Halo Science 101

By Kevin R. Grazier, Ph.D.

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from Halo Effect

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About the Book

This is one essay from the anthology Halo Effect

You’re the lone survivor of a genetically engineered race of super-soldiers, trying to save humanity from the vicious Covenant. You’ve got a voice in your helmet, a potentially genocidal robot on your ship and enemies on your tail. But then you put down the controller. You haven’t been at war, you’ve simply been consumed by Halo, the first-person shooter that transformed the landscape of gaming. Halo and Halo 2 shattered sales records and swept gamers deep into a fictional galaxy full of danger and deceit. Millions of players stepped up to the controls to become the Master Chief, captivated by the graphics, storyline and innovative gameplay. Now, in Halo Effect, science fiction authors, gaming journalists, scientists, critics and even fellow gamers explore Halo’s hold on players and its influence on the world of gaming: How do the armed forces use video games to train our troops? How would Halos actually exist in space? Do you ever really have to grow up and set gaming aside? How is Halo a prime example of how science is more closely tied to religion than we thought? What’s behind the helmet of the superhuman Master Chief is a mystery. What’s behind Halo is the story of the most popular video game of all time.

About the Author

Glenn Yeffeth is the editor of several anthologies in the Smart Pop series, including The Anthology at the End of the Universe, Farscape Forever!, Five Seasons of Angel, Navigating the Golden Compass, Seven Seasons of Buffy, Taking the Red Pill and What Would Sipowitz Do? He lives in Dallas.

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About the Author

Kevin R. Grazier, Ph.D.

Kevin R. Grazier, Ph.D., is a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., where he holds the dual titles of Investigation Scientist and Science Planning Engineer for the Cassini/Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan. There he has won numerous JPL- and NASA-wide awards for technical accomplishment. Dr. Grazier holds undergraduate degrees in computer science and geology from Purdue University, and another in physics from Oakland University. He holds an M.S. degree in physics from, again, Purdue, and he did his doctoral work at UCLA. His Ph.D. research involved long-term, large-scale computer simulations of Solar System evolution, dynamics and chaos—research which he continues to this day. Kevin is also currently the science adviser for the PBS animated series “The Zula Patrol” and for the Sci-Fi Channel series “Eureka,” as well as the Peabody AwardÐwinning “Battlestar Galactica.” Commited to astronomical education, Dr. Grazier teaches classes in stellar astronomy, planetary science, cosmology and the search for extraterrestrial life at UCLA, Cal State LA and Santa Monica College. He has served on several NASA educational product review panels, and is also a planetarium lecturer at LA’s landmark Griffith Observatory. He lives in Sylmar, Calif.—and occasionally Mesa, Az.—with a flock of cockatiels and a precocious parrot.

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