The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology -- Volume 3, Number 13

June 18, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


DOE: Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering

The Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering in the Office of Basic Energy Sciences supports a research program that "seeks to understand the atomistic basis of materials properties and behavior and how to make materials perform better at acceptable cost through innovative materials design, synthesis, and processing." The two main research areas of Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Chemistry and Materials and Engineering Physics emphasize finding efficient, economical, environmentally acceptable, and safe ways to generate, convert, transmit, and use energy. Research activities described on this website include: Experimental Condensed Matter Physics, Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics, X-ray and Neutron Scattering, Materials Chemistry and Biomolecular Materials, Structure and Composition of Materials, Mechanical Behavior and Radiation Effects, Physical Behavior of Materials, Synthesis and Processing Science, Engineering Physics and EPSCoR, which supports "cluster activities" for participant states in the U.S. The website overviews the research agenda, describes the grant proposal process, and offers free online publications. [VF]

Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA)

Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) is a collaborative project of technology manufacturers, weather service providers, academic partners, and federal agencies and is primarily supported by funds from the National Science Foundation. The research draws from electrical engineering, computer science and engineering, and meteorology, hydrology, and atmospheric science to study atmosphere sensing, distributing, and predicting. The website describes CASA's research as well as its education and outreach programs. One of the educational programs, the Multimedia Modules project, involved the development of education modules that "provide background materials and self-study to a wide audience, ranging from incoming graduate students and faculty, to end-users, REU students, and K-12 teachers." The News and Events section of the website offers links to news articles and announces presentations at upcoming conferences. [VF]

IBM Research: Computer Science and Software Services

IBM's Almaden Research Center is located in the Silicon Valley and conducts research in the areas of: Computer science software, computer science storage systems, science and technology, services research and WebFountain. The different websites review the research programs and provide some background information. For example, the Computer Science Software & Services department provides an overview of the theory behind its work, describing various algorithms, models, and resources used. The Science and Technology Center provides overviews of several disciplines, including Nanoscale Sciences, Exploratory Technology, and Quantum Information. [VF]

Microelectronics Research Center (MiRC) [pdf]

The Microelectronics Research Center (MiRC) is set up to "enable and facilitate interdisciplinary research in microelectronics, integrated optoelectronics, and microsensors and actuators". Participants come from a variety of academic disciplines within engineering (i.e. electrical, computer, chemical, materials, and mechanical), the sciences (i.e. physics, chemistry and mathematics), and from computer science. The MiRC also collaborates with other centers, including manufacturing, telecommunications, and packaging. The website describes the center's facilities, course offerings, and provides separate websites for the five research centers and projects within MiRC. [VF]

Purdue University: Louis de Branges' Mathematics Proof [pdf]

A Purdue University mathematician, Louis de Branges de Bourcia, claims to have proven the Riemann hypothesis. A competition, which awards a $1 million prize to the first person who proves the hypothesis, motivated this mathematician to post his results on this website, rather than wait for it to appear in a journal. According to the Purdue University press release, de Branges invites other mathematicians to examine his efforts. Four papers are currently available, including the "Apology for the proof of the Riemann hypothesis." [VF]

Multi-University / Research Lab (MURL) Seminar Series [Windows Media Player]

The Multi-University / Research Lab (MURL) Seminar Series "was developed to become a centralized, collaborative venture that allows people anywhere to view and participate in streaming video presentations of research seminars originating from a small, distinguished group of institutions." The series was initiated by the School of Computer Science at Carnegie-Mellon University, the Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Microsoft Research, the School of Engineering at Stanford University, the Dept. of Computer Science at University of Washington, and the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Seminars are archived by the participating organizations and go as far back as 1990. Recent seminar topics include hybrid systems used in modeling air traffic control systems and a symposium on social computing. [VF]


Teachers College Record

The Teachers College at Columbia University hosts this website on education research. The Teachers College Record regularly publishes feature articles, book reviews, a community discussion board, and community announcements such as upcoming conferences. Past articles can be searched or browsed by topic. Topics include adult education, technology, curriculum, policy, diversity, and research methods, among others. Membership sign-in is required to access the articles, but registration is free. [VF]

National Science Resources Center (NSRC) [pdf]

Supported by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Academies, the National Science Resources Center (NSRC) provides products and services to improve the learning and teaching of science. Partners include academic institutions, school districts, museums, corporations, foundations, parents, and other stakeholders. The website highlights three main activities of the Center: the Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) Center, the Professional Development Center, and the Curriculum Development Center. Those who create a free user account can join in the discussion forum. Most of their publications must be ordered, but the Resource Books on elementary and middle school mathematics can be read online along with some of the Center's brochures. [VF]

Math Projects Journal [pdf]

The Math Projects Journal (MPJ) is "dedicated to improving mathematics education by empowering teachers with lessons and ideas" based on "four and a half" principles which are described on the website. This website offers a selection of free lesson plans and articles on pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry. A 300-page spiral bound book of lessons and articles published in the first five years of MPJ is also available for purchase, which then gives you access to periodic postings of new lessons online. Many of the lessons are from the MPJ's international readers and teachers are encouraged to submit their ideas. Readers can also post questions "about what to teach or how to teach it," which will then be answered by the editors or fellow readers. A Math Links section provides some additional mathematics education resources online. [VF]

Learning to Teach Secondary Mathematics (LTSM)

Learning to Teach Secondary Mathematics (LTSM) is a five-year longitudinal study that seeks "to trace prospective teachers' growth in mathematical understanding and beliefs over time and to examine how these beliefs and knowledge play out in practice." The website describes the research project, including the research framework, data collection, and research questions. References for articles, reports, and presentations relating to the project are also listed, but articles are not posted online. [VF]

Science Service

Science Service is a non-profit organization founded in 1921 with the mission "to advance public understanding and appreciation of science." Through various training programs, talent searches, science fairs and scholarship competitions, the service promotes students' interest and learning in science, math, and engineering. The weekly newsletter, Science News Online, covers the "important and exciting progress of science research and technology." [VF]

Education Week: No Child Left Behind

Education Week, an online newspaper, features various issues in education in the Education Issues A-Z section. This issue discusses the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, signed by President Bush in 2002. The article discusses how the act has "expanded the federal role in education and become a focal point of education policy" and reviews some of the key features of the law. Additional archived articles are also linked from this website, but access requires free registration. The end of the article also provides additional resources and websites relating to No Child Left Behind. [VF]


Robotica Exotica

Gabriel Hugh Elkaim, an Assistant Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of California at Santa Cruz has posted this blog called Robotica Exotica. This fun webpage contains "musings about robots, autonomous vehicles, and technology." Entries are posted frequently and previous months are kept in an online archive. Recent entries include a bit titled "Educational Robot comes packed with Features" and another on "Cool Underwater ROV." [VF]

Science News: Playing PIG MathTrek

Science News has posted this article about playing PIG -- a dice game you may have seen at the game store. The goal is to be the first player to roll a total of 100 points, but the rules add a little complexity. According to the article, some of the subtleties of the game "got computer scientist Todd W. Neller of Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania to analyze the two-player game in detail and find a strategy for true optimal play." The article includes a link to his analysis results, which are posted on the UMAP Journal webpage. [VF]

Spamhaus Project

The Spamhaus Project is a non-profit organization in Britain that works "to protect the internet networks worldwide." The project tracks the Internet's Spammers, Spam Gangs and Spam Services and "provides dependable realtime anti-spam protection for Internet networks, and works with Law Enforcement to identify and pursue spammers worldwide." The website also includes a definition of spam and news articles on spam around the world. Statistics are posted of the top 10 spam countries, the top 10 worst spam ISPs, and the top 10 ROKSO spammers, updated monthly. [VF]

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry: Engineer It [pdf]

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry offers this website called Engineer It. The website complements an exhibit which lets you "use the same steps as an engineer to design boats, build bridges, windmills, and airplanes and then test their performance in water tanks, shake tables, and wind tunnels." The website offers activities and online games relating to wind, water, and structural engineering. Also available are links to other fun websites and an article on What is an Engineer. [VF]

Search Engine Tips

Search Engine Watch was created by Danny Sullivan, an Internet consultant and journalist, and is hosted by The organization offers analysis of search engines and assistance "to site owners trying to improve their ability to be found in search engines." This section of their website provides tips on using search engines and "some fun facts such as what people search for on search engines." A few articles talk about the behind-the-scenes workings of search engines while others provide key terms to use in searches. More importantly, if you dont know how to say search engine in Czech, French or Icelandic, you can learn how from this website. [VF]

Technology and Transportation Futures Program: Fun Facts

The U.S. Office of Human Resources Federal Highway Administration offers this website with some fun facts about transportation in the U.S. For example, did you know there are more than 160,000 traffic signals or that Americans spend more than 1.6 million hours a day stuck in traffic? Or have you ever wanted to calculate the latitude and longitude of two places and then the distance between them as the crow flies? From this website you can make these calculations using data from the U.S. Census and a supplementary list of cities around the world. Also provided is a link to a Library of Congress website that offers Photographs from the Worlds Transportation Commission 1894-1896. [VF]

Topic In Depth

Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Detroit News: Gas-electric vehicles surge in popularity
Electric Vehicle History Online Archive
Hybrid Electric Vehicle Program
Argonne Laboratories Transportation Technology R&D Center

While Scout recently reported on hybrid automobiles from the current make and model point of view, this topic in depth explores the history and technology of electric and hybrid cars and considers the options available for car buyers and the future of fuel cell technology.

This article from the Detroit News suggests electric vehicles are becoming popular (1). The second website (1) provides an interactive history and archived documents about the development of electric vehicles. The third link describes a specific program involving U.S. corporations and the Federal government (2). The fourth link takes you to Argonne Laboratories transportation website, which provides articles and reviews recent research developments (3). If you are looking to buy an electric or hybrid car this website provides information on the various alternative vehicles and, and California residents can find out about state government-sponsored incentives for car buyers (4). This last website from the Why Files offers an analysis of some of the pros and cons of electric vehicles and suggests fuel cells have more potential (5).

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

From The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2003.

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2003. The Internet Scout Project (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

Internet Scout Project Team
Valerie Farnsworth Editor
John Morgan Managing Editor
Rachael Bower Co-Director
Edward Almasy Co-Director
Nathan Larson Contributor
Max Grinnell Contributor
Debra Shapiro Contributor
Rachel Enright Contributor
Todd Bruns Internet Cataloger
Barry Wiegan Software Engineer
Justin Rush Technical Specialist
Michael Grossheim Technical Specialist
Andy Yaco-Mink Website Designer

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout Project staff page.