NWSC visitor center exhibits

A key goal of the NWSC facility project was to broaden its impact through an active public visitor program. The primary element of that program was a planned NWSC Visitor Exhibit to explain the science goals of NCAR and the University of Wyoming, as well as the technology employed at the NWSC to realize these goals. The NCAR-Wyoming partnership's NWSC education and outreach strategic goals are derived from an understanding of the national and regional challenges of STEM education and are designed to leverage the unique strengths of the founding NWSC partners.

NWSC visitor center
CISL finished designing and successfully deployed the NWSC Visitor Exhibit in FY2012, collaborating with UCAR SPARK and the University of Wyoming in this effort. In addition, CISL worked with a Cheyenne-based exhibit integrator and two video production companies to create substantive content customized to the NWSC mission. This content included an original animated video that explains how supercomputers are used to forecast severe weather.

Working as project leader, CISL's Outreach Services Group finished designing and successfully deployed the NWSC Visitor Exhibit in FY2012. CISL Outreach collaborated with UCAR SPARK and the University of Wyoming in this effort. In addition, CISL worked with a Cheyenne-based exhibit integrator and two video production companies to create substantive content customized to the NWSC mission. This content included an original animated video that explains how supercomputers are used to forecast severe weather.

The NWSC Visitor Center is intended for self-guided tours for individuals and groups of all ages and backgrounds, and it can also be used for presentations and special events. The visitor center consists of a theater for watching a video overview; two science displays, each with a different science focus area on each side; a young scientist display that includes a tornado simulator and an interactive computer speed demonstration; and a supercomputer display at which visitors can see inside the supercomputer and interact with an exhibit that connects the concepts of electrical power with computing power through a hand-crank “generator.” A key educational goal of the visitor center was to include content that would convey elements of computational thinking. These include interactive activities that explain the concept of speedup in parallel computing and identify other kinds of parallel systems in everyday life. To engage diverse audiences, the videos in the exhibits also include Spanish language subtitles.

The NWSC visitor center was financed using NSF NWSC construction funds.

2012 CISL Annual Report