The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 2, Number 21

October 31, 2003

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




Topic In Depth


NeoDys: Near Earth Objects - Dynamic Site [Java, pdf, zip]

NeoDys, a project developed at the University of Pisa in Italy, supplies data and services for all Near Earth Asteroids. Updated daily, researchers can find links to all NeoDys objects and observatories as well as data on Earth Impact Possibilities. Educators and students will find instructive explanations of Near-Earth Asteroids and three dimensional visualizations of the objects' orbits. Although at first glance some of the data may appear difficult to interpret, each page has a Help icon that thoroughly and clearly describes the information presented. [RME]

The Gamma-Ray Astronomy Team Home Page [pdf, zip]

The members of the Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Team of the National Space Science and Technology Center "are actively involved in several projects which are designed to investigate the high energy regime of our Solar System and Universe." The site provides extensive information on the scientific goals, features, and technical equipment of the Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) scheduled to launch in 2006. Although NASA terminated observations of the Burst and Transient Source Experiment in June 2000, scientists can learn how the project is still providing benefits to the high-energy astrophysics community. Researchers can read publications on the subjects of Gamma-Ray Bursts, Discrete Sources, and Pulsars. Students can find materials on many gamma-ray phenomena such as black holes, pulsars, and gamma-ray bursts. [RME]

HIGP: Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology [gif, Macromedia Shockwave Player]

The Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology's (HIGP) mission is "to solve fundamental problems in Earth and Planetary Science by the application and development of state-of-the-art exploration, measurement, and analysis technologies." This expansive Web site provides illustrations for a variety of research in subjects including High Pressure Mineral Physics, Volcanology, and Paleomagnetism. Students and educators can learn how remote sensing instruments are used to better understand basaltic flows. Potential graduate students can discover opportunities in research dealing with infrared spectroscopy, satellite examinations of volcanoes, and much more. [RME]

UNM Information Physics [pdf, zip]

The Information Physics Group at the University of Mexico has produced this Web site depicting its theoretical research in quantum information, control and manipulation of atomic systems, open quantum systems and decoherence, nonlinear dynamics, and complex systems. Researchers can download all of the group's published papers since its establishment in 1992 as well as pending papers and Ph.D. dissertations. Educators and students can learn about Ivan Deutsch's research dealing with quantum information science and Carlton Caves research in quantum information theory and quantum chaotic dynamics. Students will also find resources on various topics such as antilinear operators and antisymmetric operators on a real vector space. [RME]

Laboratory of Astrophysics and Surface Science [Microsoft PowerPoint]

Syracuse University's Laboratory of Astrophysics and Surface Science developed this Web site devoted primarily to its research in the "study of physical and chemical processes occurring in the interstellar medium." Educators and students can learn the details of the apparatus used to study hydrogen recombination reactions on material surfaces in interstellar conditions. The site features educational graphs and images in the topics of Laboratory Astrophysics and Thin Film Growth. Users can view images of the research group's Atomic / Molecular Beam Scattering Apparatus and other facilities. Scientists can request preprints or reprints of the many publications produced by the group. [RME]

The Cryosphere Antarctic Megadunes: Research at the Edge of the Earth

This Web site features the work of the National Snow and Ice Data Center's research team studying the Antarctic Megadunes, which cover about 500,000 kilometers of Antarctica. Researchers can learn how the research team used automated weather stations, snow and firn samples, GPS and GPR recordings, and remote sensing to accomplish its goals. Students and educators can find detailed descriptions of how the Antarctic dunes were formed. Everyone can learn what it is like living in this cold climate where in summer temperatures are expected to be only around negative twenty degrees Fahrenheit. [RME]

Structural Geology and Geomechanics

The teaching and research program, Structural Geology and Geomechanics at Stanford University, concentrates on brittle deformation in the earth's crust as well as fracturing and faulting of rocks under ductile conditions. Researchers can learn about the group's research which effectively unites field observations, laboratory experiments, and theoretical modeling. Scientists can learn about the program's software such as the Poly3Dinv which uses triangular dislocations to solve linear inverse problems. The site also publicizes the Stanford Rock Fracture Project, which researches rock fractures, crustal deformation, and fluid flow. [RME]

Industrial Chemistry [pdf]

This Web site addresses Professor Dr. J. Gmehling's research group activities in "the synthesis and design of chemical processes with an emphasis on thermal separation processes." Ranging from the development of thermodynamic models to the construction of software tools and data banks, their research at the University of Oldenburg, covers a broad range in the field of Industrial Chemistry. Students and educators can view informative figures and images such as the Isothermal Flow Calorimeter and the Gas-Liquid Chromatography. Users can download the free software, Dortmund Data Bank (DDB), which searches the literature for experimental information. [RME]


The Ocean Atlas of Hawaii [gif]

This Web site, by P. Flament at the University of Hawaii, presents "a description of the ocean around Hawai'i - marine climate, water properties, currents, tides, [and] waves" as a reference for the general public. After reading a short, concise description of water motions, students and educators can learn about Marine Climate, Regional Processes, Tides, and much more. Incorporating diagrams into the text, users will find this Web site very instructive and easy to follow. The site also provides Conversion Factors of measurement units used in the Web site for easy translations. [RME]

Imagine Mars [pdf, RealOne Player]

Produced by NASA, "the Imagine Mars Project is a national arts, sciences and technology education initiative that has harnessed America's fascination with space and led young people to work together with educators and civic leaders to design a Mars community for 100 people." After reading an overview of the Mars Project, educators and students can discover examples of the incredible activities they can undertake including launching a rocket and composing an opera. The site encourages kindergarten through twelfth grade participants to upload their own project onto the Web site for all to view. Users can also download the The Imagine Mars Web Cast with special hosts Bill Nye, The Science Guy, and Debbie Allen. Teachers may want to periodically visit this site because Resources for Educators and Project Leaders will soon be added. [RME]

Student Observation Network [pdf]

Developed by NASA, the Student Observation Network (SON) provides visitors "with the necessary tools to observe the dynamic connections between the Sun and the Earth." The four programs: Sunspotters, Radio Waves, Magnetosphere, and Auroral Friends are full of fun activities including building telescopes and constructing Magnetometers. Students are encouraged to submit their data to SON which then displays the averages on the Space Weather Alert System. Teachers will find instructive materials for kindergartners through twelfth graders in the downloadable book, Live From the Aurora Educator's Guide.[RME]

Tutorial on Reaction Dynamics

The University of Minnesota's on-line tutorial introduces many of the concepts and tools modern computational chemists utilize when researching the reaction dynamics of chemical systems. First, students can learn the fundamentals of reaction dynamics, which is the understanding of chemical reactions by examining the relationship between atoms and molecules. Through the use of diagrams, the site addresses the Transition State Theory including how to obtain the necessary information. Educators can also find the descriptions of various computer programs such as GAMESS, Gaussian98, and Polyrate. [RME]

The IrYdium Project [Java, pdf]

Developing educational software for introductory chemistry courses, Carnegie Mellon University's IrYdium Project's goal is "to create simulation-based learning environments where college and high school students can approach chemistry more like practicing scientists and see interesting real-world applications of key concepts." The site offers eight Special Topic Applets including the Combustion Engine Simulator and the Spectroscopic Simulator. Students can take part in the Virtual Chemistry Laboratory where instructors do not need to worry about chemical spills or other accidents. Educators can find Concept Tests that they can distribute to their students during lectures as well as other samples of curriculum. [RME]

Water on the Web: Lessons [Macromedia Flash Player, Java]

In order to explore fundamental science concepts, Water on the Web has created tutorials utilizing the aquatic environment and real lake data. The site provides two types of lessons covering the same concepts: the Studying lessons, which are guided; and the Investigating lessons, which involve problem solving. High school and college students will find hands-on activities dealing with basic science principles such as Conductivity and Thermal Stratification. The Web site also addresses the important concepts of data collection, management, analysis and presentation. Providing many images and small Java presentations, students will find this Web site both intriguing and educational. [RME]

The Expert System for Thermodynamics [Java]

All students struggling with the subject of thermodynamics should visit this site created by Professor Subrata Bhattacharjee at San Diego State University. After reading an overview of The Expert System for Thermodynamics' (TEST) merits, users can take the Feature Tour to discover all the concepts covered at the site such as Exergy Analyses, Open Processes, and Combustions in Closed Chambers. Students and educators can then view the Slide Show to receive a preface to the problem solving atmosphere. Lastly, visitors can work through the many challenging problems that utilize Daemons. [RME]

Soil Science Education Home Page

Developed by the staff at NASA, this extensive Web site educates visitors all about soil science basics. Students can study soil properties, field analyses techniques, horizon attributes, and much more by following the Soils Characterization Protocols link. Educators will find fun, instructive activities such as Soil Sizes - Some Surprises, Soils as Electrical Systems, and Soil Songs (Rock 'N Soil). In the Soil Gallery, users can learn how soil properties around the world vary by viewing soil profiles. When visiting the tutorial, How Much Soil is There?, visitors will acquire an appreciation for the earth's limited productive soil. [RME]


Lightning Hot Spots in Canada

Developed by the Meteorological Service of Canada, this Web site is devoted to lightning phenomena. Occurring 2.7 million times a year in Canada, visitors can find maps of Hot Spots and of current Lightning Activity over Canada. Educators and students can obtain lots of materials dealing with lightning properties, occurrences, and destructive capabilities. The site provides information on lightning activity differences among various geographic regions in Canada. Families can benefit from the high-quality and thorough, Lightning Safety Tips. [RME]

Mars Orbiter Camera Target Request Site

Do you have an idea for a picture of Mars? If so, visit this Web site by the Malin Space Science Systems. The site is seeking responsible, practical suggestions from the public and science community for high resolution images to be obtained by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). The only restriction is that your proposition must be for a location on Mars that has not been previously imaged by MOC. Visitors can also view incredible Images Acquired Through MGS MOC Public Target Request Program. [RME]

Expedition 8 Crew [pdf, wav]

With goals of maintaining the International Space Station and performing various experiments, the Expedition 8 Crew aboard the Russian Space Vehicle, Soyuz 7, launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on October 18, 2003 and docked at the Space Station October 20, 2003. The two are expected to reside at the station until April 29, 2004. At this site, visitors can read biographies of the commander Michael Foale and the flight engineer, Alexander Kaleri. Students will find information on astronaut training, their space food, and other fascinating facts. Visitors can also download the Expedition Press Kit, a one hundred eighteen page document outlining the mission goals, operations, and much more. [RME]

Light Pollution in Italy [pdf]

This Web site, produced by Pierantonia Cinzano at the University of Padova, addresses the many problems of light pollution and its possible solutions. Amateur astronomers can learn how to assist the International Dark-Sky Association in collecting measurements of the night sky's brightness. Everyone will enjoy the downloadable paper, The First World Atlas of the Artificial Night Sky Brightness, which displays astonishing satellite images of the lights in the night sky across the planet. Although a few links are in Italian, users will obtain valuable information on how manmade light sources are adversely affecting the environment. [RME]

IAPWS: The International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam [pdf]

An international non-profit organization, IAPWS is "concerned with the properties of water and steam, particularly thermophysical properties and other aspects of high-temperature steam, water and aqueous mixtures that are relevant to thermal power cycles and other industrial applications." Students can learn many basic facts about water and steam including the concepts of superheated and supercooled water. Scientists can discover what research experts feel is needed in particular fields and how to submit their own research papers. The site also advertises for the 14th ICPWS Conference on Water, Steam and Aqueous Solution for Electric Power - Advances in Science and Technology. [RME]

Color Brewer [Macromedia Flash Player]

Do you every find yourself having huge problems selecting the best colors for a map you are producing? Cynthia Brewer at Pennsylvania State University and Mark Harrower have created an insightful, interactive Web site to assist with these troubles. Using Macromedia Flash Player, visitors can find the perfect color scheme for their sequential, diverging, and qualitative maps. The site also provides advice on which colors work best for your purpose -- whether it is to accommodate color blindness, photo copy, print, or exhibit on a projector, a LCT display, or a CRT screen. [RME]

National Atomic Museum

This Web site features the United States' only congressionally chartered museum of nuclear science and history, the National Atomic Museum. Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the museum illustrates assorted applications of nuclear energy in today's society. Educators will find a guide to Exhibit Adventures such as the Forces of Flight and the Manhattan Project. The Historical Perspective section of the Web site provides visitors with concise portrayals of the history of atomic technology from the beginning of the atomic age through the Cold War and the Expansion Years. [RME]

Pompeii: Portents of Disaster

This BBC history news story by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill explores the disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, AD 79. Through the eye-witness account of the Roman administrator and poet, Pliny, the author articulately depicts the people's fears and the destruction caused by the volcanic activity. The author explores the Romans' scientific understanding and compares it with our current knowledge. Anyone interested in the history of geologic events will find this Web site very intriguing. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Melting Glaciers

1 What is a glacier
2 Naional Park Service: Glaciers [gif]
3 Seasons of Change: Evidence of Artic Warming Grows [mpg, QuickTime]
4 Taking Stock of a Defrosting Big Chill [mpg]
5 Kazakhstan's Glaciers Melting Fast
6 Excessive Heat Takes Toll on Swiss Alpine Glaciers
7 Melting Glaciers Threaten Peru
8 Modeled Climate-Induced Glacier Change in Glacier National Park, 1850-2100 [gif]

Due to the potential disastrous consequences to the environment and to numerous societies, scientists, governments, and civilians are concerned with the growing trend of glacial melt. This topic-in-depth explores various geographic regions where this phenomenon has recently been observed. Providing background into the study of glaciology, this report begins with a Web site (1) discussing the unique features of glaciers. The US Army Corps of Engineers offers visitors an insight to glacial properties including their locations, movements, and influences; along with a series educational images. The second site (2) explains the exceptionality of the two hundred sixty six glaciers at Glacier National Park. Through a collection of images, animations, and pictures provided by the National Park Service, users can learn about ice dams, climatic impacts, and the erosive powers of ice and water. The rest of the topic-in-depth discusses findings of glacial melting from around the world. NASA (3) addresses the Artic warming's affects on glacier formations. This Web site provides a few animations displaying ice sheet extent and the cracking of icebergs. On a positive note, visitors can learn how the decrease in glaciers has opened up new habitat for some Artic species. The next Web site (4), also by NASA, discusses the findings of a twenty-five year study of Patagonia's glaciers. Educators and students can discover how NASA utilized the Space Shuttle Endeavor to study the entire 17,200 square kilometer region. The site also discusses potential causes of the melting in this region, which has contributed to almost ten percent of the global sea-level change from mountain glaciers. As reported by the BBC (5), Dr. Harrison at the University of Oxford has determined that the glaciers in parts of Kazakhstan have been decreasing annually by almost two cubic kilometers between 1955 and 2000. Visitors can learn how the melting of these four hundred sixteen glaciers will adversely affect the region's rivers and its water supply. The Taipei Times (6) reports that the Swiss Alpine glacial melting has probably intensified due to this summer's record-breaking heat wave. This Web site provides short, intriguing descriptions of consequences of the "rush of melt water streaming from the ice wall." Users can learn about predictions in the 1990s that the glaciers would shrink to ten percent of their 1850 size by the end of the twenty first century. In the next Web site (7), the BBC provides a captivating illustration of the effects the Peruvian glacial melts may have on tourism, the country's water supply, and more. Students and educators can learn about NASA studies showing cracks in the ice, which could lead to the flooding of large cities. Visitors can also find out how the recent glacier recessions have affected some ancient spiritual traditions. The last site, by the USGS, (8) features excerpts from Myrna Hall and Daniel Fagre's 2003 research paper in BioScience. Visitors can discover the melt rate and spatial distributions of glaciers for two possible future climate situations. Providing an amazing animation, users will be amazed by the changes predicted by the model. [RME]

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