Who, What, Why?
Sunday, January 31
by neilC on Sun 31 Jan 2010 00:57 GMT
Working hard, both in the office and at home. Out of nowhere, an invite to a presentation by Nobel laureate John Mather, cosmologist and man responsible for one of the most important scientific findings of the 20th century. The lecture had just started. Fortunately for me, it was just a mouse-click away. Within seconds I had my seat amongst the audience of some 60 or so people who had come to listen to one of the discoverers of Cosmic Background Radiation present quite literally the history of everything that has ever been and possibly will ever be, live. Hearing his phenomenally clear and enthusiastic voice I watched him present slides and video, answer questions from the audience I was sat amongst and all the time we were all exchanging snippets of conversation - insights, jokes, links to related science. I was able in no time to invite other friends to join me and watched as they arrived and found seats too. We could chat privately about the presentation as it unfolded as well as engaging in the banter of the audience. The final section of the talk detailed the James Webb Space Telescope, an Infra-Red instrument which is the successor to Hubble which is going to be placed 1 milion miles beyond earth, away from the sun and will give us unprecendented vision of our universe. At the end, we all were able to applaud the speaker and he fielded a wide range of great questions.
For veterans of virtual worlds like Second Life this kind of experience might be taken for granted but for me despite the years I've been involved, these are the times when the power of shared social immersive environments still takes my breath away. The sense of involvement, engagement, interactivity and togetherness is unsurpassed. It seems lately that I'm having more and more such experiences, and my long-held belief in the power of shared 3D immersive spaces seems to be growing ever stronger.
A huge thank you to Prospero Frobozz and Curious George of MICA, the Meta Institute for Computational Astrophysics for running the event in Second Life and for their great amphitheare on the StellaNova sim. I am very grateful to have been there.
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