Ever wonder what it would look like to travel at the speed of light? The folks at MIT’s education games lab have created a simple 3D simulator to teach the masses about the counterintuitive principles of one of physics’ most important concepts: special relativity. The professionally-designed, yet simple first-person game places users in a Lord of the Rings-looking town and slows down the speed of light as scattered light “orbs” are collected throughout the level video below. The goal of the project was to make something familiar that was very unfamiliar: the laws of special relativity. What would they look like in a familiar setting?,” says Sonny Sidhu, A Slower Speed of Light’s Game Producer.
The inaugural Lure of the Labyrinth tournament, designed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, challenges kids to navigate an online monster lair by solving math and logic puzzles. Top scorers in the competition, which kicked off this month, can win tablet computers.
DimensionU, an online game company, this week launched another national tournament, DU the Math, to encourage kids to play its free math games. Top players can win a personal music lesson from teen pop star Greyson Chance, a day with the hit band Mindless Behavior or a star-studded rock concert in their hometown — all prizes deliberately chosen, company spokesman Tom Schuyler said, “to make math cool.”
Perhaps the most ambitious effort to give math some sparkle comes from Whitney, the hedge-fund mathematician. He has raised $22 million to build a Museum of Mathematics, due to open this fall in New York City.
MIT wants to task thousands of people with analyzing a 0.3-millimeter slice of mouse retinal tissue. Using a new site called Eyewire, MIT will ask users to track a neuron’s path by coloring in each axon (tendril). In the future, MIT will roll out another “game” which challenges users to find the synapses. The end result will be the connectome (a tome of connections) of the mouse’s retina…