www.whyville.net Jul 22, 1999 Weekly Issue

Special Focus: Who is Dr. Leila? Part 1

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Dr. Leila Gonzalez
Whyville's resident thinker and wandering wonderer

Special Focus: "Who is Dr. Leila?"

Many people have asked, just who is this Dr. Leila person? Everyone is wondering all sorts of things about her, including "Is she real?", "Is she actually a doctor?", and "What's her favorite animal?"

by cyranojoe
Times Staff

Well, "Who is Dr. Leila?" is the first in a series of special reports about the tie-dye wearing scientist. Week by week, I hope to answer some of the most commonly asked questions. For this week, I'll be introducing you to Leila and what she has contributed to the Whyville community.

First of all, yes, Dr. Leila is a real person. And, yes, she's a real scientist, with a Ph.D. from Harvard and lava lamps in her living room!

Since Whyville is a place where people get together to hang out and talk about funky stuff like spinning ice skaters and the best way to pick your nose, Dr. Leila makes the perfect resident scientist. She's just that sort of person.

"I love sharing the experience of learning with other people," she said in an interview with this reporter. With a big grin she added, "It's cool."

This past spring, Dr. Leila wrote a couple of articles that explored spinning, optical illusions, and how your location on the Earth affects the position of the sun in the sky. The Spin Lab, the House of Illusions, and the Sun Spot are closely related to everything in these articles, so it's a good idea to check them out both before and after you look through the experiments in those labs.

Originally published in the L.A. Times, Dr. Leila's articles are now being reprinted in the Whyville Times, starting with this week's edition. If you missed them back in the spring, catch them now!

Aside from writing, doing research in biology, and trying out yoga and dance in her spare time, Dr. Leila also maintains her home in Whyville as a place for everyone to come and talk about everything. You can come to ruminate on science or lava lamps or yoga or anything else you'd like.

Inside her house is a bunch of bulletin boards where you can suggest answers, ask questions, or just ponder the meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Each animated object (moving giraffe, orbiting atoms, stormy sky, etc) links to a different BBS somehow related to that object. For example, the bubble-blowing boy's head up on the wall connects to a BBS about the human body; the spinning globe in the middle of the room goes to one about the Earth, wind, and volcanoes, etc.

If you have a question that doesn't fit any of the current topics, you can send it to Dr. Leila via Rodney the Rat, outside her door. If enough people are interested in a particular topic, she and her staff will add a new BBS for it. Right now, Dr. Leila is setting up a space-related BBS that delves into comets, planetary exploration, and the beginning of the universe.

In addition to all the BBS stuff, Dr. Leila also holds two pool parties on her patio every week, one on Thursday and one on Friday. Both go fr 3 to 5pm, Pacific Standard Time. You can get to her patio from inside her house.

"It's fun to use Whyville's chat rooms to interact with people from all across the world," she says. "I really like visiting different places on Earth and finding out what it's like there."

Come to the pool parties this week and have a chat with Dr. Leila. See if you can get her to give you a clue about when her birthday is, and where she was born! And talk to her about dolphins, her favorite animals. Someday she hopes to swim with one. Have you ever been swimming with dolphins? Tell her about it -- she'll be jealous. :-)

In the second part of our series, "Who is Dr. Leila?", we will be asking Dr. Leila the things you most want to know. Email us with your questions! (What's your favorite Whyville question? What's your favorite scientist in history? Why is Aunt Tilty so crazy?!?)


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