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Saturday, September 08, 2007

ChemBioFoo Area First Poster

Ding dong - one of my bells emailed me today.

Someone was at the gate of the BioChemFoo area on Nature Island in Second Life and wanted assistance with setting up a poster.

When I logged on I found Lali Ewry (a researcher) and Bronwen Pizzicato (from Nature Precedings) still waiting there. Since there were no posters yet in the ChemBioFoo area I took them over to the adjacent SciFoo Lives On section to show them examples of what posters can look like in Second Life.

Lali had some slides available so I gave her one of Hiro's boards and showed her how to upload, re-size and move the poster. (By the way Hiro's boards have the nice feature that, as a presenter, you can go backwards in your presentation and the boards reset to the starting slides after a few minutes of inactivity)

We took her board to the ChemBioFoo area and Lali positioned it at poster #1. She also put a bell so others could summon her to discuss her work on "Transcription of Inflammatory Genes in Crohn's Disease". There are wonderful images in that presentation about the mechanics of the disease and Lali is still adding more. She had some animations that have to be converted to still images before posting.

Lali's real name is Laura Ferrero-Miliani and she is at Herlev Hospital, Medical-Gastroenterology Lab 54O3 in Denmark.

This is a perfect example of what I had in mind for ChemBioFoo. In keeping with the SciFoo un-conference, the SciFoo Lives On area has some great posters to promote and discuss Open Science and new Science Communication Technologies. However, I think there needs to be a place to host domain-specific scientific discussion as perpetual poster sessions in Second Life.

This is actually very much in keeping with the format of the Nature journal itself. The articles are typically high level and are collected from various scientific fields. I am starting with Chemistry and Biology because I feel that these areas have a strong potential for improving human lives directly (in terms of affecting disease processes for example). Also these areas are most closely related to my domain specific research of organic synthesis and drug design. (And we only have 36 booths in this area for now). Of course I would be happy to assist anyone in creating a poster area with another scientific focus.

I often tell people that they should only enter Second Life if they have a good reason for doing so. By putting posters that are similar in format and content to those that the typical researcher is likely to find at the physical conferences that they attend is probably a pretty good way to attract traditional scientists to media platforms like Second Life. If they see a poster that is interesting they can ring the bell, talk with the presenter then decide how that experience compares with a physical meeting.

So I am asking for anyone interested in contributing to let me know (or Lali - she is trained now to help the next presenters after all).

My presentation is coming up - I have a few more slides to put together. Tony Williams from ChemSpider also sent me a presentation that I'll put up shortly.


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