The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 1, Number 23

November 27, 2002

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

In This Issue:




Topic In Depth


Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center
Part of the Earth Observing System Data Information System, the Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center is responsible for archiving and distributing data relevant to the physical state of the ocean. The data, which are intended for use in oceanographic and other interdisciplinary scientific research, is freely available. Products include sea surface height, ocean wind, and sea surface temperature data. Recently added datasets include BYU High Resolution Images of ERS Sigma0 Measurements and ATSR-2 Gridded Brightness Temperature. [JAB]
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Fields [.pdf]
Warren Siegel of the Yank Institute of Theoretical Physics describes his work Fields as "the first free comprehensive textbook on quantum (and classical) field theory available online." The nearly 800 page work is a second edition provided as of September 2002. Chapter topics include symmetry, quanta, higher spin, coordinates, indices, representations, spin, quantization, general relativity, and much more. What could be better than a free, full textbook that users can browse, search, and even print out for personal use. [JAB]
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GENIE: A General Internet Search Engine for Atomic Data
The Atomic and Molecular Data Unit, which operates within the Nuclear Data Section of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, maintains the General Internet Search Engine for Atomic Data (GENIE). The tool allows users to choose from two data types. The first is Oscillator Strengths and/or Transition Probabilities, which includes six databases. Users can specify the ion and the upper and lower wavelength limit. The other data is entitled Electron Impact Cross Sections and/or Rate Coefficients and contains two databases. For these data, users can choose the ion and the process of electron impact as either excitation or ionization. The ease of use and wealth of information that can be obtained from the search engine makes it a great tool for those looking for these specific data types. [JAB]
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Publications [.ppt]
The Nitrogen and Phosphorus Knowledge Web page is offered by Iowa State University Extension and the College of Agriculture. The publications page contains links to various newsletters, articles, publications, power point presentations, links to governmental publications, and more. For example, visitors will find articles written on phosphorous within the Integrated Crop Management Newsletter, power point presentations on Nitrogen Management and Carbon Sequestration, and links to other Iowa State University publications on various subjects such as nutrient management. Other links on the home page of the site contain soil temperature data, research highlights, and other similarly relevant information for those in similar fields. [JAB]
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Antarctic Meteorology Online
The Antarctic Meteorology Online Web site is provided by the British Antarctic Survey and the Natural Environment Research Council. Visitors will find weather reports provided by the dozens of stations located in the Antarctic. The Web master has made these data accessible by each specific station; by a clickable map; by a list of all land, ship, or buoy stations; or by an oracle database interface. The reports are at least 10 minutes old and are normally not more than six hours old. The information provided includes a graph of pressure and temperature, as well as links to previous reports, which make the site a good and easily accessible resource. This site is also reviewed in the November 27, 2002 Scout Report. [JAB]
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Vadose Zone Journal
The Vadose Zone Journal is a new publication published by the Soil Science Society of America. The journal is described as "an outlet for interdisciplinary research and assessment of the vadose zone, the mostly unsaturated zone between the soil surface and the permanent groundwater table." A free online trial is currently available to review full text articles until December 31st of 2002. Although the trial includes only the first two issues, the opportunity to search and browse through the publications without charge should be taken advantage of. [JAB]
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Methods for Measuring the Acute Toxicity of Effluents and Receiving Waters to Freshwater and Marine Organisms [.pdf]
The US Environmental Protection Agency has recently released a final regulation for Methods for Measuring the Acute Toxicity of Effluents and Receiving Waters to Freshwater. This involves the approval of several test procedures for measuring the toxicity of effluents and receiving waters, which are referred to as whole effluent toxicity or WET test methods. Visitors can download the entire 275 page document, its table of contents, individual sections, or the appendices. Anyone working in biomonitoring or other similar fields will appreciate the timely and important information provided. [JAB]
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New Jersey Spatial Data Clearinghouse
The New Jersey Spatial Data Clearinghouse stores metadata from organizations across the state and makes the data available to the public. The 603 datasets cover all aspects of land information including climatic data, digital ortho-photography, environmental, forestry and wildlife, geodetic control, geographic names, geologic and soils data, landuse/ landcover, and water resources among others. A wealth of great information for those working specifically with GIS or using it for other research. [JAB]
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Sunspots and the Solar Cycle
Sunspots and the Solar Cycle is a great learning Web site sponsored by NASA. The site explains what the solar cycle is, how sunspots affect conditions on earth, and much more. Visitors can find out what today's sunspot number is, view solar movies, track the history of sunspot discoveries, and even plot sunspot activity for the day you were born. A lot of fun and interesting activities are available on the site that should help students stay interested and learn along the way. [JAB]
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The Chemistry Hypermedia Project
The Chemistry Hypermedia Project was started by Professor Brian Tissue of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1993. One of the goals stated for the site is to use the Internet to provide supplemental educational resources to chemistry students. That's accomplished by providing a large collection of hypermedia indices, which are online tutorials on various chemistry topics such as analytical chemistry, analytical instrumentation, and many others. Additional activities for students include self-paced tutorials that give students practice with equilibrium problems and a section on analytical spectroscopy. Although the student sections are a bit unorganized, the site does gives a lot of good information that kids can use to help understand these often confusing topics. [JAB]
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Making Waves
Provided by Living Graphs, Making Waves is a freely downloaded interactive physics package that helps students visualize and understand the motion and interference of transverse and longitudinal waves. Designed for senior high school and college physics students, the interactive program allows users to manipulate wave properties such as their amplitude, wavelength, phase shift, speed, frequency and damping; standing waves; and mks units. The site even provides online help and tutorials for teachers to help them integrate the software into curricula. [JAB]
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Scanning Electron Microscope [QuickTime]
As part of the Science Learning Network, the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Web site explores what an SEM is, how it's used, and what images it can produce. The How It Works section has a self-paced tutorial and an interesting movie describing how it functions as well. The other section for students is the image gallery, which has the Animal, Vegetable, Mineral game. Individual images from a SEM are shown, and users get to guess which of the three substances is shown. It isn't as easy as it sounds, but it is fun. [JAB]
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LifeSigns Game [Flash]
The interactive LifeSigns Game is provided by NASA's Planet Quest Web site. The game shows several planets and gives information on what elements are present in their atmospheres. Depending on what's found, users choose if life is likely or not on the planet. Once you're done, the game tells you how many you got right and lets you go back to investigate further and change your answers. This is a great learning activity for students of all ages. Links to other educational resources are also provided. [JAB]
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Chemistry Education
The University of California Irvine offers the Chemistry Education Educational Applets page. The applets that give students a chance to "explore scientific principles the same way a professional scientist does: by messing around with a system that exhibits the principle." The six activities include a demonstration of the illusory nature of irreversibility; a simulation of a binary chemical reaction; a simulation of a bouncing, heatable box that illustrates the second law of thermodynamics-entropy; a simplified simulation of the Earth's atmosphere; the particle in the box problem; and finally an illustration of Monte Carlo computer simulation in the context of a simple model of flexible polymers. A great collection of interest grabbing activities for students. [JAB]
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Interactive Physics and Math with Java
The Interactive Physics and Math with Java Web site is provided by Sergey Kiselev and Tanya Yanovsky-Kiselev. The page contains over twenty introductory and advanced level physics activities. Everything from The Laser, Induced Current, The Bouncing Ball, A Two-Resistor Circuit, Light Dispersion through a Glass Prism, an Oscillating 3-D Crystal, Anharmonic Local Modes, and many others. For example, the Spring Pendulum applet shows a two dimensional spring pendulum with a mass suspended on a spring. The pendulum moves under the influence of gravity and the elastic force of the spring. The user can stop the movement and change its direction to see how it reacts. An explanation is then given on the physics behind the activity. [JAB]
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Operate Your Own Tokamak Reactor!
Princeton University's Plasma Physics Laboratory's Interactive Plasma Physics Education Experience Web site (last mentioned in the July 26, 2002 NSDL Physical Sciences ) has updated its interactive Virtual Tokamak. The Java applet is designed to illustrate the basic principles of magnetically confined fusion, and users can now type in the three parameters that include the heating power, magnetic field, and plasma density. Although the applet doesn't work on older PCs, older browsers, and on most Macs, it's worth finding a newer PC to interactively learn about these specific types of reactors. [JAB]
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Snow Crystals
The Snow Crystals Web site was created by physics professor Ken Libbrecht from the California Institute of Technology. Visitors get to explore how snow crystals are created and their structure. The main page describes natural and designer snowflakes, which are created in the laboratory, along with dozens of spectacular photographs. The author also details and illustrates the crystalline lattice formed in snowflakes. These features, along with the many links, combine to make a very interesting and informative Web site. [JAB]
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Hurricane [Flash]
A new feature of NASA's Observatorium Web site (last mentioned in the November 25, 1998 Scout Report for Science and Engineering is the interactive Hurricane activity. This interactive site illustrates and describes hurricane creation, hurricane seasons and prone areas, how they are classified, what to do if you're caught in one, the dangers of hurricanes, and more. The wonderful animations and easily read text make the site well worth exploring. [JAB]
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Chemist's Art Gallery
Provided by the Visualization and Animation Laboratory at the Finnish IT Center for Science, the Chemist's Art Gallery contains "spectacular visualizations and animations in chemistry." The main page contains links to visualizations done at the laboratory as well as ones done at other locations. Examples of what the laboratory has been creating include Distributions of Counterions around DNA, Micelles, Small Molecule Diffusion in Polymers, and Visualization of Solvation Structures in Liquid Mixtures. Although a general knowledge of the topic is suggested, all visitors will find something worth checking out. [JAB]
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Skunk Defensive Secretion
Skunk Defensive Secretion is a interesting site maintained by William F. Wood from the Department of Chemistry at Humboldt State University. He explains how to remove skunk odor, the chemistry of skunk spray, the history of skunk defensive secretion research, skunk pictures, and even how to happily coexist with skunks. This is a fun, informative, and potentially olfactory friendly site. [JAB]
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US Global Change Research Information Office: Ask Dr. Global Change
If you're interested in finding information on global change, then the Ask Dr. Global Change Web site is for you. Provided by the US Global Change Research Information Office, the site gives visitors the chance to review and search dozens of questions and related answers to various global warming questions. Example questions include What is Global Warming and What is the Greenhouse Effect. It also allows visitors to submit question of their own and explore other provided links. [JAB]
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Temperature World
Temperature gives in-depth and varied information on temperature. The site offers links to a temperature converter, world city temperatures, a printable temperature conversion table, temperature forecasts, temperature related product recalls, and information on metal temperature by color. It also contains explanations of earth temperature issues, temperature sensors and controls, organizations and standards, temperature tools, and more. A unique and thorough site, it can be enjoyed by visitors of any age. [JAB]
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Drought Resources and Information
The Drought Resources and Information Web site is maintained by the Utah State University Extension Water Resource Issues Team, which was created to "address information needs related to water conservation and quality in agriculture and urban settings." The site provides information on several subjects including landscape irrigation, agricultural water uses, home water conservation, drought and weather monitoring, and more. [JAB]
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Topic In Depth

1. Chlorine Bleach
2. Chlorine
3. Chlorine Chemistry
4. Question of the Day
5. Chlorine's Everyday Uses
6. Chlorine in Industry
7. Chlorine
8. Chlorine Experiments
This Topic in Depth explores the basics and uses of chlorine. Provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, the first site is called Chlorine Bleach (1). The page briefly describes what chlorine bleach is, what's in it, and related health and safety concerns. The next site is maintained by and is called Chlorine (2). Visitors learn the element's symbol, atomic weight, its uses, and all of its physical and nuclear properties. Next, from, comes the Chlorine Chemistry (3) Web site. Ten questions related to chlorine are answered such as What's the History of Chlorine, How Does Chlorine Work to Sanitize, and What Effect Does pH Have on Chlorine. Each is briefly explained in simple and non-technical language. The fourth site is another great offering from that answers questions about chlorine on their Question of the Day (4) page. It discusses how chlorine removes stains, whether chlorine bleach is the same as chlorine in drinking water and swimming pools, and if it's safe to use. The next site is provided by the Chlorine Chemistry Council and is entitled Chlorine's Everyday Uses (5). The page contains several links that address the uses of chlorine with titles including Chlorine Chemistry's Role in Our Daily Lives, Chlorine's Contribution to National Security, and Chlorine: Beneficial Products. A very interesting and surprising set of documents that will make you think of chlorine in a whole new light. The sixth site, which is called Chlorine in Industry (6), is provided by Euro Chlor. The site discusses how chlorine is vital for many processes, how it is made, and even the socioeconomic importance of chlorine. Bradfield College's Department of Chemistry offers the next site, again simply called Chlorine (7). This informative site explorers the structure and bonding of chlorine, its uses, properties, related environmental issues, and more. The last site is provided by the Science Center called Chlorine Experiments (8). The first experiment is called Sunscreen and Light Energy, which shows how chlorine is an ingredient in sunscreen and how it helps protect people from the sun's damage. The other experiment, called Antifreeze and the Freezing Point of Water, teaches how chlorine is an important component in antifreeze. Using antifreeze, foam cups, glass vials, and other simple ingredients, students learn how the liquid helps keep cars and other engines running during winter. [JAB]
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