# Earlier Highlights (11)

In March 2008, I gave a talk titled Life as a laboratory: contemplation in the spirit of science at the New York branch of Cafh, a path of spiritual unfolding. I was happily surprised by the great opennes of and interest displayed by the Cafh members in the audience.

Also in March, I participated in a Symposium on Neuroscience and Free Will at Columbia University, where I gave a talk on Science beyond methods and goals: how the future may surprize us.

<- Also in March, I led a discussion at the Philoctetes center, titled Real Research in Virtual Worlds, together with co-presenter Karen Sobel Lojeski. We attempted to demonstrate both Qwaq and Second Life sessions, but technical problems implied that we did not get very far. Even so, we had some very lively in-depth conversations with the audience about the use of virtual worlds and their implications for society.

In February 2008, I started a new series of interdisciplinary conversations at the Institute for Advanced Study, together with my colleague Caroline Bynum. We call it after-hour conversations, since they start at 5:30 pm with a brief presentation by one of the members, followed by a lively discussion.

<- In January 2008, I appeared in an interview on UgoTrade, a blog dedicated to the discussion of developments in Second Life and other virtual worlds. This was my first public appearance as the avatar Pema Pera in Second Life.

Also in January, I wrote a short invited note on Explanations at the web site of the World Question Center, in response to the questions What have you changed your mind about? Why?''

In December 2007, I wrote a paper on Virtual Laboratories and Virtual Worlds in which I summarize my experience using Qwaq and other virtual worlds for remote collaborations and meetings. I have mentioned there two Qwaq organizations that I founded: MICA, a Meta Institute for Computational Astrophysics, and WoK Forums.

<- Also in December, I attended the MODEST-8 workshop in Bonn, Germany, as a member of the scientific organizing committee. This meeting was the eighth in a series of yearly meetings, in the context of the MODEST initiative.

In November 2007, I organized a Roundtable discussion on The Role of the Subject in Science, in New York City at the Philoctetes Center. A group of five physicists and astrophysicists will discuss their expectations as to a possible role for first-person experience in future science.

<- Also in November, I was one of the organizers of the AstroGPU 2007 workshop on General Purpose Computation on GPUs in Astronomy and Astrophysics, at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

In October 2007, I gave a talk at the IHPST in Paris, titled `Beyond Objects: the Future of Science' (click on the second entrance of October 4 in their calendar), in which I posed the question whether the empirical methods of science can be enlarged to include not only objects but also subjects and subject-object interaction.

<- In September 2007, I attended the IAU Symposium 246 on Dynamical Evolution of Dense Stellar Systems in Capri, Italy, as a member of the scientific organizing committee. The symposium was held in honor of the 60th birthday of my long-time collaborator Douglas Heggie.