Episode

Aussie scientists use Minecraft to build a replica gravitational wave observatory for National Science Week

And you can visit LIGO in Minecraft yourself to learn about the physics of gravitational waves.

August 21, 2020 5:00 PM

Dr Daniel Brown and his colleagues at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery in Adelaide have rebuilt one of the key observatories they use to detect gravitational waves inside the game of Minecraft.

It's part of the Australian National Science Week, and Dr Brown says it's a fun way for people of all ages to get an appreciation of the science in a tangible way.

"Our event is a virtual tour of a gravitational wave observatory, these are large scale physics experiments being conducted over in the US and so we wanted to make a an event where we could show this off and give a tour of it, so that people can get an experience of just like how big these things are and get like a sense of scale and so we made all this in Minecraft."

"We tried to make it to scale, but there's some creative licensing involved, we tried to scale it so from the players perspective it kind of feels like, it feels as big as if you were there in person."

Listen to our feature interview below, or on your podcast player Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

The project took several weeks to be complete with post doctoral researchers, masters students and undergraduates at the University of Adelaide all chipping in to help give context to these complex scientific experienments.

"I hope it puts into perspective when people hear about the things we work on, that it gives them the sort of visual cue of what it is we're actually talking about."

"So a lot of times in science, and especially sort of fundamental physics research, you hear things and this all seems very abstract and it's hard to picture these things and kind of get involved and so I'm kind of hoping that having Minecraft replica, which is more than grounded so people get an appreciation of the size of these things."

The next tour is open on Saturday 22nd of August, at 2:00pm local Adelaide time, which is 12:30PM in Western Australia, and 2:30PM Australian Eastern Standard time and you can RSVP on Eventbrite here: Exploring Gravitational Wave Observatories in Minecraft

You can join the server directly in Minecraft Java Edition by opening the following server address: minecraft.ozgrav.org:25593

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