Multimedia Exhibits
Talk to Computing Division: March 1997

Quarks to Quasars
Accelerator Kiosk, Particle Graffiti, Primordial Soup , Powers of Ten
The Four Forces, Accelerating Science, Calculating the Mass of the Top
Playing Nature's Scale, 3D Event Display

Other Exhibits
Entry Exhibit, Particles and Prairies Multimedia Station

Dreams for the Future
Live Event Display , Remote Control Room, CD-ROM or Web Versions of Exhibits

Quarks to Quasars

Quarks to Quasars is a program for middle level and high school students to learn about the world of particle physics. They visit four rooms at the Lederman Science Center: Tools: Accelerators, Tools: Detectors, Methods: Collisions and Scattering, and Ideas where they use hands-on exhibits to develop an understanding of the operations and experiments that take place in the Fermilab accelerator and detector halls. Among these exhibits are the following multimedia stations.


Accelerator Kiosk

The Accelerator Kiosk in the Tools: Accelerators Room provides an introduction to the accelerators and experimental areas. It combines animations, video, sound, and graphics. The video segments come from Visual Media Services videos.

Hardware: Macintosh IIfx with a Microtouch touchscreen and a Videologic video card that supports overlaying 8 bit graphics over 24 bit video from a Pioneer Laserdisc 8000.
Software: SuperCard and Macromedia Director.


Particle Graffiti
Particle Graffiti sits in the Methods: Collisions and Scattering Room. The users play a game in which they identify W, Z, Jet and Junk Events from real CDF data. During the game, Drasko Jovanovic give students audio feedback. Physicist Jim Freeman provided the CDF events. Animations provide background on how to identify the particles.

Hardware: Macintosh Quadra 700 with large screen monitor, joystick.
Software: Macromedia Director.


Primordial Soup
Primordial Soup in the Ideas Room introduces students to the concept that everyday matter was a Primordial Soup shortly after the Big Bang. By turning a crank to add energy and go back in time, students watch video showing the progression of matter through four stages: atoms, electrons and nuclei, electrons and nucleons (protons and neutrons), quarks and electrons and other particles that existed just before the Big Bang. Students learn physicists use the Tevatron to create conditions similar to those in the early Universe to see some of the particles found in Primordial Soup.

The development of the exhibit involved the production of a computer prototype of the whole exhibit (backsplash, table top, and video) using a Macromedia Director movie with embedded QuickTime movies. Visitors used this prototype for about a year and provided valuable feedback. The current exhibit uses a progammable microcontroller developed by electrical engineer Paul C. Czarapata of the Beams Division. It polls input from the control panel on the tabletop and controls the videodisc, Teknova decoder for closed captioning, and the display lights on the tabletop. Jim Shultz of Visual Media Services created the 3D graphics and animations on networked Macintoshes. Visual Media Services produced the video and videodisc using a sophisticated digital video system on a Macintosh. Astrophysicist Rocky Kolb provided enormous assistance in the production of this station. In the video, Christine and Jeffrey Kolb are the guides and tell users about their father's interest in the Primordial Soup. Closed Captioning in English and Spanish was done offsite by TekNova.

Hardware: Prototype: PowerMac with a touchscreen. Final Exhibit: Microprocessor, Pioneer Laserdisc 4400, Teknova Decoder, Museum Technology Videodisc Controller and tabletop buttons, Audio Amplifier, hearphones. Video Production: 3D Rendering using distributed computing across 16-20 Macintoshes on Ethernet in the Science Center and Wilson Hall, Prototype Version of Animation: IIfx with NUVISTA card and Diaquest Single Frame Controller to output to NTSC video, Final Version of Animation and Video: Digital transfer of Rendered Picts to AVID Media Composer 1000 ( Macintosh Quadra 950 with 4 board set for audio, modified NUVISTA, Motion JPEG Compression and Fast Wide SCSI).
Software: Prototype: Macromedia Director and Adobe Premiere to make Quicktime movies. Video: AVID Media Composer, 3D graphics and animations: Macromedia Macromodel 3D for modeling, Renderworks for rendering frames and 3DWorks for motion scripting.

The Four Forces
The computer exhibit, the Four Forces, is a game that allows students to learn about each of the four forces by asking them to drag new slabs onto the face of Fermilab's Wilson Hall. During the activity, a Force Fiend randomly enters and takes away one of the four forces. Seeing the consequences of the loss of each force provides a graphic idea of the relative importance of each of the four forces to hold our world together. Fermilab theorists provided invaluable input. Physicists G. P. Yeh and Boaz Klima provided postscript files of events for the graphics on the backsplash. A updated version with audio for the Force Fiend will be available in the future.

Hardware: PowerMac with a touchscreen.
Software: Macromedia Director. Graphics in Computer Activity: Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Backsplash Graphics: Alpha and Adobe Illustrator for editing of postscript files and Adobe Photoshop

E=mc2 or Calculating the Mass of the Top Quark
This interactive computer activity introduces students to the concept of E=mc2. Students see a top quark event from the D0 Detector and the accompanying data with which they can calculate the mass of the top quark. They use an onscreen calculator to perform a simple calculation, adding up the energy of all the particles, created by the decay of the top quarks, and dividing by two. The production of the top quarks from the collision of a proton and antiproton is compared to the production of two steel balls from the collision of two Ping Pong balls. Students weigh and measure the size of a Ping Pong ball and steel ball on the tabletop. An Einstein puppet appears throughout the computer activity. Also available are Director movies explaining what a GeV is, various views of the data (lego, CTC, endview, RZ-View), and three-D renderings of the calorimeter by D0 physicist, Saul Youssef, of Florida State University.

The idea for this exhibit came out of a discussion between high school teacher, Bob Grimm, D0 physicist Gene Fisk, and Computing Division member, Liz Quigg. The particular event that Gene Fisk showed had all the particles coming out with ETA almost zero. This geometry allows the students to use such a simple method to calculate the mass of the top quark.

At a collaboration meeting in September, D0 physicists showed considerable interest in using this exhibit in their outreach efforts. We initially considered doing a CDROM, but decided that since the activity is so linear, we can make a video version of the exhibit for physicists and teachers to use in the classroom. Alberto Santoro has arranged for the script to be translated into Portuguese. We hope to translate it into other languages and PAL and SECAM versions of the video. A web version is planned in the future.

Calculating the Mass of the Top, a more advanced version of this activity, is on the Web and has generated a lot of interest. It emphasizes the use of vector addition to calculate the missing neutrino momentum before doing the mass calculation. Physicist Boaz Klima provided the D0 events, including three more simulated events for the high school students. Hans Jostlein recorded the audio for Einstein and Visual Media Services videotaped puppeteer, Laddie Odom, for the Einstein sequences and converted the audio and video to QuickTime movies.

Hardware: PowerMac, hearphones. Video Version: Radius VideoVision on the Macintosh 840AV.
Software: Macromedia Director, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator to read and manipulate the postscript files from D0, Ray Dream Designer for 3D Renderings. AVID Media Composer 1000 (Macintosh Quadra) and MovieCleaner for creating the QuickTime movies.

Powers of Ten
Two stations in the Ideas Room allow students to access the Powers of Ten video by Charles Eames. One station covers Inner Space and the other, Outer Space. With proper permissions, we transferred the video to videodisc and added closed captioning in English and Spanish. Using push buttons on the tabletop, students can choose to play sections of the video describing the different scales of nature.

Hardware: Pioneer Laserdisc 4400 with Teknova Decoder and Museum Technology Videodisc Controller, buttons, and hearphones.

Accelerating Science
Students view the Accelerating Science video produced by Visual Media Services with music and lyrics by Wally Kissel of the Beams Division on four monitors, a poorman's videowall. Video is stored on a videodisc. Dave Svoboda, a summer student with Visual Media Services, did the 3D graphics on an SGI at UIC's Electronic Visualization Laboratory.

Hardware: Pioneer Laserdisc 4400 and Museum Technology Videodisc Controller and buttons.

Playing Nature's Scale (In Production)
Students put piano keys with pictures on them (atoms, quarks, etc.) into a keyboard. Each key plays a note if it is placed in the correct position and a light goes on behind the corresponding graphic. When students place all keys correctly, it plays a tune. This exhibit was prototyped on a Macintosh using Macromind Director and SoundEdit before it was built. Paul C. Czarapata is still working on programming the microcontroller that will control it.
3D Event Display (In Production)
Amber Boehnlein is currently working on an exhibit to allow students to manipulate 3D events and view them with Stereo Glasses. Students will also see how the event is captured by a calorimeter.

Hardware: Exhibit Development: SGI Indigo 2 with a High Impact graphics board. Exhibit at Science Center: SGI Indy with Crystal Eyes Stereographic glasses.
Software: McFast to define the energy in the calorimeter towers, Isajet or Pythia to make the physics events and Open Inventor to do the graphics. X/Motif will be used for the user control. SGI utilities for sound.

McFast is a product written in the Computing Division by the Simulations arm of the Physics Analysis Tools group. Patty McBride is the project leader and Julia Yarba wrote the calorimeter simulation. The graphics code was originally written by Amber Boehnlein to verify that the calorimeter simulation made sense. For education, this combination of McFast and the display works well because it's a simplified view of what happens in a calorimeter and yet the difference between the energy deposition of electrons, muons and hadrons is still striking. Open Inventor is a commercial package that orginated at SGI. It is an object oriented graphics tool kit that is quite powerful and supports the features that are helpful in a educational display like interactive picking, highlighting and animation.

Other Exhibits

Entry Exhibit
The Entry Exhibit sits in the lobby of the Lederman Science Center and on the 15th floor of Wilson Hall. It introduces visitors to the Lederman Science Center. Parts of this are available in a Tour of Lederman Science Center on the Education Web Server. It was developed a couple of years ago and combines stills of cartoon characters with digital audio.

Hardware: Quadra 610 with Microtouch touchscreen.
Software: Macromedia Director and Debabelizer. Debabelizer is an important tool to do batch processing of graphics files and make SuperPalettes. An updated version of this needs to be made to reflect the additions to the Ideas Room.

Particles and Prairies Multimedia Station
This multimedia station on the Prairie was developed in the early 90s and won the New Media Invision Award. It was profiled in Linda Tway's book Multimedia in Action along with Microsoft's Dinosaurs and Encarta, A.D.A.M. software, Living Books, and The Journeyman Project. This project relied heavily on the contributions of teachers, scientists, photographers, and the video and slides of outside agencies. Visual Media Services with Liz Quigg and Fred Ullrich as producers made the video for the videodisc.

Hardware: Multimedia Station: Macintosh IIfx with Microtouch touchscreen and Videologic video board. Video Production: Macintosh IIfx with NUVISTA card to lay down animations to video.
Software: SuperCard and HyperCard. Video Production: Animations in Macromedia Director written to NTSC video. The videodisc and HyperCard stacks are sold to schools as part of the Particles and Prairies Program.

Dreams for the Future

Live Event Display
The Particle Graffiti exhibit uses real CDF events, but already collected. We would like to have live event displays at the Science Center, probably through the Web. Experiments are working on providing such events. To make them meaningful to the public, a good interface and description should be provided.
Remote Control Room
CDF set up a remote control room in the Atrium. Such a station or a modified version would be very interesting for visitors at the Lederman Science Center.
CD-ROM or Web Versions of Exhibits
We plan to create online versions of all our exhibits. We would like to experiment with QuickTime VR Pages to allow visitors to explore the exhibit space and various methods of adding animation to Web. The Ideas Room lends itself to a QuickTime VR movie. We continually ask ourselves how much we should consider our audience who do not always have high end computers and fast connections to take advantage of such content. We have discussed making a CDROM for users not connected to the Internet. A CDROM could include more complicated animations. We are considering the issues of developing cross-platform CDROMs including authoring everything as Web pages so that we can be developing our Web content at the same time as our CDROM. Such a CDROM might include Shockwave movies (the Web counterpart of Director movies). Currently, Shockwave movies do not support embedded QuickTime movies or linked files. The experience with the CHEP95 CDROM brought out some other issues involved, such as licensing for helper applications and browsers.


Developing multimedia stations requires the collaboration of many people - computer and video specialists, graphics designers, scientists, and educators. At Fermilab, this means members of the Computing Division, Visual Media Services, Public Affairs, Education Office, scientists and engineers, and teachers from local schools. Throughout the development of Quarks to Quasars, we have relied heavily on the artistic talents of our graphics designer, Thom Edel.

Liz Quigg (liz@fnal.gov)

March 3, 1997