Cosmic: Riding Early Waves - The Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics is presenting a scientific cartoon about the early Universe

Cosmic: A comic about the cosmos. The Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) at Garching offers a teaching tool using an unusual method, a picture story in internet to attract interested amateurs.

Fig. 1: Scenes from the linkPfeil.gifCosmic

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 ábroader 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 ámicrowave 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 En▀lin 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".

Further Information

linkPfeil.gifscreenshots as press materials
linkPfeil.gifInternational Year of Astronomy 2009

For further information please contact:

Dr. Torsten En▀lin
Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
Phone: +49 89 30000-2243
Fax: +49 89 30000-3569

Jojo Ensslin
Hermannstrasse 36
40233 Düsseldorf
Phone: 0179/4989139