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Science On a Sphere (SOS) is a visualization system that uses networked projectors to display still and animated datasets onto the outside of a large, suspended, opaque sphere (68 inches in diameter).  JMU was the first university to install SOS and is one of a few institutions to incorporate SOS as a pedagogical tool in university courses. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) developed SOS to increase the public’s understanding of Earth as a system and the role of humans in the ecosystem.  SOS is one part of NOAA’s multi-faceted education program that brings the research NOAA conducts and the data that drives resource management decisions to students, teachers, and learners of all ages. With over 125 installations, Science On a Sphere enhances informal educational programs in science centers, museums, and universities internationally. JMU actively participates with NOAA's SOS Users Collaborative Network to maximize the effectiveness of the tool as an Earth system science education platform.  While SOS is most often employed at JMU for science education, it is a spherical display system that is applicable to any discipline. Students and faculty from the Departments of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication; Art and Art History; and Education have completed projects with SOS. 


A brief training is available for faculty and staff interested in using SOS for official business: teaching, service, and/or scholarship, including student projects. Faculty and staff SOS users have JACard access, reserve the space in advance, and self-host their classes or groups. Faculty and staff interested in completing the brief training can email



Occasionally, JMU will hold public activities for families, alumni, and/or prospective students. Please check back here for event announcements.


We will not be hosting K-12 visitors at this time due to the pandemic.

For teachers seeking a science related activity that middle and high school students can complete from home or school, we invite you to consider one of the following options:

  1. NASA’s Digital GLOBE Earth System Poster activities
  2. NOAA Data in the Classroom activities


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