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Columbus State University astronomy professor Shawn Cruzen has contributed a book review on planetarium history for Nature, regarded as the worlds elite publication of multidisciplinary science.
Nature, a weekly, British-published journal, solicited Cruzen to review the book Theaters of Space and Time: American Planetaria, 1930-1970 (Rutgers University Press; 2005, 266 pp.) by Jordan D. Marche II.
Cruzen’s review, titled An Inside View of the Universe, appears on page 563 in Nature’s Dec. 1 issue. Cruzen describes Marche’s work as a meticulous and colorful exploration of the evolution of the planetarium, from the concept’s inception in Germany to its proliferation across the United States.
Cruzen, executive director of CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center, explained his selection by Nature for the piece: This is a case of the journal’s editors recognizing me not as an astronomy expert, but as the director of one of the most cutting-edge planetariums in the world. It’s a distinction the university, as a whole, should take pride in.
The book, said Cruzen, covers both technical aspects and social significance of the planetarium phenomenon that became widespread during the 1960s and helped change the cultural complexion of science, and shape public attitudes toward the U.S. space program.
Cruzen said he was particularly drawn to Marches composite profile of a successful industry professional: part astronomer, educator, technician, artist and entertainer At CSU weve established a team of space center professionals which individually reflects each aspect of Marche’s profile and drives the success and popularity of our planetarium.
Cruzen said Marche’s epilogue references the future of planetarium projection systems, including the Digistar 3 Laser System that will make its world-planetarium debut in March 2006 at CSU. Powered by 16 computers, the system will produce the highest resolution, single-lens video projection system in a public venue. While the installation is in progress, visitors to the CSU planetarium are experiencing a stunning, 180-degree full-dome view of productions from the current Digistar 3 CRT system.
Cruzen’s article in Nature can be accessed via the Schwob Library periodical collection. Nature also is published online at www.nature.com. Paid registration is required for full article access.