Rachel Brady: New Tools for Understanding
My passion is scientific visualization, says Rachael Brady, not just the visual rendering of it but everything that leads up to it, starting with the raw data. What Im really interested in is how technology Â– visualization in particular Â– can help people understand their data.
Brady pursues that passion inside one of the most spectacular pieces of technology on the Duke campus, a cube 3 meters per side inside the
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the DiVE is designed to create illusory 3-dimensional environments Â– with touches of Star Treks holodeck Â– for research and education.
With an operator in command behind the figurative curtain of a Wizard of Oz control room, students, professors and visitors can don 3-D glasses, enter DiVEs chamber of wonders and be surrounded by projected images of molecules, virtual brains, simulated forests or visions of the Greek underworld. They can interact with all of these using a hand-held, wireless computer mouse.
Brady came to Duke in 2001 from the
A woman with eclectic interests, Brady encourages students and faculty from both the arts and sciences to incorporate virtual reality and visualization in their work. One 2006 event, called MIXTAPEStry, featured simultaneous interactive performances with a hip-hop theme at Dukes Fitzpatrick Building and the University of Illinois Krannert Art Museum.
Brady said her own talent for mathematics, which led to a bachelors degree in mathematics and physics at Macalester College and a masters degree in statistics at the University of California, Berkeley, set the stage for her current work.
During post-graduate jobs at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and
I believe it in my soul that there are better ways to interact with computer representations of data. And I want to get there.
Produced by:Monte Basgall, senior science writer, Duke News and Communications.