Science On a Sphere

Morristown-Beard School is proud to introduce Science On a Sphere®, an extraordinary display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six-foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe.

Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) developed “SOS” as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere, which is used to explain complex environmental processes in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and analytical.

The carbon-fiber globe hangs suspended from the ceiling in the main room of Wilkie Hall, with projectors pointing at it from each corner. While the globe itself does not move, the animations projected onto the globe give the illusion that the globe rotates just as the Earth does. The animations range from satellite imagery to radar to hurricane-tracking patterns.

“We were excited to introduce Science On a Sphere to Morristown-Beard School students this fall,” said MBS Headmaster Peter J. Caldwell. “It’s pretty rare to see something like this in a classroom setting. The science department has a vision of how it will be used, but the beauty is that this will be used in all disciplines—from Middle School geography and world language classes to Upper School history and English courses.”

According to MBS science teacher Jeff Yuhas, “The best thing to do is give students the controls and just listen to them as they use it.” Already, several MBS students, including junior Michelle Corcoran ’18, are planning to incorporate Science On a Sphere into independent study projects. Corcoran will develop a program using the sphere that can be shown to local elementary school students.