Portrait of Curtis Wong

Curtis Wong

Principal Researcher


Curtis Wong is a Principal Researcher at the Microsoft Redmond Research Laboratory. His interests include data visualization, interactive media, and natural user interaction. He formed the NextMedia group which developed a number of technologies to enhance browsing and sharing of interactive media experiences. His research with Jonathan Fay working on spatial temporal interactive data visualization led to the WorldWide Telescope (WWT) which empowered millions of users around the globe to explore and understand the Universe. WWT debuted at TED in 2008 and has now been acquired by the American Astronomical Society to advance astrophysical research, public outreach and education. Soon after WWT’s launch Curtis formed a team that would go on to create PowerMap and 3D Maps in Office Excel allowing everyone to be able to visualize spatial and temporal data on a map/globe to understand the patterns of activity over time.  Curtis collaborated with Dave Brown to develop 3D visualization platforms including Holograph and NUIGraph for visualization of complex multidimensional unit data across a number of Microsoft platforms and devices.

Curtis also conceived and developed Project Tuva in collaboration with Bill Gates to make the Messenger Series Lectures by acclaimed Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist Richard P. Feynman freely available to the public on the Web. Tuva featured an innovative interactive player with links to simulations and detailed reference information directly from key points in the lecture. Project TUVA was a WEBBY Award finalist 2011 in the intensely competitive Best Video on the Web.

Curtis has a long history working with Public Broadcasting serving on advisory boards for PBS Online, PBS KIDS, WGBH and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  He worked closely with WGBH’s Frontline to lead the vision for Commanding Heights: the Battle for the Global Economy which was awarded the British Academy Award for Online Learning in 2002.

Curtis joined Microsoft Research from Intel Corp in Santa Clara where he was Director of Content/Technology and conceived and developed ArtMuseum.net which was the first broadband 3D virtual museum on the Web featuring the National Gallery’s Van Gogh’s Van Goghs, and the Whitney museum’s American Century exhibition and presented at TED in 1999.

In early days Curtis was at the Voyager Company, a pioneer in interactive media technology which created the first eBooks, interactive laserdiscs for education and the produced the first multimedia CD-ROM’s for Windows such as Multimedia Beethoven and the first children’s CD-ROM: Amanda Stories.




Established: September 22, 2015

NUIgraph is a prototype Windows 10 app for visually exploring data in order to discover and share insight. The app has been designed for touch interaction, however a mouse can also be used. Data can be loaded from .csv files (exported from Excel). Once loaded, each row in the data is represented by a block on the screen. Blocks can be flexibly mapped to position, color and size using each column in the data, or…

WorldWide Telescope

Established: April 2, 2002

WorldWide Telescope (WWT) is a virtual telescope to astronomers, a virtual observatory of the Earth to geo-researchers, and an interactive teaching and learning tool to science educators. Since its initial release in late 2006, WWT has become an integral part of many scientists’ research platform and an indispensable curriculum companion for many science teachers worldwide. The WWT project is a collaborative effort between Microsoft Research and a variety of academic and governmental agencies. Microsoft Research is…









Prior to Microsoft in 1998, Curtis was Director of Intel Productions in Silicon Valley where he conceived and developed www.artmuseum.net (no longer available) the first Broadband blockbuster art museum exhibition network on the Web. The site featured faithful 3D recreations of concurrent art exhibitions in major museums, such as American Century Exhibition at the Whitney Museum, Van Gogh’s Van Goghs at The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and the Virtual Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Visitors to the virtual museum could see the same guided tour as in the museum and closely examine the works of art with related letters and drawings for context as well as text chat with other visitors, take photos from anywhere in the virtual museum and email them to friends via an electronic post card with an invitation to visit the museum.