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Foreword by Walter Cronkite  
Introduction - The National Science Foundation at 50: Where Discoveries Begin, by Rita Colwell  
Internet: Changing the Way we Communicate  
Advanced Materials: The Stuff Dreams are Made of  
Education: Lessons about Learning  
Manufacturing: The Forms of Things Unknown  
Arabidopsis: Map-makers of the Plant Kingdom  
Decision Sciences: How the Game is Played  
Visualization: A Way to See the Unseen
Environment: Taking the Long View  
Astronomy: Exploring the Expanding Universe  
Science on the Edge: Arctic and Antarctic Discoveries  
Disaster & Hazard Mitigation  
About the Photographs  
About the NSF  
Chapter Index  
Visualization: A way to see the unseen

Computer Graphics:
A Competitive Edge

"Advances in computer graphics have transformed how we use computers…While everyone is familiar with the mouse, multiple 'windows' on Computer Graphics: A Competitive Edge - click for details computer screens, and stunningly realistic images of everything from animated logos in television advertisements to NASA animations of spacecraft flying past Saturn, few people realize that these innovations were spawned by federally sponsored university research.

"[For example] Hypertext and hypermedia have their roots in Vannevar Bush's famous 1945 Atlantic Monthly article 'As We May Think.' Bush described how documents might be interlinked in the fashion of human associative memory. These ideas inspired Doug Engelbart at SRI (funded by DARPA) and Andries van Dam of Brown University (funded by NSF) to develop the first hypertext systems in the 1960s. These systems were the forerunners of today's word-processing programs, including simple what-you-see-is-what-you-get capabilities…

"High-quality rendering has caught the public's eye and is having a vast impact on the entertainment and advertising industries. From Jurassic Park to simulator rides at Disney World and dancing soda cans in TV commercials, the world has been seduced by computer animation, special effects, and photorealistic imagery of virtual environments…

"One could continue with many more examples, but the message is clear: federal sponsorship of university research in computer graphics stimulated a major segment of the computing industry, allowing the United States to establish and maintain a competitive edge."

– Excerpted from Computer Graphics: Ideas and People from America's Universities Fuel a Multi-billion Dollar Industry by Edward R. McCracken, Former Chairman and CEO Silicon Graphics, Inc. © 1995-97.

PDF Version
Visualizing Science in Action
Worth… Data Points
Art & Science… to Numbers
Staking the Pioneers: The 1960s - 1990s
Visualization: Back to the Future
Visualizing a Virtual Reality
Computer Graphics: A Competitive Edge
A Panoply of Applications
Computer Grapihics: Into the Marketplace
To Learn More …

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