Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society of London and editor of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, worked most of his adult life to open communication between STEM researchers and create a space for these researchers to share, argue over, and reach consensus on issues impacting the larger society. Before the 17th century, many STEM researchers likely used codes and symbols within notebooks and research notes to conceal knowledge from potential rivals - a possibility lost on many lovers of Dan Brown's books. As a result of Henry Oldenburg's work, many researchers studying the development of STEM research hold that the first example of peer review occurred in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Articles in the first issue of Philosophical Transactions (http://rstl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/1/1.toc), published May 30, 1665, covered a range of topics, including: Astrology, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, and Mathematics. For example, this issue presented one of the first discussions on Jupiter's Great Red Spot and a brief eulogy of Pierre de Fermat. Whatever anyone may think of Oldenburg, his work likely changed the world. But, what if he chose to stay home? What if he recused himself from society and kept all his knowledge to himself? What if he attempted to remove the potential of criticism from his life? Would our world still resemble the late middle ages? Likely not, but would our world look the same as we see it today?
On April 6, 2018, STEM-VRSE presented itself to the public for review. At First Friday in downtown Bryan, TX we shared our recent work in New Zealand with the citizens of the Brazos Valley. In doing so, we made valuable connections with local researchers and educators. We recognize the importance of this step and the potential development and criticism to which we open ourselves. But what would our world look like if we stayed home on Friday? How do we develop if we did not open ourselves to criticism? Will STEM-VRSE change the world? Who knows, but we no longer stay home. Welcome to STEM-VRSE. A space using 360° and virtual reality technologies for supporting STEM research and promoting education.