Feb 24, 2015
Late last year, two University of California, San Diego students set out for Florence, Italy, to diagnose a patient that had no prior medical record, couldn’t be poked or prodded in any way, and hadn’t been in prime condition for more than 800 years. The ‘patient’ in question is the Baptistery of St. John, a basilica that sits in the Piazza del Duomo, adjacent to the famous Florence Cathedral (known colloquially as “The Duomo”). The students, structural engineering Ph.D. candidates Mike Hess and Mike Yeager of the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3), had been invited by the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo to conduct a structural 'health assessment' of the building, which was completed in 1128 and was the site where the Italian poet Dante and many other notable Renaissance figures were baptized.
It has been a busy month for Ph.D. students from computer science, structural engineering and materials science who are part of the NSF IGERT project in cultural heritage engineering based in the Qualcomm Institute's Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3).
On May 20, National Geographic featured a new replica of King Tut's tomb in Luxor, and the writer quizzed Calit2 and CISA3 archaeologist Tom Levy on how the facsimile fits into the emerging field of cyber-archaeology. "We're able to walk away from an excavation with the whole archaeological site on a hard drive," said Levy. "With this amazing data I've collected, I can then take you into a 3-D visualization theater and we can enter the excavation."
Six graduate students from the University of California, San Diego spent most of the Fall 2013 quarter in Florence through late November conducting research for the IGERT-TEECH program.
Researchers from CISA3 and the IGERT program in engineering for cultural heritage diagnostics were invited to present their work in Marseille, France, at the largest scientific event on digital heritage ever -- the Digital Heritage International Congress 2013.
An interdisciplinary team of Ph.D. students from the University of California, San Diego, recently spent time at archaeological sites in the southern Italian region of Calabria, and they came away with a newfound respect for the daily routine of uncovering the past – and a better understanding of how to safeguard archaeological sites and artifacts for the future.
Students from the University of California, San Diego who are part of a National Science Foundation graduate training program in cultural heritage diagnostics spent part of September and October in the cradle of Western civilization – ancient Greece. There they met with important collaborators at conferences and workshops and explored archaeological sites gathering data for their IGERT projects.
A crowdsourcing effort led by CISA3 research scientist Albert Lin from Calit2's Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego is central to a new challenge as programmers worldwide are invited to develop an active, machine-learning algorithm to match human perception in picking out interesting features in satellite imagery used in Lin's search for the lost burial site of Genghis Khan in Mongolia.
The Qualcomm Institute and its Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3) will provide exciting summer research opportunities for Aliya Hoff and other undergraduates interested in the study and safeguarding of cultural heritage.
CISA3 Researchers Ashley M. Richter, Vid Petrovic, David Vanoni, and John Mangan presented on the utility of developing visualization methodologies for data collection and dissemination and the social meanings of encountering the past as a layer of the present, thereby becoming part of the history of the space. Their paper was presented to the 2013 Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) conference at the University of Chicago, and the University of Southampton in the UK. The paper was entitled "Expanding Layered Realities: Cognitive Annotated Imaging Systems for Accurate Archaeological Visualizations and Augmentations of Space and Time in 3D Immersive Virtual and Physical for Collaborative Research and Public Dissemination." The presentation was part of a session entitled Seeing, Thinking, Doing: Visualization as Archaeological Research, organized by Sara Perry of the University of York and Catriona Cooper of the University of Southampton. It was organized via teleconference so that speakers at Chicago, Southampton, and UC San Diego could present from within their own visualization systems to further emphasize the potential of collaborative visualization with distant colleagues.
CISA3 was visited by his Royal Highness Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan. CISA3 researchers and IGERT Trainees presented their latest work on Cyber-Archaeology in Jordan to his highness as part of his Roads for Success tour of the UCSD campus.
CISA3 Researcher David Vanoni visited San Diego's Kearny High School of Media and Design to engage junior and senior students in learning computer science, discussing with them his own path as a computer scientist and researcher with CISA3, where he applies his technical knowledge to visualizing and experiencing cultural heritage objects through his augmented-reality tablet application, ARtifact.
Five CISA3 Undergraduate Research Interns (CURIs) presented their projects at the 26th Annual UCSD Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) at the UCSD Faculty Club (presented by Academic Enrichment Programs in association with the Experiential Learning Cluster, Student Affairs, and the Office of Research Affairs). In the URC session on Artifacts & Technology, Cognitive Science CURIs James M. Darling and Shelby Cohantz presented on Creating Cognitively Minded User Interfaces for 3D and Augmented Reality Visualizations of Cultural Heritage Spaces and Information. Lead CURI, anthropology undergraduate Aliya Hoff, presented on Diagnostic Visualization Systems and Methodologies for Underwater Archaeology. And anthropology undergraduate Kat Huggins presented her Faculty Mentorship research project entitled "Breaking the Ingot out of the Mold: A Practice Approach to Technological Ceramics." In the URC Session on Materials and NanoEngineering, Chemistry CURI Lillian Wakefield presented on "X-Ray Fluorescence in Cultural Heritage Diagnostics." CURIs Aliya Hoff and Lillian Wakefield have also recently been awarded spots in the coveted Qualcomm Institute/Calit2 Summer Scholars program to pursue their respective research. Aliya will be working with Scripps Institution of Oceanography underwater visualist and professor Jules Jaffe and his team to take CISA3's diagnostic imaging methodologies underwater. Lilli will be working with Professor Maurizio Seracini and his Ph.D. student Samantha Stout on elemental analyses of cultural heritage artifacts.
IGERT Trainee and Archaeological Anthropology Ph.D. candidate Ashley M. Richter has won an Interdisciplinary Research Award from UC San Diego's Office of Graduate Studies and Graduate Student Association.
Great news: Christine Wittich, a grad student from Structural Engineering who is part of CISA3's NSF IGERT program in cultural heritage diagnostics, has won an award from the Science & Engineering Library at UCSD. She received one of the two awards given by S&E Library at the Jacobs School of Engineering's annual ResearchExpo, which took place April 18. Christine's prize-winning poster on "Shake Table Testing of Stiff Model Statue Structures Considering Mass Eccentricity" will be displayed in the library through the summer. The award for "Best Use of the Literature" was selected from among more than 200 posters on display at ResearchExpo.