The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, & Technology -- Volume 4, Number 6

March 25, 2005

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




Topic In Depth


Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center [pdf]

With support from the National Science Foundation, the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) brings together researchers from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Museum of Science in Boston with participation by Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), the University of Basel (Switzerland), the University of Tokyo (Japan), and Brookhaven, Oak Ridge and Sandia National Laboratories "to construct novel electronic and magnetic devices with nanoscale sizes and understand their behavior, including quantum phenomena." The Center's main activities include research, education, and public outreach. The website lists the group's overlapping interdisciplinary research areas as Synthesis and Growth of Nanoscale Structures; Imaging Electrons inside Nanostructures; and Spins and Charges in Coherent Electronics. The links section provides information on NCES nanotechnology educational activities as well as other online resources and information on upcoming conferences in nanotechnology. The Highlights section provides just an overview of recently published research, but some of the websites for individual participants include articles and conference papers. The Annual Report also reviews recent activities and research from NSEC. [VF]

High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research

High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HAIPER) is an advanced airborne research platform which is currently being built and modified for application in environmental research. The aircraft is maintained and operated for the National Science Foundation by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo. HIAPER is described as "a new research aircraft with exceptional capabilities." The series of missions for this aircraft, which is scheduled to arrive at NCAR's Jefferson County Airport (JeffCo) facility on Friday, March 11, are beginning in 2005. The website provides information on the research project and the aircraft specifications, as well as photos of the aircraft, a glossary of terms used in aviation and in the atmospheric research community, and links to related websites. [VF]

Visual and Interactive Tools [Java]

Susan H. Rodger from the Computer Science Department at Duke University has compiled this website describing research on "designing tools for visualizing and interacting with theoretical computer science concepts." The graphical tools may be used as an aid for learning the basic concepts of Formal Languages and Automata Theory. Most of the tools are available to download or can be obtained by contacting the researchers as noted on the linked websites. References and copies of some recent papers are also posted on this website. [VF]

Georgia Tech: Microelectronics [pdf]

The mission of the Microelectronics Research Center of Georgia Tech is "to facilitate research on a variety of new materials, device structures, and micro-electromechanical systems." The group has established a silicon CMOS processing baseline and a procedure for equipment and processing training, which it calls the Platform. The Center makes the Platform available to the Georgia Tech community and to other research communities worldwide. The components of the Platform, which include baselines, research, people, training and services, are described on this website. The Documents section includes information on the equipment as well as recipes and seminar notes, which are free to download. Some sections of the website are only accessible to group members. [VF]

Modeling and Simulation Information Analysis Center [pdf]

The Modeling and Simulation Information Analysis Center (MSIAC) assists the Department of Defense (DoD) in meeting its M&S needs "by providing scientific, technical, and operational support information and services." Through the Help Desk, MSIAC also answers technical inquiries from non-DoD customers, who agree to pay for their service beyond the first two hours. The group has experience in weapons technology including WMD, information management, modeling and simulation, operations analysis, chemical and explosive sciences, material sciences, spectrum engineering, wireless communication, life sciences, medical informatics and telemedicine, transportation systems, and reliability, availability, and maintainability. A wealth of resources are available from this website, including the Modeling & Simulation Resource Repository (MSRR), which is described as "the first place to go for answers to M&S" and Glossary of Modeling and Simulation (M&S) Terms, information on special topics of interest within M&S, and links to related websites. The MSIAC's M&S Journal Online offers quarterly articles of interest to the M&S community free of charge. [VF]

Animal Algorithm Animation Tool [zip, pdf]

Guido Rling, who works for the Rechnerbetriebsgruppe (Computer Support Center) of the Department of Computer Science at the Darmstadt University of Technology, has created this website about ANIMAL. ANIMAL is a general-purpose animation tool with a current focus on algorithm animation. Posted on this website are the animations, including screenshots, classification and description, a user guide, other instructions, and research papers. A section with examples provides an overview and screen shots of the animations, such as one that shows how LZW compression (an algorithm created in 1984 by Lempel, Ziv and Welch) works. [VF]

Building Technologies Program: Building Toolbox

The Department of Energy's Building Technologies Program engages in research and regulatory activities aimed at improving the energy efficiency of buildings. This section of the organization's website called the Building Toolbox provides guidelines, tools, success stories, and links "to guide you through the process of designing, constructing, or renovating high-performance buildings." Topics addressed include how to plan and finance a project, how to design, construct, and renovate high-performance buildings using "the whole building approach" and design tools, as well as suggested ways to choose building components and to operate and maintain buildings in order to get the most out of energy dollars. Finally, several software tools are available to help researchers, designers, architects, engineers, builders, code officials, and others evaluate and rank potential energy-efficiency technologies and renewable energy strategies. [VF]

IOP: Quantum Computing [pdf]

The publishers of Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General are offering free access to articles on Classical and Quantum Field Theory from January 2005 until April 2005. The Classical and Quantum Field Theory section of the journal includes articles on "high quality, innovative and significant new results on mathematical physics in areas including: topological objects (such as vortices, solitons, instantons and monopoles), gauge and conformal field theory, quantum electrodynamics and quantum chromodynamics, integrable models, mathematical and computational methods in quantum field theory, and classical field theory." After April 2005, the articles will only be available to paid subscribers. [VF]


Multicultural Math Fair

This website provides a collection of activities compiled by the Mathematics Department at Frisbie Middle School in Rialto, Calif. for use at its Multicultural Math Fair. Although the activities are from the 1999-2000 Multicultural Math Fair, the Math Forum maintains the website and all the links were current at the time of this report. The website includes some tips on how to set up a Multicultural Math Fair as well as data sheets and software for some of the activities, such as the Tower of Hanoi. Each activity is described in both Spanish and English. The Math Fair Links section also provides a number of other online resources for related activities, such as studying symmetry and patterns in Navajo rugs. Photos and comments from students who participated in the Frisbie Middle School Fair are also posted here. [VF] Mathematics

This website from "provides online, interactive, multimedia lessons that bring Maths to life and help with the areas of Maths that students typically find most difficult: algebra, geometry and trigonometry." The website, which is a collaboration among AIB Bank, The Irish Times, and Intel Ireland, along with other corporate supporters, offers support for teaching the new Junior Cycle Maths curriculum and guidelines for the Irish education system. The lessons posted here are intended to teach problem-solving skills and are organized into the three areas: algebra, geometry and trigonometry. The interactive format allows visitors to test their understanding throughout each lesson. Some examples of specific simulations, which require a Macromedia Flash plug-in, include those that cover the areas of Co-ordinates, Axial Symmetry and Angle Types. [VF]

Awesome Library: Technology

The Awesome Library is an Internet library database developed by Dr. R. Jerry Adams (see also NSDL Scout Report for Mathematics, Engineering and Technology, December 17, 2004). This section of the website features a listing of online educational resources on technology, such as tips for designing Web pages and lesson plan ideas. The lesson ideas are not organized in any particular order, but address topics such as how to use the Internet for researching a company, building a school website, Internet safety, learning to use Microsoft Office 2000, and technology in Africa. Listed along with the website link is the website author and a short description of the lesson or website content. [VF]

Resources on Engineering Education [pdf]

On this website, Dr. Richard M. Felder, the Hoechst Celanese Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University, offers guidance, tips and resources for using techniques that he has found effective in teaching college level engineering courses. Numerous articles on learning styles, assessment, and instructional techniques are available here to download free of charge. Topics include active learning, cooperative learning and an Index of Learning Styles, which is "an on-line instrument used to assess preferences on four dimensions (active/reflective, sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal, and sequential/global) of a learning style model formulated by Richard M. Felder and Linda K. Silverman." Also posted here are some handouts for students with titles such as "How to Survive Engineering School" and "Tips on Test-Taking." [VF]


MathFROG stands for Math Fun, Resources, and Online Games. The games and resources available here were developed by a team at the University of Waterloo and are intended for students in grades four, five and six. The lessons are self-contained, combining online mathematics games or technological tools with appropriate paper-and-pencil follow-up exercises, which can also be downloaded free of charge. Each lesson lasts about 45 to 60 minutes and includes information on the related Ontario curriculum topics that are addressed. A section for parents and teachers provides some background information on the activities, including a Master Lesson List that lists all the lessons in a table format that includes the expectations for learning within each lesson, the math topics covered by the related strand and the name given to the lesson. Kids can jump right into the lessons by following the link labeled Kidz. The website is also available in French. [VF]

EDTech: National Study of the Effectiveness of Educational Technology Interventions

This website presents findings from an ongoing study of the effectiveness of educational technology in improving student academic achievement and conditions and practices that are related to the effects of educational technology. The National Study of the Effectiveness of Educational Technology Interventions is funded by the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences and is being conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., and its subcontractor, SRI International. The three-year study, which began in the fall of 2003, is evaluating the efficacy of technology applications designed to improve student learning in math and reading in grades K-12 and includes approximately 35 districts and 120 schools, representing a geographically diverse cross-section of school districts across the United States. During summer and fall 2005, the team will be analyzing the data and will prepare a report to be submitted to Congress in April 2006. Additional information and updates on the study are available from this website. [VF]

Imagiverse: Engineering and Technology

Imagiverse has been developed by a team of people inspired by former students of Montessori School of Corona, Calif., who "believe that imagination is the key to learning." The group offers here a collection of interviews with people who work in various fields, including engineering and technology, as one way to "spark the flame that will lead young and old to pursue learning as an adventure through imagination." The Activities section also includes some lesson ideas such as a robotics project and a postcard exchange project. The Ask the Expert section includes an archive of previously asked questions and their answers, along with a form for submitting a new question. Parts of the website are available in French and Spanish as well as English. The resources section includes a variety of articles that may interest students and teachers. [VF]

Stats for Schools [pdf, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel]

Stats4schools, developed by the United Kingdom's Office of National Statistics, "is about helping teachers and pupils to get more from statistics." The project has posted here datasets collected by the Office for National Statistics as part of the Omnibus survey and made them available for students to download free of charge. Teachers will also find lesson plans, worksheets and datasets that can be used in their classrooms. The lesson ideas are organized by topics and involve using statistics to answer questions such as, "Do girls pull their weight more than boys at home?" and "Are you at risk from the sun?" Additional resources on teaching statistics are available from the Links section of the website. [VF]


Museum of the Moving Image: Computer Space

The Museum of the Moving Image (see also Scout report, May 21, 2004) "is dedicated to educating the public about the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media and to examining their impact on culture and society." The Museum boasts about having the largest permanent collection of moving image artifacts in the US. This section of the website features an online exhibit, which is named after the first coin-operated video arcade game called Computer Space and provides a chronology of games developed since 1971. A short paragraph gives some history on how each game was developed and some links to related websites with more information. Although this is a somewhat older website, it covers a wide range of material thoroughly. The Museum also has made the "ROM Image" of some games downloadable so that users can play it using arcade game emulation software. [VF]

Caltech Archives Oral History Project [pdf]

The Caltech Archives Oral History Project "began in 1978 for the purpose of recording the personal memoirs of the distinguished scientists, teachers and administrators of the Institute." The archive currently includes about 170 interviews, for many of which transcipts are provided. The Online project makes selected interviews available to the public in digital form. Approximately 40 interviews, mostly from the fields of biology and environmental science, are available now and more will be posted in the future. Visitors can browse the archive online by name or by subject, as well as use an online search form. [VF]

CTHEORY [QuickTime]

CTHEORY is described as "an international peer-reviewed journal of theory, technology, and culture, publishing articles, interviews, event-scenes and reviews of key books." The articles are available to access free of charge. Visitors can search for articles by author, subject or date, or browse the articles listed by date. Some articles posted at the time of this report include streaming video of a "conversation concerning the changing value and meaning of the term 'life,' bios," and an article on education and virtual technology. [VF]

Lisp History [pdf]

Paul Graham, who identifies himself as "an essayist, programmer, and programming language designer" has posted on his website a collection of articles on the history of Lisp, a programming language designed by John McCarthy in the late 1950s. The articles discuss the Roots of Lisp, What Made Lisp Different (in particular, different from Fortran) and the Evolution of Lisp, along with related articles on other aspects of Lisp's history. Other sections of his website include articles on spam filters and essays on a variety of issues written from the perspective of a programmer, including one entitled "What You'll Wish You'd Known," which he wrote for a high school talk that never happened. [VF]

National Academy of Engineering Awards

This news release from the National Academies reports on the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) awards, which "recognize three achievements that have altered the course of world history, improved the quality of life for millions, and created educational experiences that have transformed hundreds of engineers into community leaders." Those honored include the designers of a spy satellite, a scientist who invented biosensors, and innovators in engineering and technology education. The site provides short biographical information on each awardee and background on the awards. [VF]

European Union: A Network for European Researchers in the US [pdf]
The European Union conducted a survey of European researchers in the U.S. regarding their views on the European Commission's "proposal to create a network for them and about them." Of the almost 2,000 researchers responding, a majority expressed views that suggest the proposal would be well received, according to the results, which are posted on this website and were released in January 2005. Development of the network is underway and is expected to be up and running by the fall of 2005. The goal is to help researchers in the U.S. maintain links with Europe and between one another and to provide information on policy developments, research co-operation and career opportunities in Europe. [VF]

Mathematics Museum [QuickTime]

Like any museum, this website called the Mathematics Museum provides some interesting visuals and explanations of various aspects of its subject, in this case mathematics. For example, the Fractal 3D Gallery includes video footage of 3D fractals and an FAQ section that provides some basic information on fractals. The Kodawari house includes some interesting math games and instruction for children as well as more advanced mathematics. Visitors can browse images created using Mathematica software or read about the history of Japanese mathematics. The Museum is maintained in Japan and a couple of the sections are available in Japanese only. [VF]

Wired: New Browsers, Same Unwanted Ads,1367,66726,00.html?tw=wn_9techhead

This article from Wired News reports on current trends in spyware and adware. The author discusses how people who stopped using Internet Explorer and started using alternate browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox, to avoid advertisements and improve internet security, may find that "spyware and adware writers are also making the switch." The author argues that as Mozilla gains more users, writers of spyware and adware programs will start writing for those browsers as well. On the positive side, the article includes a few links to resources for blocking pop-ups and reports on findings from a Nielsen/NetRatings survey, which found that "advertisers are using fewer pop-up and pop-under ads, largely because so many people have installed software to block them." [VF]

Topic In Depth

Cyborg Technology

UC Santa Barbara Department of English: Cyborg Resources
Helsinki Institute of Technology: Brain-Computer Interface
USC: Neural Engineering Lab
Discovery School: Future Body
NPR: Thinking Is Doing With Cyborg Technology
Kevin Warwick: Project Cyborg

Discussions of cyborg technology tend to be relegated to science fiction literature and TV programs like Star Trek. This Topic in Depth looks into current issues and developments in the area of cyborg technology. The first website, from the UC Santa Barbara Department of English, (1) lists a variety of resources on cyborgs, from philosophical articles and literary criticism to current scientific practices. A related area of research is brain-computer interfacing (BCI), which is described on this website from the Helsinki Institute of Technology (2). Research on neural engineering, which combines work in electrical and computer engineering, tissue engineering, materials science, and nanotechnology, is also described on this website from USC (3). The Discovery School (4) suggests this lesson on technology for grades six through eight, in which students explore how the human body uses electric signals to send messages to and from the brain, and then how the nervous system uses those signals, with the option for additional discussions regarding the potential for cyborg technology. The next website from National Public Radio (5) provides a current look at applications of cyber technology, most of which are in the area of healthcare. For example, this program reports on how "scientists make it possible for quadriplegics to control a television, play simple computer games and check e-mail... by just thinking about it." Another interesting experiment--Project Cyborg--involves the neuro-surgical implantation of a device into the median nerves of this researchers' left arm and is described this website (6). [VF]

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