08:15 AM

President Drake visits SciDome, Newark campus

Inside a darkened theater in Newark, Ohio, is a chance to tour some of the most distant stars in the galaxy and inside the smallest parts of the human anatomy.

Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake joined Ohio State Newark Dean William McDonald, faculty and staff Monday for a demonstration of the SciDome planetarium at the Works: Ohio Center for History, Art and Technology.

“Congratulations to the community to be able to come together and create something that will have a lasting impact,” Drake said.

The SciDome is a 60-seat, 2,200-square-foot planetarium that uses a special 4K digital projector on a 30-foot dome screen to offer images of the universe in stunning detail. The $2.1 million facility opened last summer and is the result of a partnership between Ohio State Newark and The Works in downtown Newark.

Drake noted that he had spent many hours inside planetariums after one of his sons developed a keen interest in astronomy.

“It’s a fascinating way of introducing science to people,” Drake said.

The SciDome offers more than a look at the cosmos. The 4K projector can take images captured by satellites like the Hubble Space Telescope or the Kepler Spacecraft and make them appear as they are floating just out of reach. The planetarium can also be used to study anatomy, physiology and physics.

Michael Stamatikos, assistant professor of astronomy at the Newark Campus, showed off some of the tools that power the SciDome. He projected images of the stars and the suns from across the Milky Way.

He also displayed realistic animations of the human nervous system and human anatomy. Stamatikos said the potential programming for SciDome is boundless.

“I have colleagues in math, I have colleagues in psychology, I have colleagues in English and art who want to use this space,” Stamatikos said. “For me, it’s a modern day Lyceum – that’s what this represents.”

The SciDome can be manipulated in real time to customize each educational presentation. Stamatikos said that makes the theater more than a screen with an impressive picture.

“Our model is to educate at all levels, from K to infinity,” he said.

Drake also spent time Monday at the Newark Campus in conversations with faculty and students.