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Naked Scientists?

March 1, 2008

The sim north of Nanotechnology sim (named ‘SciLands’) has some new residents…

BBC Radio has a popular weekly science show called The Naked Scientists. They cover some recent science news, people can call in with science questions, there’s a fun “kitchen science” segment, they interview special guests… it’s quite entertaining. Starting this Sunday (2 March), The Naked Scientists will broadcast live into Second Life! You can listen to and discuss the show with fellow science enthusiasts at the Naked Scientists mansion.

When: Sundays at 1800 UK Time, which is usually 10:00 AM Pacific Time (SL time)

Where: The Naked Scientists Mansion, in the middle of the sim named ‘SciLands’

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/SciLands/102/129/26

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Music Video about Nanoisland

February 28, 2008

I just finished a funky music video showing the highlights of Nanotechnology Island. I’d embed it here, but WordPress.com is ultra-careful about security so they don’t support embedded Animoto videos yet. To see the video, click here.

UPDATE:  Based on some feedback, I made a second video, which you can see if you click here.

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The Giants of Nanotechnology Island

February 23, 2008

You may have noticed that many of the exhibits on Nanotechnology Island aren’t life size – they’re much larger than life, so you can see them easily.  It seems that when those exhibits were being enlarged, some poor creatures strayed too close to the enlarging machine…

For example, there’s a giant bacterium with a flagellum (the tail-like thing) that’s currently climbing the outside wall of the main building.  It looks like it got sliced open, so you can see inside – there’s no nucleus!  The DNA just floats around inside the cell.

If you’re brave, there’s also a secret cave under the Tower of Ten…

I should really be more careful around giant hungry ants!

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Nanotechnology Event on Monday, 25 February

February 22, 2008

Nature Publishing Group has hosted a number of talks in Second Life.  This coming Monday they’ve got a nanotechnology-related talk that might interest you.  Full details are available on their website (click the link).

Note: Like The NanoShow, the Nature speakers use Voice Chat in Second Life, so be sure to have that enabled.

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This is Top Level Stuff

February 22, 2008

When you first arrive at the top level of the Tower of Ten, you see a cute blue car.

If you look closely, you’ll see that the driver-side airbag is deployed (on the right side because it’s a British car).  Have you ever wondered what triggers an airbag?  How does the car know when it’s probably in an accident?

The answer is that the car has an accelerometer – a device which senses changes in the car’s speed.  If the speed changes too fast – wooompf!  The airbag deploys.  The accelerometer is typically on a chip that’s about 1 centimetre (10 mm) across.  There’s a model of an accelerometer module near the car model (pictured above).

Modern accelerometers often use tiny “Microelectromechanical Systems” (MEMS) like the one pictured above, which is about 0.1 millimetres across.  A full explanation of how it works is given on the sign beside the exhibit in the Tower of Ten.  (Surely you didn’t think I was just going to reveal everything here!)

The final exhibit is a model of the silicon unit cell.  This pattern of silicon atoms is repeated throughout pure crystals of silicon, which are used in making everything from transistors to solar cells to MEMS.  This concludes my four-part tour of the Tower of Ten.  Click Here to visit the Nanotechnology sim now.