News Picks : Changing Second Life’s laws of physics to teach classical mechanics
06 June 2014
MIT Technology Review: The online world of Second Life allows users to customize the world around them, including the laws of physics, which can be modified using an internal scripting language. The world's basic physics aren't exact duplicates of the real world either: The sun rises every four hours in direct opposition to a full moon, and water and air don't resist an object's movement. The scripting language allows for creating locations in which the laws of motion can be significantly different from Newton's laws. In a recently posted study, Renato dos Santos at the Lutheran University of Brazil in Canoas uses that ability to demonstrate to students how projectiles would behave under those different conditions. Further changes to the laws of physics might allow for experiments on phenomena such as simultaneity or the behavior of light.