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PBS 'NOVA' highlights avatars, eternal life

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Jason Leigh

Computer science professor Jason Leigh and the avatar he created of himself will be featured tonight on PBS “NOVA.”

Photo: Laura Willcox

“Can we live forever?”

That’s the subject of tonight’s “NOVA scienceNow” show on PBS that features Jason Leigh, professor of computer science and director of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory.

The program airs at 9 p.m. on WTTW Channel 11 and WTTW HD Channel 11.1. It will be rebroadcast Thursday at 3 p.m. on WTTW Prime 11.2. It may also be available later “online.

It highlights “Project Lifelike,” a National Science Foundation-funded investigation of avatar technology that, while not promising eternal physical life, captures many essential characteristics of living humans that can be preserved electronically and indefinitely.

A 10-minute program segment will focus on Leigh, his work, and the potential of the technology being tested to develop more life-like, intelligent avatars.

NOVA spent several days with Leigh in December 2009 and January 2010 on campus and off, filming him at work and at leisure.

The program’s “scienceNow” series focuses on ground-breaking work by young researchers, hoping to inspire younger viewers to seek careers in science and engineering.


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