When I met Dr. JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, Thomas Dolby’s song “She Blinded Me with Science” came immediately into mind. Because that’s exactly what JoAnn does, excitedly spewing scientific terms at you, her arms swinging expressively.
She’s the director of UCSB’s AlloSphere, an immersive research facility that sprays 3-D, 360-degree projections of visual and aural data into a 30-foot diameter sphere that sits inside a three-story, echo-free cube. A composer as well as a digital media pioneer, Dr. Kuchera-Morin invented the AlloSphere to facilitate research collaborations in an environment that can simulate reality.
When I visited recently, the experience blew me away — never before have I seen of felt anything like it. And I’ve never met anyone like JoAnn. She is a blast, both erudite and passionate.
This scientific pioneer answers the Proust Questionnaire.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Multimodal, multimedia, multisensory — multi, multi, multi!
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Joan of Arc or the Statue of Liberty. I am either burned at the stake or “give me your poor, tired, and hungry” and I will educate them!
What is your greatest fear?
What is your current state of mind?
Happy and in chaos!
What do you like most about your job?
Discovery and the search for truth.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Love and compassion and enjoying each others company!
Who do you most admire?
My Aunt Josephine and my mom as they were kind, loving Italian women. My Aunt Josephine’s raviolis would make anyone happy!
What is your greatest extravagance?
Red Velvet Cake and vanilla ice cream!
What is the quality you most like in people?
Honesty, compassion, and wisdom.
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
Deception and cruelty.
What do you most value in friends?
Loyalty, kindness, and caring.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Which talent would you most like to have?
Patience (which is a virtue!)
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To learn to listen, slow down, and appreciate the moment.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Where would you most like to live?
I am here in paradise!
What is your most treasured possession?
My doggy Dora!!
Who makes you laugh the most?
What is your motto?
Never say that you can’t do something.
On what occasion do you lie?
Only when I am too tired to tell the truth!