Amplifier for Art, Science and Society

Images: Julien Gremaud.

Images: Julien Gremaud.

The Dynamic Universe


The Dynamic Universe provides participants with a platform for the most high-fidelity rendition of the cosmos possible in a virtual world. It does so by enclosing participants in the blacked out immersive visualization environment of the Laboratory for Experimental Museology’s 0.5 cave, which simultaneously projects the 3D view on both the wall and floor (making it half a full cave).

As the main output of LASTRO’s VIRUP project, The Dynamic Universe is based on a powerful, open-source beta software that builds a real-time virtual universe. The application exploits the most detailed contemporary astrophysical and cosmological data available, sourced from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and IllustrisTNG missions, among others.

Astrophysical dynamical simulations currently cover up to six orders of magnitude in both space and time, from a few thousand years to 13.7 billion years. Crucial physical phenomena occur at all scales. Experimental museology and astrophysics therefore share a major challenge: to build systems and software that not only visualize but that can also accommodate the exponential scales of the cosmos as constantly evolving material in space and in time on concurrently embodied, perceptual, and cognitive levels.

The omnidirectional immersive interactive environments realised by eM+ enhance cognitive exploration and the interrogation of the kind high-dimensional data fundamental to cosmic big data exploration, while also providing powerful spaces akin to the real world for simulation.

Featuring a six degrees of freedom (6DoF) controller, The Dynamic Universe demonstrates the future of astronomical visualization. It also reveals the power of our bodies to interact intuitively and creatively with data in layers and in real time, and how such a system can transform the way we perceive a dataset beyond the limits of human comprehension, such as that of our Universe.