Scientist Kimberly Kowal Arcand, the Visualization Lead for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, headquartered at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will be speaking at the InfoAge Science Center in Wall Township on March 9 at 2 p.m.
Her talk is entitled How to Color the Universe, in 2D and 3D.
Arcand is an award-winning producer and director and a leading expert in studying the perception and comprehension of high-energy data visualization across the novice-expert spectrum.
As a science data storyteller she combines her background in molecular biology and computer science with her current work in the fields of astronomy and physics.
Though astronomy has been an inherently visual area of science for millenia, a majority of its significant discoveries take place in wavelengths beyond human vision. To visualize such data, we must translate the information into something that can be seen.
Arcand’s talk will explore choices made during the image processing pipeline, and current technological innovations transforming such data from 2D into 3D and immersive experiences. Her talk will touch upon the ways these processes are similar – and different — to how a linguist translates a foreign text, or how a photographer might choose filters and lighting.
She was selected as a “Changemaker” for the White House State of Women Summit in 2016.
When asked what led her working for NASA imaging astronomical bodies Arcand said, “My interests in graduate school were on bacteria and disease, so I was looking at things like Ixodes Scapularis (the Deer tick) and the spirochaetes that can be transmitted to humans which can cause Lyme Disease. But as I neared the end of my degree I found that I was more attracted to the computer as a tool to tell stories about science than I was to any bugs or bacteria.”
Arcand moved into a computer science graduate program after graduating in biology.
“I would say it was really the mix of science and computer science that helped move me into astronomical data visualization,” she said.
This event is focused on college-bound students, but the general public is invited to attend.
Proceeds benefit the InfoAge science center which is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to inspiring kids to learn.
Seating is limited. Admission is $15.
Reservations are required and can be made by purchasing admission online at www.infoage.org/arcand.