Turkey Week marked an important time for me in my academic career - the end of my month-long comprehensive exams - I passed! So one thing that was different about my 4th exam, my orals, was my use of VR visual aids. The idea was to give my audience an embodied experience while I read from my white paper. Follow this Link to see how I did it. I built a web interface that gives the user a different experience for laptops and mobile phones. To guide the audience, I built sound cues into my powerpoint to alert the user as to which visual aid they should be watching. I overdid things...per usual - but I was so excited to do something new and different in terms of multimodality and embodiment. I guess I'm really excited to see where this technology goes. It's not going to be long before VR glasses will be a requirement at your next conference.
It was nice having some time on Thanksgiving to relax a little bit and hang out with all of the people I have been avoiding for the last two and a half years while I have been working on my doctorate - what am I thankful for? I'm thankful they're still talking to me. As I was driving home from the mother-in-law's place, I had the opportunity to hear one of my favorite podcasts, Science Friday. This week's episode featured a recording of the 27th Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremonies at Harvard University hosted by the science comedy magazine the Annals Of Improbable Research. What was SO COOL about this show was how the writers of the Ig Nobel's communicated science with wit and humor.
For example, after the Ig Nobel honorees received their awards, they were given a moment to further explain their research or to acknowledge contributors. When the awardees spoke a little too long, rather than steadily raising the volume of the awards music theme, a young child would commence whining over the p.a. This year’s PHYSICS PRIZE went to Marc-Antoine Fardin in fluid dynamics who wondered “Can a Cat Be Both a Solid and a Liquid?" which he pursued in his open-access publication "On the Rheology of Cats," Marc-Antoine Fardin, Rheology Bulletin, vol. 83, 2, July 2014, pp. 16-17 and 30.
Ok, so not the most reputable research, but we need all kinds in science. By this I mean that we also need a little humor if we are going to pique our audience's attention an get them interested in science. We have to make this thing called science fun.
My favorite bit, and one that relates to what we are trying to do with our Stem Pop-ups, was the 24/7 competition, in which scientists had to first communicate their research in 24 seconds, and then in only 7 words.
I'll try using my own research for the uber-condensed version: VR distracts otherwise hostile audience. I passed!
On to the diss.
Stephen Quigley is a PhD student in Clemson