month into my experience here, I must say that it is a fascinating and dynamic time to be at Frost Science. In addition to engaging with my own work, its fun to hear about the dozens of other projects going on around the museum.

To prospective interns, I want to emphasize that Frost Science is a great place to put your skills to the test. The nature of the organization’s current chapter is one that requires interns to do work that is of consequence – not just filing paper or brewing coffee. Preparing for the museum’s impending growth requires all hands on deck, and that’s a compelling environment in which to develop professionally.

 

A Fatherly Giving Thank You

Posted on July 19th, 2016

Comments (0)

By: MiaSci

This past Father’s Day, we asked for support to help the team at our Falcon Batchelor Bird of Prey Center care for orphaned baby Eastern screech owls. Though these little owlets came in helpless, our staff is able to hand-feed them and train them to live in the wild. With the help of our excellent facility and staff, they’re doing really well!

We are extremely grateful for the support of donors who made gifts in honor of their own fathers in order to save these orphaned owls. It’s because of these donors that we have plans to release more than 15 Eastern screech owls back into the wild this summer.

 

On behalf of Frost Science, we would like to thank the following contributors:

  • Martin Diaz in honor of Leslie and Yoly
  • Mary Emanuel in honor of David Emanuel
  • David Eyzenberg
  • Maria Goudie in honor of Diego Colombo
  • Aaron Menitoff in honor of Paul Menitoff
  • Meghan C. Moore in honor of Jim Moore
  • Beate Nolan
  • Vivian Santos in honor of Ramon Santos
  • Stella Uyeno
  • Jane Zucker

It’s not too late to support the work of our Falcon Batchelor Bird of Prey Center, which continues to operate seven-days-a-week and maintain a hotline (305-322-8887) despite the museum being closed.

Please contribute. The work you help us with today lays the groundwork for our new bigger and better Batchelor Environmental Center, which will open next year.

As a bonus, all donations received are matched, dollar-for-dollar up to $500,000, by our longtime supporters, The Batchelor Foundation, via a challenge grant. To make your contribution, please click here. And if you prefer a physical gift, our staff has created an Amazon Wish List with items crucial for the care of these amazing animals. You can make purchases via your own account and have them sent directly to us.

Thank you for your continued support.