Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Touring geologic history through ChronoZoom

Berkeley geologist Walter Alvarez unveiled a new visualization tool to examine the chronology of almost any subject - ChronoZoom. Walter presented a geologic application at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit this afternoon.

The idea grew out of his course on "Big History: Cosmos, Earth, Life, Humanity" and was put into practice by his former student, Roland Saekow.

Walter, like many of us, has had trouble showing non-geologists the geologic time scale. He laments that log-scale displays are misleading to students. So, the new presentations allows users to zoom in and see the true scale of time over cosmic and geologic time periods.

One facet that drew spontaneous applause was inclusion of the full copy of a scientific paper included as a micro-image at the end of the particular reference.

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