Dynamic Earth

Science Communications, Visitor Attractions

Within the 'Time Lords' exhibition at 'Our Dynamic Earth’, a hanging 1.2m PufferSphere tells the geological story of Earth from the formation of the continents as we know them, through to the cause of earthquakes and volcanoes.


Uniquely nestled between a volcano and the parliament, lies one of Edinburgh’s most popular visitor attractions. Dynamic Earth is dedicated to earth science and educating their visitors about the processes that have shaped the earth.

Touted as the ‘interactive adventure of a lifetime’, the centre underwent a mammoth redevelopment in 2014. The project’s aim was to create three interlinked galleries through which visitors would explore the legacy of the Scottish scientists on whose work modern geological science is founded.


Kicking off the ‘Scotland’s Time Lords’ exhibit is an interactive gallery showcasing the work of ‘the father of geology’ James Hutton. Next, visitors make their way into the second room, themed around the work of Arthur Holmes. This area was designed to impart an understanding of the rock cycle of the earth, a living organism, ever growing and changing. This is central to Holmes’ legacy, with his work in mantle convection paving the way for the theory of plate tectonics. Mantle convection and plate tectonics is best understood visually, with the earth acting as a jigsaw of parts assembled to reveal the mysteries of continental drift. Dynamic Earth approached Pufferfish for a spherical display solution that would help to tell that elaborate story spanning 8 million years.


Dynamic Earth Scientific Director Professor Stuart Monro, outlined how important it was when designing the new exhibits to ensure that the technology solutions would work hard to impress visitors, “Young people are surrounded by technology these days, whether in schools or at home, so I do think that technology needs to really capture their imagination and get the ‘wow factor’ from pupils. The most important thing is that the topic is interesting and delivered in an exciting and innovative way.”

Taking the time to understand their needs, the solution provided for Dynamic Earth was a PufferSphere 1200. The PufferSphere 1200 met the requirements to provide a hardwearing, ceiling-suspended projected globe display that would provide maximum visual impact as visitors entered the room, while coherently narrating the complex shifts in the earth’s landscape. Meanwhile, the 1.2-metre span of the screen created a sense of spectacle attracting visitors to the centre of the room.

Summary of outcomes

Since the refurbishment, the venue has been welcoming almost 300,000 visitors every year. The five-star attraction is consistently one of the city’s top destinations.

Staff have described the PufferSphere as an incredibly interesting tour highlight for guests. Visitor reviews regularly cite the PufferSphere and have pointed out its power to transform understanding of a subject that they originally failed to grasp at school!

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