A list of numbers isn't much to look at but these data visualizations created by researchers at Stanford University are simply gorgeous. This episode of Science Bytes, produced by Kikim Media for PBS and the Public Library of Science, talks to Risa Wechsler, Tom Abel, and Ralf Kaehler, who are working to understand the evolution of the universe. Running numerical simulations to study a 13.5 billion-year period of change, they transform the results into images and movies. Dark matter, which absorbs light, is one phenomenon they've investigated, in addition to the formation of stars and galaxies. "The visualizations make what I do tangible," Wechsler explains. 3-D models give the team an even better sense of what they're looking at; "Actually, I saw all kinds of things in the movie that I hadn't seen before," Wechsler says. Don't miss the images and movies on Kaehler's website, like this visualization of dark matter, and this simulation of the first light in the universe.
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