Fundamental research in cosmology continues to disclose ever more mysteries
of the first millennia of the universe. More detailed knowledge will be
delivered by the recently launched Planck Satellite which will measure the
microwave background - the so-called echo of the big bang. How can we expose
the broader public to the complex physics of the early universe? In the
"International Year of Astronomy" (2009) MPA dares to use an unusual experiment:
a comic in internet about the physical processes that took place during the first
400.000 years afte the big bang.
Two fictitious high-spirited scientists of the institute, passionate surfers,
take off to visit the early Universe. Not to do serious research there but to
experience the ultimate ride on the plasma waves of the big bang. However,
they quickly realize that they would be stuck without their knowledge of the
physics of the early Universe. This is not meant to replace textbooks or
scientific texts but to guide the reader in an amusing way through a series of
phenomena of cosmic microwave background. Even one of the unsolved puzzles
of cosmology - the strange "Cold Spot" in the microwave background - receives
a new explanation.
The knowledge is always passed on casually via the story. The internet comic
contains short, interactively selectable background information on the early
Universe which leads to more detailed external internet pages about physics and
cosmology. In this way a broader audience can be reached: youth that could be
attraced by the unusual surfer story; interested amateurs who get an
entertaining introduction into microwave background; and finally teachers
who may use the material for illustrating their lessons.
This comic was created by the Ensslin brothers Torsten and Jojo. Torsten
Ensslin is a cosmologist at MPA and heads the German participation in the
Planck Satellite mission. Jojo Enßlin is a freelance illustrator, surfer and
cofounder of the "Galerie Revolver" in Duesseldorf. MPA is one of the leading
research institutes for theoretical astrophysics, and cosmology is one of
its major research areas.
The cosmic can be found under the following links in English and German. There are
also links to screenshots as press materials as well as links to the other activities
of the MPA to the "International Year of Astronomy 2009".
screenshots as press materials
International Year of Astronomy 2009
For further information please contact:
Dr. Torsten Enßlin
Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
Phone: +49 89 30000-2243
Fax: +49 89 30000-3569