Schome Park Physics

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Part of the Schome E-learning awards entry ELearning Awards intro --- Welcome



Physics [1] is one of the three main strands within the schome-NAGTY Teen Second Life Pilot. The Convenors for this group are Dave Taylor, Alex Sofras and Amanda Law at the National Physical Laboratory [2] (Avatar names to follow).


We will host discussions and activities about different aspects of Physics, depending on the interests of members of the group.

There are several exhibits on show in the Physics area, borrowed from a parallel SL Universe (sometimes referred to as the main grid). These include:

1. The Euro-Mars Habitat built by Camden Mitchell. Here Camden describes the project and how our request for a copy in our Universe spurred her on. [3]

2. Troy McLuhan has built simulations of an Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and a SIMS device (Secondary Ion Emission Mass Spectrometry). These will be demonstrated to show how scientists at the National Physical Laboratory and elsewhere analyse surfaces at the molecular level.

3. There is a model of NPL's TRUTHS satellite project, that will lead to a better understanding of the climate model by higher accuracy measurements of the solar radiation arriving at the Earth, and being reflected or re-emitted back out into space. TRUTHS will also calibrate all the older technology Earth Observation satellite so their data can be compared over long periods of time to improve our understanding of global climate change. A scientist will give a presentation on this subject at Schome Park and attempt to answer your questions about global warming and Earth Observation satellites. [4]

Here are some possibilities

Please enter any comments you may have on these suggestions, or make up some more projects on the discussion page (click the discussion tab on the top of this wiki page)

The Physics of Second Life: Second Life has its own Laws of Physics. Luckily for us these rules are not all written down or explained anywhere. If we want to discover them we will have to do so by experimentation. And just think how great it would be, if the Physics Group figured out all the Physical Laws of SL, and published it in this wiki! We would be the first.

Imagine that you are an avatar version of Sir Isaac Newton, sitting underneath an apple tree [5] in Second Life. How would you discover the laws that determine how an apple falls - does it depend on the material of the apple, or its size?


Here's an experiment to try: Make 2 large rings. Interconnect them so that each is threaded through the other. A strange force stops them from touching. Is this force universal or does it only apply to interconnected rings? Now make a chain: [6]. Can you figure out how to make the chain hang in mid air? Push one of the rings - how do they all move? Does it make a difference if you add a large mass (such as an avatar) to the bottom ring? Make a large lever with a heavy weight poised above it: [7]. Can you use it to shoot an avatar across the island? These were the devices in the Real World that inspired people to discover the fundamental laws of physics. Lets have fun figuring them out in our new world. Use your Bliki HUDs in Second Life to make your labnotes on the blog. Then write your theories and evidence up in the SL Physics Laws wiki page.

Gravity Well: The San Francisco Exploratorium has loaned us a Gravity Well [8]. See if you can use it to learn anything about SL gravity and how it might differ from the real world.


There's a big difference between SL and RL of course. SL is running on a server somewhere and as far as we know there is no equivalent server for RL. If you spend much time in SL you'll find there are days when the laws of physics seem to change or misbehave.

Space Exploration: We have lots of 3D content "borrowed" from the International Spaceflight Museum [9] and some of their partners

Nanotechnology: NPL is building Nanotechnology Island [10] in Second Life, and we are able to discuss most aspects of this technology that will help shape our future lives!

Water Rockets: We haven't tried this yet in SL, but NPL runs a water rockets competition every year for schools and colleges [11]. How might we run a competition for Virtual Water Rockets this year? For those of you interested in the physics of water rockets here is a booklet to study: [12]

Bouncing Bombs: The famous Dam Busters bomb was developed at NPL during World War II. One of our scientists has recreated the conclusive experiment in his garden [13]. However the Physics Engine in SL does not yet obey all the rules of physics, so what can we do about that?

Quantum Mechanics and Black Holes: If you're interested in these way out topics, come and talk to us about them. What are their applications to our real world and how might we build something in SL to demonstrate how they work?

Protons for Breakfast: One of NPL's scientists runs this series of lectures twice a year, aimed at familiies who live near to our laboratory, and can visit in person to attend. We would love to bring this highly interactive course into Second Life, but have a feeling that its going to be a lot of work. But, hey, we all have plenty of time in Second Life now, so why don't we make a start?

NEW: Group Project announcement for SParkers: A group project for SParkers has been announced on the forum. Please check here [14]. There is at present a pendulum set up at 100,42,120 which has a script in place to run the experiment. I must apologise for the script-it is somewhat inaccurate and you must follow the instructions above the pendulum to get the proper values. However, the script is available to look at here. Please feel free to make adjustments on the wiki, please mention them on the forum so I can update everything.


We have had some key discoveries on the basic laws of physics that govern Schome Park. Click here to see all the discoveries made so far.

Sign up for Physics sessions

Induction sessions

Date Time
13th March 07 12:00 to 13:00 SNP Physics induction session 3
13th March 07 13:00 to 14:00 SNP Physics induction session 2
15th March 07 16:30 to 17:30 SNP Physics induction session 4
16th March 07 18:00 to 19:00 SNP Physics induction session 1

Group sessions

Date Time
22nd March 07 1200 to 1400 (provisional) SNP Physics group session 2
27th March 07 TBD SNP Physics group session 3
29th March 07 7pm - 8pm SNP Physics group session 4
30th March 07 7pm - 8pm SNP Physics group session 5
3rd April 07 TBD SNP Physics group session 6
5th April 07 TBD SNP Physics group session 7
10th April 07 7 - 8 pm SNP Physics group session 8
12th April 07 7 - 8 pm SNP Physics group session 9
21st April 07, 7 - 8 pm Lecture and Discussion on Climate Research Satellites
4 May 07 4 - 6pm Future projects discussion
27 March 08 8pm to whenever Discussion (Optics)
10th Aprial 08 8pm to whenever Discussion (Optics) :fingers crossed: