Saturday, May 8, 2010

Science in Second Life

Opportunities abound to access science related sites in Second Life. Of course the largest and most complex of these is SciLands in Second Life. Beyond that a list of science related sites in Second Life is also maintained. Zazen Manbi (Second Life avatar name) can be credited with creating the Science School and has a passion for the opportunities for Science education in the virtual world. You Tube videos abound on the use of Second Life in science education. In fact in August of 2007 the Science School was featured in an article in Inside Higher Education.

Despite the fact that many still predict the demise of Second Life, I found that the use of Second Life for science education is very much alive. I decided to tour some sites to see exactly what is going one and I found that the Science School is still as vibrant as it was almost three years ago when featured by Inside Higher Education.

The Science School is part of a larger group of sims known as SciLands. The leadership of Scilands maintains a blog that keeps those interested in science education in Second Life

The Science School

Ohio State University maintains a site in Second Life which includes a tour of the male testis. The photos illustrate the dynamic nature of this presentation:

The Tech Virtual Museum

The Tech Virtual is a not only a museum in Second Life, it is also a collaborative design platform for science and technology museums worldwide. The purpose of this platform is to generate concepts and content for use in museum exhibits.

Curators can select from content that includes broad concepts, exhibit models, and media.
International teams can collaborate virtually to produce exhibits or model an entire exhibition.
All content created here is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. This means that participating curators and designers can utilize content from this resource by citing authorship credit in the resulting creation.

The photos below illustrate the variety of projects in The Tech Virtual Museum:

A variety of displays demonstrating social networking:


According to their website this sim in Second Life:

"from the National Physical Laboratory launched NanoLands in the virtual world of Second Life – a place where nano science and technology communities come together to exchange ideas and knowledge. NanoLands is part of NPL’s Nanotechnology Island, which offers regular events and opportunities for people to attend presentations, meet, network and influence others in envisioning and defining the future of Nanotechnology."

Pharmacology Lab designed to provide students to participate in a variety of acitvities in a Pharmacology Lab this site provide this experience 24/7.

Space Destiny

Elcuian Islands;

Explorer island

Welcome to Explorer Island, home of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Second Life. The island is presently under construction, but please feel free to look around while we build.

HERE - ISM Entry Point and Entrance to the JPL Mall Area
EAST - The "Probe Garden" of robotic space missions
NORTHEAST - Delta II Launch for Phoenix and Dawn events
NORTH - Von Karman Meeting Area & JPL Mall
SOUTHWEST- Mars Mountain Area with the following displays:

To the south part of the island you will find a mountain with a platform. From the platform you can launch a Mars Airbag and it will roll down the mountain in a direction based on forces from the wind, terrain and initial random speed. If you are quick, you can ride the airbag down the hill but the route will change based upon your riding of the airbag.

MARS ROVERS - MER and Sojourner
There are two rovers in the Mars Mountain Area. The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) and the Sojourner from the Mars Pathfinder Mission. It's possible to ride Sojourner but only one at a time, it's a small rover.

Once in a while, a dust devil on Mars will blow by the Mars Exploration Rovers. These dust devils are the same as those on Earth except on Mars, they can be 3 times larger than a full tornado on Earth. In Second Life, you and two other friends can ride them around Mars Mountain.

Some photos from Second Nature are below:

With some innovation and creativity virtual labs can be created in Second Life. Information provided at the site is as follows: GEM Calgary's project in Second Life, an educational region about synthetic biology. For more, see:

Examples of this are are the virtual synthetic biology lab from the University of Calgary illustrated in the photos below:

About MICA:

For more information and the schedule of events, please visit

From their website:

We have a series of public lectures, technical seminars and discussions, and informal discussions; please see the website for more details.

You can join the MICA - VW Astrophysics group in SL, and email to be added to the email list for event announcements, etc.

The Meta Institute for Computational Astrophysics (MICA) is the first professional scientific organization based entirely in virtual worlds. Whereas it is focused on computational astrophysics and related fields, we welcome and support other areas of scholarly inquiry.

The goals of MICA include:

* Exploration, development and promotion of VWs and virtual reality [VR] technologies for professional research in astronomy and related fields.

* Providing and developing novel social networking venues and mechanisms for scientific collaboration and communications, including professional meetings, effective telepresence, etc.

* Use of VWs and VR technologies for education and public outreach.

* Exchange of ideas and joint efforts with other scientific disciplines in promoting these goals for science and scholarship in general.

A variety of sites provide a view from space, aeronatics, NASA's jet propulsion, etc:

NASA's Jet propulsion site:

If you review the list of science education sites in Second Life you can see that I have barely scratched the surface with what is available to explore and possibly even replicate at your site. The bottom line is that Second Life can have a positive impact on your bottom line in providing a cost effective alternative to the real life facility.