The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology -- Volume 3, Number 10

May 7, 2004

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison




Topic In Depth


Michigan State University: The Rare Isotope Accelerator

Placing third on the Department of Energy's 28 projects considered necessary to keep the U.S. on the forefront of scientific research, the Rare Isotope Accelerator (RIA) lets scientists observe small, short-lived nuclei (rare isotopes). The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at Michigan State University use the RIA to conduct advanced research in fundamental nuclear science, nuclear astrophysics, and accelerator physics. Their website provides an overview of the science of rare isotopes, as well as short articles on: the Origin of the elements and nature of stellar objects, Limits of nuclear stability, Properties of exotic nuclei, Equation of state of neutron-rich matter, and Testing the standard model. NSCL offers free educational tours of their laboratory and talks and demonstrations by NSCL professionals upon request. [VF]

University of Minnesota: The Geometry Center [Java, Real Audio, LaTex, pdf]

The University of Minnesota Geometry Center is a mathematics research and education center that supports math and computer science research, mathematical visualization, software development, application development, video animation production, and K-16 math education. The website describes some of their projects that use technology to visualize and communicate mathematics and related sciences. Their software is available for free downloading, along with related documents, research articles, reports, videos of mathematical computer animation, basic facts, and course materials. The Gallery of Interactive Geometry lets visitors compute implicitly defined curves in the plane, explore how rainbows are formed, interact with tilings, and much more. [VF]

Penn State: Consortium for Education in Many-Body Applications [PowerPoint, pdf]

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Consortium for Education in Many-Body Applications at Penn State University brings together scientists from a range of scientific and engineering disciplines to address "many-body" problems. These problems refer to "the complexities that arise when more than a few electrons or atoms or particles are involved." The solutions involve "the use of high performance and massively parallel computers coupled with improved algorithms." Drawing from seven academic departments (Aerospace Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics) they offer courses, summer internships, seminars and tutorials, and conduct research projects. The Research section of the website provides summary articles on a variety of topics, including High-Performance and Parallel Computing; Advanced Visualization; and Quantum mechanics of many-body systems. Descriptions of courses and seminars as well as some of the PowerPoint presentations are also available online. [VF]

Heat Transfer Textbook [pdf]

This introductory engineering textbook on heat and mass transfer, written by John H. Lienhard IV, Professor at University of Houston and John H. Lienhard IV, Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology is now available online without charge. One aim of this project is to "explore the possibilities of placing textbooks online." The idea is that the online format holds two key benefits -- ease of continuous updates or corrections, and the "potential for fundamentally altering the economics of higher education, particularly those in environments where money is scarce." To these ends, the website also posts a history of the various versions and statistics on downloads of the book worldwide. [VF]

The National Academies: Electronic Publishing Project

This website describes the Electronic Publishing Project of The National Academies, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. The purpose is to study "the factors involved in the changing mechanisms for access to STM [scientific, technical, and medical] information in the scholarly publications and the various technical, legal, policy, and economic issues that they raise." Their symposium sought to provide a better understanding of the implications of electronic publishing of STM journals. A webcast of the symposium is online, as well as information on the project's history and how to order the final report. [VF]

MIT World [RealOne Player]

MIT World is hosted by the MIT School of Engineering Professional Education Program and provides "on-demand video of significant public events at MIT." The January, 2004 posting is on Innovation at the Interface: Technological Fusion at MIT. A short summary about the lecture and biographies of the speakers are available along with the video webcast. Other lectures of note include, The Electron and the Bit: 100 Years of EECS at MIT, and, Engineering Human-Machine Relationships. A search function allows visitors to search for specific topics or speakers. [VF]

Carnegie Mellon University: Introduction to Mechanisms

Professors at Carnegie Mellon University have posted this Introduction to Mechanisms in HTML format. Easy to follow, this website provides a great overview of Physical Principles, Mechanisms, Machines, Basic Kinematics of Constrained Rigid Bodies, Planar Linkages, Cams, and Gears, among others mechanisms. Also provided are separate links to each of the figures within the text. [VF]

National Center for Electron Microscopy [pdf, FrameMaker 4.0]

The National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, supports research carried out by visiting national and international scientists. As part of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley, California, they provide access to several of the world's most advanced microscopes and tools for microcharacterization of materials. Photos and descriptions of their tools and resources are posted on this website. Special software developed at the NCEM for distribution to the microscopy community can be downloaded to your local computer free of charge (along with manuals). Visitors can also learn about the online Remote-control microscopy project, browse publications or find out about how to apply to conduct research at the facility. [VF]


North Central Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Consortium

The North Central Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Consortium (NCEMSC) "provides direct technical assistance to state education agencies, intermediate educational units, school districts, and buildings...NCEMSC's efforts are focused on providing meaningful, purposeful, and engaging learning experiences in mathematics and science for all students." At the NCEMSC site, visitors will find helpful materials such as the new report titled, Powerful Practices in Mathematics and Science: Research-Based Practices for Teaching and Learning. Also available are several teaching toolkits and resource guides in addition to a link to Exemplary Lessons for the elementary, middle, and secondary grades. [JPM]

The Institute for the Advancement of Emerging Technologies in Education at AEL

The Institute for the Advancement of Emerging Technologies in Education (IAETE) "supports the purposeful use of these technologies to improve teaching, learning, and school management." Through research and other initiatives, IAETE has "partnered with university education and technology departments, and helped with educational technology planning at the district and state levels." This site offers links to many of the web-based tools that the institute has developed for policymakers and administrators as well as several development tools for teachers to use in order to broaden their knowledge of use of technology in teaching. [JPM]

The K-12 Mathematics Curriculum Center

Over the last decade standards-based teaching has become the single greatest push in education. The question for teachers often lies with wondering how and where to find resources that match the standards. The K-12 Mathematics Curriculum Center, funded by the National Science Foundation, seeks to do just that by offering to "inform and assist schools and districts as they select and implement standards-based mathematics curricula." The Spotlight link on the site offers news about all sorts of information related to mathematics education including events and current issues. The true gem of the site are the downloadable curricula for elementary, middle, and secondary grades. Each one comes complete with teacher and student materials. [JPM]

National Center for Education Statistics: Create a Graph

As the site's title implies, this site is simply about making graphs. It introduces students to four main types of graphs -- bar, line, pie, and area -- and allows visitors to construct their own. By selecting a line graph, for example, visitors are asked to provide the title of the graph, the titles of the X and Y axes, and then to list the coordinates for all of the points on either axis. With a click of a button, a printable graph is generated. This is definitely an easy-to-use graphing program for those students just starting out with the sometimes complicated subject. [JPM]

Alternatives for Rebuilding Curricula (ARC)

Alternatives for Rebuilding Curricula (ARC) is a collaboration of the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP) and the three elementary mathematics curriculum projects (Investigations in Number, Data, and Space; Everyday Mathematics; and Math Trailblazers). The curriculum projects are funded by the National Science Foundation and reflective of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards. The website includes curriculum summaries and descriptions of sample activities. Also posted are at least three "implementation stories from the field" for each curricula. Information on ARC's consultation and professional development services is also provided. [VF]

North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium

The North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium (NCRTEC) is part of the Regional Technology in Education Consortia funded by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education. The consortium's purpose is "to help schools and adult literacy programs to develop technology-embedded practices that lead to improved and engaged learning for students." They provide professional development opportunities, technology planning and evaluation, and other products and services to the schools in their region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and have developed multiple assessment and evaluation tools, including one designed to help districts and schools plan and evaluate the systemwide use of educational technology. Another tool, available free online, is designed to help teachers and technology planning teams consider how they use technology in teaching and to identify strengths and weaknesses in current technology uses. A sample of the scoring guide for student products they developed is also available online. Their QuickLinks will bring you to other section of NCREL's website, where visitors can read featured articles on technology and computers (DigiKnow) or browse through lesson ideas. [VF]

Stanford: The Bridge Project [pdf]

Stanford University's Bridge Project: Strengthening K-16 Transition Policies emphasizes that "reforms affecting K-12 and higher education must occur across systems in order to achieve the desired outcomes." Their approach is to improve opportunities for all students to enter and succeed in higher education by strengthening the alignment between higher education admissions-related requirements and K-12 curriculum frameworks, standards, and assessments. They conduct research that is meant to inform educational institutions and federal, state, and local agencies through descriptive analysis of the policies, identification of "disjunctures that exist in the current policy environment," and recommendations for improving the current system. Details about this program as well as their policy reports and briefs are available from their website. [VF]

Curricular Options in Mathematics Programs for All Secondary Students (COMPASS)

Curricular Options in Mathematics Programs for All Secondary Students (COMPASS), funded partly by the National Science Foundation, assists "schools, teachers, administrators, parent groups, and other community members and constituencies interested in improving secondary school mathematics opportunities and experiences for their students." Specifically, they serve as a clearinghouse for five curricular programs, which are designed to meet the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' (NCTM) 1989 publication Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics, and the updated Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (2000). Through workshops and this website they offer advice on developing curriculum-specific implementation strategies, and opportunities for professional development. For each curriculum project the website includes a Project Description, an Outline of Curriculum, Examples of Curriculum, Evaluation Data, Implementation Data, Teacher Support & Resources, and Publisher Information. Articles in the media and an FAQ section provides additional background on the projects and the support services that COMPASS offers. [VF]


Free Dictionary section on Mathematics

It's hard to believe it's all free! This trove of information from offers all sorts of information on math. From algebra and integers to derivatives and polynomials, it's all here. By scrolling over or clicking on a link, the visitor is treated to a sometimes whopping amount of information about the given topic. For those simply interested in math, math lovers, or possibly a teacher who needs to venture into a rusty subject area before next fall, this site is well worth a look. Note: while it's free, there are some advertisements. [JPM]

An interesting site that is packed full of up-to-date info, is "where you will find the most up-to-date information, resources and news available about electronic discovery...(the site) offers much needed resources for legal professionals who seek to understand the many new technological and legal challenges associated with electronic discovery." As fast as the technology revolution is booming, so too is are all of the legal strings attached. This site seeks to provide professionals in the field with a means to stay up on discovery news. With links to Legal News, Featured Articles, a weblog, and a Reading Room, there is lots of useful information on this unique site. [JPM]

Two on Art and Science:

It's hard to see satellite pictures of the earth from a satellite without being taken aback by the beauty of it. While it may seem like an unlikely pairing, art and science have much in common. These two sites are good examples of the union. First, from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), is a news release on the AAAS galleries and the paintings by Marie Laurence Gaudrat at the AAAS headquarters building. The second site, Visions of Science, "is a photographic awards scheme organised by Novartis Pharmaceuticals to encourage ongoing discussion about science." The site, itself artistic, offers information on the competition, previous winners, and related events. [JPM]

The United States Mint's Site for Kids

The U.S. mint offers all sorts of great information for kids, teachers, and any other visitors. Included at the site are links for Games, Cartoons, the Time Machine -- which illustrates the history of money, Coin News, and Camp Coin -- an online camp where kids can learn about collecting. A very comprehensive site, there is also information about coins of the world, National Coin Week, the new nickel, and the coin of the month. [JPM]

U.S. Department of Education: Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics

This offering from, offers this comprehensive and downloadable kit on teaching math to your children. There are several activities to do at home, the grocery store, and on the go, as well as a glossary of related terms. In consideration of "our increasingly technological world," the foreward to this publication argues that, "To ensure that our children are ready for high school and on track for success in college and the workforce, parents must become involved earlyand stay involved over the school yearsto reinforce children's skills in and positive attitudes toward mathematics." While it hasn't always been easy in the past for parents to get involved with teaching math, this resource may be very helpful. [JPM]

National Park Service, Links to the Past: Mapping

One of the most amazing new tools in the world of mapping has been GIS technology. The applications of GIS are seemingly endless and, as the NPS illustrates at this site, it can now be used for cultural study, too. The site's introduction states that GIS "systems combine spatial technologies and database management for the identification, evaluation, and preservation of cultural resources. Our various Programs use this type of mapping to better manage and protect valuable historic, cultural, and environmental resources." This site offers visitors a glimpse at several federal initiatives that use GIS, including the GPS Community Base Station, the Geographic Positioning Systems (GPS) Field Schools, Mapping America's Battlefields, and more. [JPM] Chat Definitions

If you're new to internet chat, you'll need to know how to say you're stepping out and that you'll be right back (BRB) or that you're currently amused so much that you're rolling on the floor laughing (ROFL). And, you'll definitely want to know if the rest of the chat group thinks you're "lurking," or simply sitting in on a discussion without participating. Enjoy these shorthand secrets. L8R (goodbye). [JPM]

Topic In Depth

Google's IPO

New York Times: How John Doerr, the Old Prospector, Finally Struck Google
NPR's Tech Guru Omar Wasow: Google's IPO
San Jose Mercury News: Google IPO Translates Into Multiple Billions Google IPO May Help Raise Fortunes of Tech Industry
Saint Petersburg Times: Google Sets Up IPO with a Twist

While the boom and bust IPO craze of the nineties has largely been replaced by wary investors and a battlefield of tech startups, possibly the biggest IPO of the millennium is about to take place. Google, the inimitable company that has defined the use of the Internet and transformed its name into a verb, is soon to hit the market. In an amusing test, a search for "Google IPO" on Google itself reveals 984,000 entries from which to pick. Thus, here are a few, leaving 984,995 from which to choose at your leisure.

The first site (1) takes you to the New York Times' piece on a person you'd love to be right now, John Doerr, who was one of the venture capitalists that put money in Google's pockets at the get go. The second link is to NPR's recent story on Google's IPO and a report from the Tech Guru, Omar Wasow (2). The third link takes you to an article from the San Jose Mercury news that highlights just how much money will head towards Google's employees (3). highlights how this IPO may resurrect the tattered fortunes of the tech industry in the fourth site (4 ). And, the last site is from the Saint Petersburg Times, which offers this article explaining the Google-like twist Google is putting on this IPO in order to try to allow common folk to snatch a few shares before the mega-investors sweep in (5)

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