glue-ing Together the Universe

Presentation Date: 

Friday, March 6, 2020


Microsoft New England Research Division, Cambridge, MA

Presentation Slides: 

Astronomers have a long history of visualization. Going back only as far as Galileo, discoveries were made using sketches of celestial objects moving over time. Today, Astronomy inquiries can, and often do, make use of petabytes of data at once. Huge surveys are analyzed statistically to understand tiny fluctuations that hint at the fundamental nature of the Universe, and myriad data sets, from telescopes across the globe and in space are brought together to solve problems ranging from the nature of black holes to the structure of the Milky Way to the origins of planets like Earth. In this talk, I will summarize the state of partnerships between astronomical, physical, and computational approaches to gleaning insight from combinations of scientific and information visualization in Astrophysics. In particular, I will discuss how the “glue” linked-view visualization environment (, developed originally to facilitate high-dimensional data exploration in Astronomy and Medicine, can be extended to many other fields of data-driven inquiry. In addition, I will explain how the current open-source, plug & play, approach to software facilitates the combination of powerful programs and projects such as glue, WorldWide Telescope, ESASky, OpenSpace and the Zooniverse Citizen Science platform. Throughout the talk, I will emphasize the commonalities amongst many fields of science that rely on high-dimensional data. I will highlight our team's recent work on “The Radcliffe Wave” as a great example of a discovery enabled by data science and visualization.

Conference Website:

An "preview" version of the slides (sometimes with unfortunate font subsitutions) is embedded below. Archival versions, in native file formats (Apple Keynote and PDF), with fonts included, are available on Dataverse.

WiDS_MSR_glue_Universe_2020 on Keynote