This week's Science News discusses several real scientific research projects inside Second Life. For example, Drexel University neurobiologist Corey Hart (no, not that Corey Hart) is building a virtual frog to study the neural pathways involved in hopping. Meanwhile, Robert Amme, a physicist at the University of Denver, is modeling a nuclear reactor as a training tool. Indeed, many research institutions are leveraging the simple sim tools of SL to create immersive science learning experiences.
If we inhabit a simulation, might scientific research be a suitable justification for our existence? If so, what kind? And what happens after the experiments have run their course?