What do science and art have in common? Scientific visualization and hypermedia! In her current position at the Schlumberger Corporate Research Lab in Austin, Texas, Jan Moorman has the opportunity to work on both by investigating the tools and techniques to communicate technical information effectively.
What is scientific visualization? It is the mapping of data to geometry that can be displayed and interacted with via a graphics workstation. According to Jan, "At Schlumberger, there are a variety of data types to work with: Geophysical information (used to locate oil reserves in the earth), simulation data that imitates the instruments that collect the geophysical data, smart cards, telecommunication networks, and test equipment for computer chips, to name a few."
Accompanying this explosion in technology is a growing need for methods to create and maintain effective, up-to-date documentation. Electronic document management and hypermedia are providing great advances in making one of our greatest assets--information--available to everyone.
"The corporate research lab is a truly exciting place to have begun my work," says Jan. "Our mission is to identify new technology and demonstrate how its power can be harnessed to increase Schlumberger's competitive edge." She enjoys interfacing with other parts of Schlumberger and learning about many different technologies. By being in a research lab, she is able to create and direct her own work.
Jan was recruited to work for Schlumberger while in graduate school at the University of Illinois. She had returned to school to pursue a master's degree in computer science after a 10-year hiatus from school. Her undergraduate education culminated in a fine arts degree, but included three years in pre-med studies, as well. During the 10 years between undergraduate and graduate school, Jan worked as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. Jan remembers the moment that she decided to return to school: "I was watching a program on the Public Broadcasting Station when I saw an animated scientific visualization. I knew instantly that this type of work was the answer to my need to blend my science and art background."