Black Holes: Gravity's Relentless Pull
Kiosk Software available at no cost to informal education institutions
The exciting, exotic, and ever-popular phenomenon of gravity's ultimate manifestation is captured in a richly visual and highly interactive kiosk software package available at no cost to informal education institutions.
Black Holes: Gravity's Relentless Pull is based on the web site developed by Space Telescope Science Institute astronomers Roeland van der Marel and
Gijs Verdoes Kleijn in collaboration with Educational Web Adventures through funding provided by a Hubble education/outreach grant. Winner of top prize in the prestigious Pirelli Awards, the web experience has now been converted and optimized for use in exhibit hall kiosks on a computer that has no internet connection. All files are installed on the local hard drive.
This software was given a MUSE Award from the American Association of Museum's (AAM) Media & Technology Committee in May, 2007. These awards are given "in recognition of the highest standards of excellence in the use of media & technology for interpretation and education in science."
The kiosk enables your visitors and students to enjoy an extended exploration of the science of black holes.
In Finding the Invisible, users explore objects in the sky as seen in various wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, discovering black holes along the way.
In The Voyage, users select a trip to a stellar-mass or supermassive black hole, and learn about the scale of the universe.
In Up Close and Personal, users learn details about black hole physics through experimentation and Q&A.
A copy of the software package is available by download to informal science education venues who contact us. In your message, please include your name, job title, email address, telephone number, institution name, and institution mailing address (no home addresses, please). We will reply via email.
The software runs on a web browser and requires the Flash plug-in (version 6 or later.) On Windows, the Firefox browser can be set to an effective Fullscreen mode, so that users cannot access the computer's operating system. (Naturally, we suggest that users take appropriate measures to secure computers that are publicly accessible.) You can "customize" the presentation by identifying your institution name via a simple graphic, as explained in the instructions that accompany the software. As an additional service to USA-based institutions who elect to install the software in their exhibit areas, we will provide upon request a printed "attract graphic" that can be laminated and mounted adjacent to the kiosk.
The web version of Black Holes: Gravity's Relentless Pull has garnered many endorsements:
In this work the accuracy of scientific content is accompanied by a highly effective and user-friendly interface that creates a suggestive simulation of astronomical observation...[Top Prize] for its ability to explore one of the most fascinating subjects of modern astrophysics through an entertaining tool that also provides sound scientific content. - July Evaluation, Pirelli Prize 2005
It's like the ultimate adventure game: Board a spaceship, fly to a warped part of spacetime, and drop into a black hole. Welcome to the visually stunning Black Holes: Gravity's Relentless Pull. - Science Magazine, May 26, 2006
...offers an extensive and richly illustrated tour of black hole physics. - Physics Today, Aug 2006
This impressive Web site offers an interactive exploration of the astronomy and physics of black holes as well as a glossary and encyclopedia of related topics. - NOVA/PBS
...clear explanations, lively animation, and interactive games. - Johns Hopkins Magazine, Sep 2006 (scroll to JHUniverse)
Black Holes is definitely worth getting sucked into...This wonderful site is full of powerful images and information...The journey is simply amazing, bringing the outer world into focus in a way other media just can't...One of the best sites I've ever seen, this one is anything but a black hole. - KNLS Radio, Sep 2006
At the Hubble space telescope's black hole simulation, travel to a black hole from the comfort of your desk chair... I had a great time trying to manipulate physics to orbit an event horizon. - Popular Science, Sep 2006
Award-winning interactive tutorial gives you a feel for the weirdest things in the Universe... black hole characteristics and science using animations and interaction...a bevy of interactive experiments... This Web site from the Space Telescope Science Institute is a fun way to learn about the universe's ultimate vacuum cleaners. - Sky & Telescope, November, 2006
The following references contain additional information about the content and creation process for the web site from which this kiosk version has been derived: