I am curious: Genomics gets personal in Second Life

Are you curious about Second Life?

Next week you can satisfy your curiosity and learn about the personal genomics frontier at the same time.

Bertalan Meskó announced that Erin Davis (science writer) and Joyce Tung (human geneticist) from 23andMe will be giving a presentation next week in Second Life on personalized genetics.

As travel costs rise and traveling becomes harder, I think we'll see many more things happening in alternative places like Second Life. Virtual environments like this can make on-line communication entertaining in ways that conference calls and webinars can't. I may even give Second Life a try next winter with my on-line class to see if I can make the course more engaging and interactive.

Drug Monkey had an interesting post last week on the benefits of attending scientific meetings. Those benefits are going to be harder to achieve when larger chunks of hard-to-get grant money must be allocated to travel. It's sad to contemplate, but fewer and fewer people are going to be attending those meetings. Second Life could be a reasonable alternative. In fact, it's kind of funny to picture what the avatars might look like.

i-4ee4d5d8901ede27457c9f17c62ebaae-PH2008040101597.jpgStraight-laced corporate America is starting to use Second Life for company retreats. Even congress has been trying it out. Could science meetings be far behind?

If you're interested in giving Second Life a try, this presentation is a good excuse. You can stand in the back and be as inconspicuous as you like.

I do recommend downloading the software a couple of days ahead of time and practicing a bit. It's helpful to know how to control your avatar, so you can avoid crashing into people by mistake. I wrote some instructions here.

Anyway, if you decide to try it, here are the details:

Time: the 24th of June at 10:00 AM Pacific Time (= 17:00 GMT).

The title: 23andMe and 23andWe

Place: The teleport link

And few more details.

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I'd like to second (no pun intended) what Porsupah said. My organization, the American Chemical Society, has had a presence in Second Life for about 1 1/2 years now. We've had several happenings on the island - most notably in regards to this topic would be our virtual SciMix poster session (which served as a complement to our real life session at our 235th National Meeting in new Orleans).

Yeah I'd like to follow up on the ACS bit - I visited their spot in SL last week for the Amino World exhibit which was pretty darn impressive. It drew a good crowd too. In looking around the island though, I've noticed that right next to where the AW exhibit was, they're building what looks like a full-scale chemistry teaching lab. The ones building it say observers will go in and be able to run an experiment just as if they were in a real lab. How about that! But I don't know when it's going to be up and running, so keep your eyes peeled for it. It oughta be neat.

By Riley Davis (not verified) on 23 Jun 2008 #permalink