SL5B Science Panel, Today, 5PM PST

Jul 01 2008 Published by under Second Life, Second Life Events

I'm going to be one of five panelists on the "SL5B Science Panel". What is SL5B, you ask? Second Life's Fifth Birthday! It was five years ago that Second Life started it's open beta. Everybody talks about Second Life as being so "new" that it's hard to believe that it's been around that long.

Indeed, it's hard for me to believe that I've been a part of Linden Lab for approaching 20% of the time that Second Life has been live...

The panel will be at SL5B Linked (181, 190, 25).

Panelists on the SL5B panel are:

Ourania Fizgig (RL: Adrienne Gauthier) is an instructional technologist in the Astronomy Department at the University of Arizona. She brings ASTRO101 students into Second Life and is also managing the International Year of Astronomy 2009's presence in world.

Troy McLuhan produces multimedia exhibitions and events in Second Life. His background in applied math and physics, and Purdue PhD in astrodynamics serve him well in his active role in the Science Center group as well as his space related initiatives.

Pema Pera is an astrophysicist and head of the program of interdisciplinary studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, USA, and involved with MICA, The Meta Institute for Computational Astrophysics, a group of astrophysicists and others interested in astrophysics. He is also interested in building virtual communities, and in computational science as well as in broadly interdisciplinary studies. See his paper on (click on "pdf" for the full article).

Prospero Linden is Rob Knop in real life. Until year ago, he was a professional astronomer, first on the team that discovered the acceleration of the Universe's expansion, and then an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University. Last year he joined the engineering team at Linden Lab. He gives monthly astronomy outreach talks (as his alt, Prospero Frobozz) in association with MICA, the Meta-Institute of Computational Astronomy.

Bjorlyn Loon (Lynn Cullens in RL) has been writing and communicating about science and technology for 30 years. She has worked in archaeology, carnivore studies, historic preservation and the history of science, but has a real passion for biology and conservation. In Second Life, Bjorlyn has directed the Communications Team for Burning Life, founded and manages the Science Friday group and sim for Ira Flatow, was a recent award winner with The Tech in SL, and now is the full time Director of Communications for Metanomics, the popular business and policy program on virtual worlds.

7 responses so far

  • Wyald Woolley says:


    Glad to see some astronomy buffs in SL®. As I look out at the SL night sky I feel lost without a few familiar constellations where I expect them. I have decided that SL is not only a different world but located somewhere else in the cosmos so all the familiar landmarks are gone.

    So, as I log off in the evening I am comforted with new groupings, such as the current ascension of Rosedalus as it follows Watermellon Man in the southern sky.

  • sharon ariantho says:

    sad. The notice was on the login screen TODAY (that is July 2nd). And this blog says 5pm TODAY - but neglected to put a date (future reference, use a date, its only a few characters more than the word "today" and is accurate forever). As a science teacher in RL it would have been very interesting, even though the number of astronomers is a bit high ( you do realize that science is not ONLY astronomy?). I had some very interesting questions, I think. Too bad. A suggestion - if you arent going to promote on the date of the event (or a day or two before, ideally) then provide an ACTUAL DATE AND TIME OF THE EVENT. Further, if the panel is over then a link to the transcript or the words "transcript is not available" would really help. But then any kind of update AFTER the event would have helped. Maybe people get it over with and then forget it. But I would think scientists would be more detail oriented. Thanks for reading my rant.

  • The Giant says:

    The brain power in this group could light a city of 100,000 for two years!!! I'm impressed!!
    The Giant

  • ForteanLady says:

    This sounds interesting. However its been timed so that European residents couldn't attend without caffeine intake and maybe being accidentally late for work tomorrow. 5pm SLT is 1am British Summer Time and 2am CET.

    When are Second Life North Americans going to wake up to the fact that SL has residents all around the world who might want to attend events like this?

    There are plenty of Europeans out here. Remember we do exist, we make a big contribution and you might need us when trouble occurs and you're all fast asleep. 🙂

  • rknop says:


    First, re: the short notice, sorry about that. Even when my blog was more active, I was never the most timely blog in the world. I wish I could be better about that, but I'm not likely to.

    Re: the date, there is a "Posted on" in the blog title....

    Re: "too many astronomers", part of that is because the panel was put together from who knew whom. Yeah, you could argue that we should have gone and done an unbiased open survey of all scientists in Second Life and chosen from that, but that kind of thing is a lot of work for a one-time one-hour panel.... Also, astronomy does seem to be quite active in second life. To my knowledge, Pema Pera's assertion that MICA is the first and so far only group of scientific researchers trying to create a professional research institute based entirely in Second Life and not tied to a RL organization is true.

    Re: the timing of the event: be aware that there aren't just North Americans and Europeans in SL, but also people in Asia.... One of the panelists, Pema Pera, is in Japan, and the time was chosen to work for all of us including him. As we've figured out in MICA, it's pretty much impossible to choose a time that will work well for the USA, Europe, and Japan all at once. The simple fact is that the world is round... any given event is going to exclude some part of the globe. Four of the panelists were in the USA, and one was in Japan, so that's when it got scheduled.

    Re: trouble occurring and us being all asleep... in fact, Linden does employ a fair number of people in Singapore, Japan, Europe, and Australia. My group, the DNOC, has been actively hiring in other places, for the very reason that we need to have 24/7 coverage, and we don't want everybody sleeping at once. While we're still more than half USA, the group includes two in the UK, one in Bulgaria, and one in Singapore, and we hope to hire a couple more people in Singapore or Australia.

  • JS Saltwater says:

    Also bummed that I missed this, given the people on it, though I am following up separately with a couple of them. There was a note about it on the SL login page.

    But I do agree with Sharon about the labeling. It was billed as a panel about General Motors when the only people present were Chevy Cavalier drivers. 😉 (Not knocking astronomy, just the conflation.)

    That said, I'm glad the event was held!

  • ForteanLady says:

    Thank you for the reply. Thanks for clarifying things. In my time as an SL resident, since last August...I've had many US people express surprise when I say I'm from Europe. There are still a lot of residents with the mindset that
    SL is really American and that anyone from elsewhere is somehow a curiosity.

    Maybe its just my short time as a resident! I apologise for any offence caused but I'm still coming across lots of insularity in US people and it can be frustrating.

    Keep up the good work....and here's to an SL that embraces all nations and all national cultures. 🙂