Just last week Windward Community College reopened their Hōkūlani Imaginarium, now fully equipped with a new Definiti 4K projection system from Sky-Skan
. The Definiti 4K provides high-resolution color imagery on a giant dome screen. Two projectors illuminate the dome screen giving it a 3D effect without the glasses. It is quite an enhancement compared to the previous system that projected points and line drawings.
Joe Ciotti is the master of ceremonies for each of the showings. He adds a key dimension you won't find in other traditional theaters. He is there as a greeter, mood setter and subject matter expert. He warmed up the opening night viewing of Tales of the Maya Skies
with a demonstration of the new features of the Definiti 4 system. He flashed a 3D rendering of the Space Shuttle and then showed how, through the marvel of 3D modeling, you can venture into the bone structure of the human skull
. It is easy to imagine worlds of the extremely small to those of galactic proportions opening up for viewing.
Opening with Tales of the Maya Skies
introduced the audience to the capabilities of the system and the intricacies of putting a show like this together. In addition to a program rich in culture, images included animations of Mayan characters, 3D renderings of Maya structures and a story woven in science and legend. Tales of the Maya Skies is a Chabot Space & Science Center
production with major funding provided by the National Science Foundation.
Judging from the Sky-Skan catalog
of shows, there are a lot of interesting programs to look forward to. Titles like Solar Storms, Awesome Light and Black Holes: Journey into the Unknown need little fanfare to attract my attention. Awesome Light includes an entire episode from the telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea:
Voyage into Subaru, Gemini, Keck, and Canada-France-Hawai‘i observatories to explore an exo-planet, supernova, and stars orbiting at the centre of the Milky Way and galactic survey.
Exo-planets, sign me up! Viewings of Tales of the Maya Skies continue through January 2011:
- Friday, November 12, 7 p.m. & 8 p.m.
- Friday, December 10, 7 p.m.
- Friday, January 14, 7 p.m.
For tickets reservations and more information about the show, call Windward Community Collage at 808-235-7433.
Maybe I would have been a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon if summer sessions like this were available back in my day. Pacific Center for Environmental Studies
(PaCES) is a six-week intensive course for high school juniors and seniors held at Windward Community College. This past Tuesday, I had a chance to spend an hour observing the class as they processed DNA samples. David Krupp
and Rob Hutchison
conduct the program that included field trips to Coconut Island, collecting water samples around coral reefs and studying genomics. The program is concludes with a symposium where students present their research findings. David and Rob explain that the course is not about lectures and book readings. It's about problem solving and creative thinking. The exercise I saw had the students taking their DNA samples, sourced originally from water around healthy coral and stressed coral, and extracting key segments. The DNA was mixed with a marker solution
to be then placed in a gel electrophoresis device
. The photo above shows the DNA separated out in the gel, based on the relative weigh density of the DNA. Pretty cool stuff. The program consists of about 20-25 students along with mentors from previous years. Both David and Rob will be joining us on the radio (KIPO 89.3FM) this coming Wed. July 7th at which time we'll get to talk to them in more detail about the program, what students learn from it and how in some cases is pivotal in setting a future course for these students. Hope you will join us in the conversation.