December 18th, 2013

The IRC is experiencing SUCCESS! Having Bianca Bouknight intern with us this year, we are literally working with Students United for Campus-Community Engagement for Post-Secondary Success (SUCCESS).

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Water Falls Video

December 17th, 2013

Here’s a three-minute video by IRC Technical Director Ryan Zuber, explaining the Science on a Sphere project Water Falls, recently completed to illustrate NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement mission.


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Happy Birthday, Claribel Cone!

November 14th, 2013

Born on November 14, 1864, Baltimorean Claribel Cone, together with her sister Etta, amassed one of the most impressive collections of French Modern art in the United States, which was donated after their deaths to the Baltimore Museum of Art. In 2001, the IRC collaborated with the BMA to develop a virtual tour of the Cone sisters’ Eutaw Place apartment, where they lived for years with works by Matisse (who sketched the portrait displayed below), Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, and van Gogh. You can click here to learn more about  the Cone Sisters Virtual Tour.

Happy birthday, Claribel! Time goes by, but good taste never goes out of style.

Dunbar High School “Dreamers & Achievers” Visit

November 12th, 2013

The IRC got a visit today from Dunbar High School‘s “Dreamers and Achievers.”

42 students interested in careers in science, technology, creative arts, engineering, and medicine, accompanied by teachers Elena Fedyszyn-Walsh and Werner Garben, and Harbor City Links, Inc. volunteers Jackie Hrabowski and Merry Macer, toured our facilities, getting a look at some of our projects.

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In development: the “Brick Garden” Online Media Series

November 1st, 2013

Three years ago the IRC started a project called Who We Am to begin a conversation among researchers from numerous disciplines about why we humans do the things we do. Through earlier projects we’ve done, we’ve become aware that the common belief that people rationally pursue their best interests has been called into question by decades of research findings to the contrary. Based on those discussions, we are now developing an online media series tentatively called Brick Garden, to explore the surprising notion that the arts might be a key to effectively helping individuals and communities alike make decisions that might lead them to living the lives they aspire to.

Header image for the Brick Garden website

The theory is as follows: Culture might be much more important than most of us thought, because we now know it shapes socially “normal” ways of thinking and acting. (Normal is huge for human beings because we are social animals.) Further, culture is quite flexible, and its levers are the arts—the traditional languages of culture (stories, images, literature, music, architecture and more recently, electronic media). Therefore, arts-based interventions seem promising.

At the same time, nationally, internationally, and in a big way, in Baltimore, there is a growing movement of artists engaging in what they call “social practice” —in other words, using their art work to help people. Agencies and organizations charged with improving the quality of life for people are suddenly focusing more and more on culture, identity and place, all of which can be powerfully shaped through the arts.

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A Salon in the IRC

October 31st, 2013

In celebration of our 25th anniversary, the IRC and UMBC recently put on the ritz and hosted the second in an ongoing series of Salons at UMBC. These Salons are arts and humanities events designed to develop and strengthen relationships with cultural leaders and donors in the greater Baltimore area.



The IRC Salon focused on the cross-disciplinary intersection between art and science, highlighting the interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration among artists, researchers, industry partners, and students facilitated by our program.  It was co-hosted by UMBC president Freeman Hrabowski and his wife, Jackie, Elizabeth and John Linehan, and Elaine and Solomon Snyder.

“Our space and our brains are totally transformed; it’s like a science fair,” IRC associate director Lee Boot remarked, pointing to the eighteen past and present IRC projects on display, filling the IRC labs and lining the halls. Guests mixed and mingled among them, discovering, exploring, and interacting with SeeIntuit,, Zoetrope Tunnel, NAS Dome Explorer, Symphony Interactive, Mapping Baybrook, and Visualizing Early Baltimore, to name a few, with IRC staff and students on hand to demonstrate and provide context for the projects.

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Why Baltimore?

October 31st, 2013

Visualizing the Early City of Baltimore:

What was so important about Baltimore two hundred years ago? Over a few decades in the early nineteenth century, Baltimore’s population exploded, and it grew from a small town to the third largest city in the young United States. What was the draw? After the British set fire to the city of Washington in 1814, they set their sights on Baltimore, which they considered a particular thorn in their side. Why?

The bicentennial of Maryland’s role in the War of 1812 has provided a catalyst for asking these historical questions as well as an opportunity for the IRC to use the experience gained from our ‘Visualizing Early Washington, DC’ project to work on developing an accurate map and 3D depiction of the Baltimore cityscape circa 1815, shortly after the famous bombing of Fort McHenry that inspired the words of the U.S. National Anthem. With fundamental support from the Maryland Historical Society and its network of historical scholars, the IRC has been able to collect the data necessary to initiate the visualization.



To create the topography, Joshua Cole, Environmental Data Manager at the UMBC Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education (CUERE), led a group of students and a GIS specialist in the IRC, digitizing historic topographic maps and deducing how the early landscapes of Baltimore and nearby watersheds appeared.  The resulting Digital Elevation Model and archival materials will be valuable to historians, hydrologists, and biophysical researchers interested in historical Baltimore.  IRC Director, Dan Bailey, has already used this information to create an accurate base map of Baltimore at the end of the War of 1812.

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New IRC Documentary

September 13th, 2013

Thanks to Lee Boot, IRC Associate Director, the IRC has a new short documentary, The Work of the Imaging Research Center at UMBC. Enjoy.

The IRC Gets a Makeover.

July 13th, 2013

Drum roll please…… For its 25th Anniversary, the IRC is getting a much needed treatment at the Spa.

M Design of Baltimore, MD, worked with the IRC and created a new logo and identity design. In the process, the entrance to the IRC lobby was also revamped to be more of a gallery for displaying our projects. Stop by and check it out. Lee Boot designed the new poster template that showcases IRC research efforts. Thanks to whole crew who helped with everything.

Whooping Professor Cathy Cook

March 17th, 2013

Well, perhaps, not “whooping”, but Visual Arts Professor Cathy Cook was quite excited when a package from the Field Museum of Chicago arrived at the IRC.  Professor Cook is producing a documentary on Whooping Cranes, and part of the project requires animating an accurate skeleton of the crane.  To do this, required having a full skeleton on hand to measure and copy. The package contained a full skeleton, including all the tiny bones in the feet and head.   IRC Intern, Deborah Firestone, a Visual Arts student, is modeling and rigging the skeleton for the project.

Professor Cathy Cook and IRC intern Deborah Firestone, Visual Arts, assembling a Whooping Crane skeleton sent to the IRC from the Field Museum of Chicago.