Almost like being there

Tomorrow is the deadline for a preliminary proposal we are submitting to the National Science Foundation. Eight of us faculty members, at three collaborating Universities, are asking for $15M over seven years to develop ways to make it easier for people to collaborate over long distances.

Sadly, this is the best time to ask for support for such a proposal. It is all too clear that Zoom and its equivalents are poor substitutes for physical presence.

We are under no illusion that anything we do will replace being there in person. But that’s ok.

After all, nobody thinks of the telephone as a replacement for being there in person. But it’s still nice that some really smart people invented the telephone.

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