Northern California Science Writers Association

GAMING SCIENCE: Video Games and Scientific Research – Who’s in the Lead?

  • Tuesday, October 04, 2011
  • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Pyramid Ale House, Berkeley

GAMING SCIENCE: Video Games and Scientific Research – Who’s in the Lead?

Does science fiction feed on the outer edges of scientific discovery, or does it actually lead the way – pointing the direction for researchers to follow? The surprisingly rich interplay between science and culture fascinates UC Davis scholar Colin Milburn who uncovers how our culture influences the direction of scientific research, and how, in turn, science shapes the way we see the world.

Milburn has detailed the ways in which a Nobel Prize-winner drew liberally on a visionary science fiction novel in presenting his pioneering ideas for nanotechnology. Milburn currently focuses on how molecular biologists and nanotechnology researchers exploit unique properties of video games to run innovative experiments.

He also studies how video games return the favor, featuring these sciences in their plotlines. He is particularly keen on “Crysis,” in which a crack U.S. military unit lands on a South Seas island to investigate an alien artifact. The special unit wears “nanosuits” that provide superhuman powers, a design inspired directly from prototypes developed by a U.S. army-sponsored MIT project.

In his search for the roots of some leading scientific research he’s played more than 100 of the games. In his NCSWA talk, "Gaming Science," Milburn will show video clips of the crossovers between video games and modern science, some of it is so strange, he says that you have to see it to believe it.

And you will.

Details about dinner:
6:00 pm - No-host happy hour
7:00 pm - Dinner
8:00 pm - Speaker

Pyramid Ale House
901 Gilman Street
Berkeley, Calif.

Information, maps and directions:

The cost is $28/member plus one guest, $33/nonmember, and $18/students.

Dinner will be buffet style and feature honey cilantro chicken breast with salsa fresca, apricot ale-glazed salmon and tortellini pesto primavera, plus mixed-green salad, seasonal vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. As befitting a microbrewery, there are many beers to choose from at the no-host bar. Soda and coffee are free.

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