Ling Li opens starfish exhibit at the Science Museum of Western Virginia
June 3, 2022
Assistant Professor Ling Li was joined by his family to cut the ribbon on a brand-new virtual reality experience exploring the architecture of starfish skeletons at the Science Museum of Western Virginia (SMWV) in Roanoke, Virginia. The exhibit was made possible through funding from Li's NSF CAREER award, and launched with assistance from liaison Phyllis Newbill, Associate Director of Educational Networks for the Virginia Tech Center for Educational Networks and Impacts, and staff members from SMWV, including former director Rachel Hopkins and the current director Mary R. Baako.
The exhibit gives children the opportunity to explore the structure of starfish skeletons, a ceramic structure that is intricate and lightweight, yet strong. The experience features interactive goggles that allow users to "fly" around and through a virtual skeleton, getting up close with the wonders of nature. Physical 3D models and 2D displays are also included to showcase the complexity of the complex biological material structure. Part of this work has recently been published as a cover article in Science.
“I feel fortunate to be able to work with Phyllis, Rachel, Mary, David Board from Stage2Studios, and a number of amazing students in my group to make this exhibit possible”, said Li. “We hope this exhibit will inspire more people, especially the children and young people, to appreciate the beauty of nature and also to be always curious.”