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Can iMechanica replace mechanical seminars in the future?

Henry Tan's picture

Reading the article, future role of iMechanica (node/908) posted by Teng (user/10), I am thinking that iMechanica may replace mechanical seminars, lectures conducted by invited mechanicians, in the future.

Academic seminars have several functions: first, to exchange information; second, to build up connections.

Concerning the first function, exchange information, iMechanica is better than mechanical seminars in many aspects.

  • For a seminar the presentation time is short, and the exchanged information is very limited. During the seminar audiences cannot go into details for the interested part, as a result only shallow questions are asked in the end. In iMechanica, one can always read and think carefully before commenting.
  • If a good question is asked, usually the speaker does not have enough time to think. The presentation is more like a performance. In iMechanica, this performance part is removed; only real technical discussions are left.
  • It happens often that the audiences fell asleep in a seminar. This will not happen in iMechanica, I guess. Time is saved; people can always go back to the conversation when awaken.

Concerning the second function, the connection established through typing maybe not that straightforward, but it is easy and equally real. Especially you can talk to anyone without afraid of anything. Without direct facing actually encourages those who are shy in academic conversations.

iMechanica builds a web for mechanicians; connections through a web can be more effective than through seminar series, which is costly both in time and money.

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