The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 2, Number 22

November 14, 2003

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

A Note to our Readers




Topic In Depth

A Note to our Readers

New Archive Features

The Internet Scout Project is pleased to announce new features available in the Scout Archives. These new capabilities attempt to tap into the collective expertise of Scout Report readers in order to benefit the entire Scout community. From the Full Record page for any Scout Archives entry, you can now rate the usefulness of the resource and provide comments about that resource for other readers. Also, after rating a few resources, you may now obtain recommendations on other resources (in a fashion similar to book recommendations on sites like Amazon.Com). To use these features, you will first need to register and log in (registration is brief and free). As always, if you discover any factual errors, bad URLs, or other problems, please let us know by sending a note to or via the feedback form on our website. Thanks and we hope you enjoy the new service. [JPM]


GCTE: Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystem [pdf, Microsoft PowerPoint]

A project of the Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, the International Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystem (GCTE) website addresses its research dealing with the effects atmospheric, climatic, and land use changes may have on terrestrial ecosystems and the potential feedbacks created by these effects. Students and educators can discover how GCTE's four Focus groups integrate biogeochemical cycles, agroecology, and biological diversity. Researchers can find out about the first Open Science Conference which will discuss global changes associated with land use and land cover changes and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. [RME]

Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory

This Web site depicts the work of the University of Oxford's Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory in the experimental and theoretical aspects of catalytic systems, bioinorganic, co-ordination, organometallic, structural, surface, and solid state chemistry. The site provides a brief summary of the early professors of the department including Oddling who formulated the periodic table, and two noble prize winners, Soddy and Hinshelwood. Students and educators can discover the exciting research endeavors taken on by the twenty academic staff and over one hundred postdoctoral workers, graduate students, Part II chemists, and other academic visitors. The site also describes the instrumentation used at the laboratory including NMR, CMX, and CI/FI spectrometers and various diffractometers. [RME]

Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry Lab [pdf]

This Web site discusses Boston University's Fourier Transform Mass Spectrometry (FTMS) Lab's devotion to the improvement of FTMS instrumentation and methods for its everyday biochemical functions. After discovering the importance of FTMS, visitors can find out about the lab's work in the enhancement of electrospray ion source and Cryogenic FTMS. Students can learn about the modern biochemistry's utilization of both traditional instrumentation such as gel electrophoresis and the latest devices including high performance chromatography, nuclear magnetic resonance, and X-ray crystallography. By downloading the Boston University Data Analysis (B.U.D.A.), researchers can participate in the development of analysis software for FTMS. [RME]

Institute for Physical Problems Research Group

The Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute for Physical Problems (IPP) explores aspects of low-dimensional magnets, non-linear dynamics of magnetically ordered crystals, and magnetic resonance. Researchers can learn how the ESR spectrometers utilized by the group permit flexibility in their experiments. Students and educators can discover the importance of quasi 1D magnet with ladder structure NaV2O5. The site also provides information about spin-Peierls matrices, Antiferromagnetic Stark-effects, and Spin-wave Turbulence. [RME]

Department of Geosciences Environmental Studies Laboratory

This Web site depicts the research efforts in environmental variability and change by the Environmental Studies Laboratory at the University of Arizona. Students and educators can learn about the group's current paleoenvironmental research throughout the world including Arctic System Variability, Atlantic Variability, and Northern African Climate Dynamics. Researchers can learn how to obtain copies of the lab's publications as well as the data associated with them. The Web site also exhibits the group's educational outreach programs for primary and secondary school students. [RME]

Quaternary Research Center

"The Quaternary Research Center (QRC) fosters interdisciplinary research on the last two million years of the global environment: a time which encompasses massive, abrupt changes of climate, sea level, global biota and ice extent, as well the evolution of humans and the advent of civilization." Divided into six laboratories, the University of Washington's Center studies Cosmogenic Isotopes, Stable Isotopes, Old Quaternary Isotopes, Periglacial environments, quaternary ecology, paleoecology, and remote sensing. Researchers can find a tremendous amount of isotope, carbon dioxide, and chemistry data on the Taylor Dome, a part of the East Antarctic ice sheet. Students and educators can read papers by the center covering topics such as interactions among climate, surface, and tectonics; and glaciations and climate variations in the Pacific Northwest. [RME]

GLAST: The Gamma Ray Large Area Space Telescope

A NASA mission expected to launch in 2006, the Gamma Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) is being developed to observe celestial gamma-ray sources in the 10MeV to over 100GeV energy band. After discovering its four key objectives, visitors can learn about GLAST's Precision Tracker Calorimeter, Data Acquisition System, and Anticoincidence Detector. Students and educators will find documentation on the Science Performance Requirements as well as information on the analysis of the simulation and reconstruction software. The site also contains over two hundred abstracts discussing GLAST. [RME]

Lindhurst Laboratory of Experimental Geophysics

This Web site illustrates the California Institute of Technology's Lindhurst Laboratory of Experimental Geophysics research in dynamic compressions of minerals. The site describes how seismologists became interested in the physical properties of minerals within the high pressure and high temperature environment of the Earth's interior. With a series of images and figures of the shock wave equipment and the schematic of the VISAR setup, students and educators can learn about their current research in shock loading and impact. The site also provides links to the staff's research where scientists can find out about studies in thermodynamical models of impact-induced vaporization, laser ablation-ionization, Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (TOFMS), and more. [RME]


Environment Canada's Wind Chill Program [pdf]

This Environment Canada Web site promotes the new and improved wind chill index. The site provides educational facts about wind chill including what it is and how it can affect people's health. Knowing the air temperature and wind speed, visitors can use the Wind Chill Calculator to determine the wind chill in their area. Students will also find scientific equations so they can compute wind chill factors on their own. The Wind Chill Hazards chart can help visitors determine what precautions they should take during the cold season. Students and educators can also download numerous educational materials such as the Wind Chill: The Chilling Facts poster and wallet-sized card. [RME]

Cosmic and Heliospheric Learning Center

The Cosmic and Heliospheric Learning Center was developed by NASA to increase the general public's interest in cosmic and heliospheric science. This expansive site discusses the basics of astrophysics including energetic particles and magnetic fields. Students can learn all about galactic and anomalous cosmic rays as well as solar winds and coronal holes. With the help of its handy astronomical glossary and the Ask Us section providing informative background information about physics and astronomy, students can easily understand the materials presented. The site also supplies users with a valuable History of Cosmic Rays Studies from before 1600 to now. [RME]

What Should We do About Global Warming? [pdf, QuickTime]

This Web site created by Beloit College provides a challenging module devoted to the Global Warming phenomenon. Visitors will first be exposed to a series of QuickTime animations illustrating the Effects of Climate Change. Then, through a series of Sessions, students can learn about the characteristics of greenhouse gases as well as how to interpret their concentrations in the atmosphere through time. Lastly, the users are asked to incorporate their new found knowledge to answer the questions: Is the Earth Warming? and What Should We do About Global Warming? [RME]

Color Theory [Java]

This Web site, developed by the Exploratories Project at Brown University, provides a series of applets to help users understand the various concepts in Color Theory. In the combined Color Mixing applet, undergraduate and high school students can discover how lights, paints, and filters interact. Users can learn about the properties of incoming light, frequency, and reflectance. The site also provides activities for metamers, Triple Cell Response, and much more. Anyone seeking help with color concepts will benefit from this educational, interactive Web site. [RME]

Chemistry Lab Guide

Dr. Cal Chany at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois has developed this Web site to accompany students' chemistry laboratory experiment books. Students can find information dealing with lab fundamentals including how to prepare for lab and how to write successful reports. Educators can find a list of basic lab safety precautions that should be followed by all their students. Visitors can read vital organic chemistry tips such as mistakes that can come from using wet glassware and what clothing materials react easily with chemicals. The site also provides links to study help and other chemical resources. [RME]

X-ray Anomalous Scattering

This University of Washington Web site "is intended to serve both as an introductory tutorial to anomalous scattering and as a general tool for designing experiments based on anomalous scattering." Visitors can find a periodic table and a chart supplying X-ray absorption edge data. Students needing assistance with the concept of anomalous scattering will find the tutorial explaining the interactions of incident photons having relatively high and low energy with scattering electrons very instructive. The site also supplies users with information about Friedel's Law and MAD experiments. [RME]

Soil pH and Fertilizers

This Web site by the Mississippi State University Extension Service discusses why fertilizers are added to soils. The Web site begins by introducing the concept of the pH of the soil and how nutrients are affected by this pH level. Students can then learn about the pH logarithmic scale and about the factors that affect soil pH. At the end of the site, users will find a clear and concise table concerning different fertilizer materials characteristics including their speed of reaction and effect on pH in soils. [RME]

Ice Ages [mpeg]

This online exhibit developed by the Illinois State Museum provides information about the most recent glaciation over a large part of the Earth. To gain an understanding of ice ages, students will find answers to the questions: What are Ice Ages?, When did Ice Ages Occur?, and Why do Ice Ages Occur?. The Web site's section on the Midwest U.S. 16,000 Years Ago Exhibit features amazing images, animations, and descriptions of the glacier movements, soil deposits, environments, and other landscape features. Visitors will also find extensive information about the plants and animals of the Pleistocene. [RME]


Mesons Violate Bell's Inequality

Peter Rodgers at Physics Web produced this Web news article describing the results of the first test of the Bell's inequality of quantum mechanics in a high-energy particle physics experiment. The Web site reports that when using B mesons the KEK laboratory in Japan found that the inequality was violated by three standard deviations. Students can learn about the basics of Bell's inequality and about the quantum mechanics prediction that non-local correlations can subsist among particles. Visitors can also find out about Apollo Go's speculation that their findings may have implications in the particle-antiparticle quantum number theory. [RME]

EPA Victoria: Air Quality Information

The EPA Victoria produced this expansive Web site to provide the public with information about air quality. The site offers valuable materials on pollutants such as carbon dioxide, particles, oxidants, and nitrogen oxides. Users can learn how air quality is monitored daily and during emergencies. The site supplies charts of current, daily, and weekly air quality summaries for various regions throughout Australia. To stay informed, Australian residents can subscribe to the Smog Alert Notification List. Visitors can also find out about the new Air Quality Forecasting System (AAGFS), designed to forecast air pollution for the subsequent day based on meteorological and emissions information. [RME]

Gamma Camera Eyed for Security, Medicine

This Web site describes the Compton Camera being developed at Argonne National Laboratory. Originally contrived for nuclear physics research, creators now believe the gamma ray camera can be utilized in many other fields including medical imaging, homeland security, and nuclear weapons verification. Visitors can learn how the proposed structure of the camera will allow it to determine the origin of gamma rays within two millimeters. The site also discusses the future possibilities of the camera including a zoom lens to scan up-close areas of possible contamination and an automated system to provide emergency responders with a map of the contaminated site. [RME]

Infrared Yellowstone Gallery [Macromedia Flash Player]

Linda Hermans-Killam, at NASA's Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) at the California Institute of Technology's, created this Web site featuring remarkable visible and infrared images of the geothermal features in Yellowstone National Park. Visitors can view Hot Springs, Geyser Runoff, Orange Spring Mound, and even a thermal infrared image of an elk. With short educational descriptions and links included under many of the images, students can learn how geysers, hot springs, and mudpots work. [RME]

ACS National Awards\index.html

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is now accepting nominations for fifty five national awards. The site explains the necessary nomination procedures and rules. Visitors can find a list of past recipients, including those receiving the 2004 awards, who will be honored at the Awards Ceremony in March 2004. At the site, users will also find links to other ACS awards and grants. Because the deadline for nominations is February 1, 2004, anyone who knows a chemical professional worthy of a renowned American Chemical Society Award should visit this site soon. [RME]

What Does the Edge of the Solar System Look Like? Ask Voyager [mpg, gif]

After twenty six years of travel, Voyager is setting a new record -- it will soon, if not already, pass through the bubble that surrounds our solar system. At this Web site, Rachel Weintraub at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center recaps the successes of the mission, which include providing the first views of volcanoes on Jupiter and close-ups of Saturn's rings. Users will find animations that represent the image scientists have of the theoretical boundary around our solar system. The Web site also addresses two science teams' different interpretations of the data being gathered, giving visitors a sense of the uncertainty scientists cope with when they create and modify theories. [RME]

Earth and Moon Viewer [gif, jpeg]

Developed by John Walker, the Earth and Moon Viewer supplies updated, interactive maps for the World. Visitors can observe the Earth's Cloud cover, topography, Water Vapor, land and sea temperatures, and more. These maps can simulate views of Earth from the Sun, Moon, and satellites in Earth's orbit. Visitors will also find maps presenting the day and night regions at the moment. Anyone looking for visual interpretations of the earth and its atmosphere should visit this fascinating Web site. [RME]

American Geophysical Union [pdf]

This Web site portrays AGU's role as a world wide scientific community devoted to the advancement of the "understanding of Earth and space for the benefit of humanity." Visitors can learn about AGU's numerous groups devoted to research in atmospheric and oceanic sciences, solid earth sciences, hydrology, and space science. Researchers will find information about upcoming meetings and how to submit abstracts. Everyone involved with publications may benefit from their ethical Guidelines to Publication of Geophysical Research. Interested visitors can also learn how to become a member of this longstanding nonprofit scientific organization. [RME]

Topic In Depth

The Discoveries of Marie Curie

1 Marie Curie and the Science of Radioactivity
2 Marie Curie - Biography
3 Marie Curie and the NBS Radium Standards
4 On a new, strongly radioactive substance, contained in pitchblende
5 Rays emitted by compounds of uranium and of thorium
6 Radium and Radioactivity
7 Polonium
8 Radium [Chime]

This topic-in-depth discusses the life and work of Marie Curie (1867-1934) who, with her astonishing contributions to physics and chemistry, was one of the first world-famous female scientists. The first Web site, (1) an exhibit by the American Institute of Physics, tells the story of her life -- from her childhood in the czarist Russian-controlled Poland to her winning of two Nobel prizes. The extensive exhibit is supplemented with articles by Marie Curie and educational materials on radioactivity. The next Web site (2), by the Nobel e-Museum, discusses Marie Curie's 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics. With this short biography, visitors can learn about her and Pierre Curie's discoveries in radium and polonium. The Web site also provides links to the Presentation speech and information on her 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In the third Web site (3), the National Institute of Standards and Technology explain how Marie Curie and many other scientists developed the International Standards and the U.S. National Standards for radium. Visitors can learn about the difficulties experienced in obtaining an accurate mass measurement for radium from the time of its discovery through today. The next three Web sites present articles and notes written by Marie Curie translated into English. In the first article (4), Marie Curie, Pierre Curie and G. Bmont announce their discoveries of radium. The Web site, provided by Le Moyne College, offers a simple, yet well-detailed, account of the scientific process that led to the researchers' success. In the next Web site, (5 ) also by Le Moyne College, Marie Curie reports on her studies of the conductance of air under the influence of the uranium rays. Users can learn about her findings of the secondary rays emitted by uranium, pitchblende, and thorium oxide's under the action of Rntgen ray. The Web site (6) created by the Physics Department at UCLA, provides an article by Marie Curie published in the Century Magazine in January 1904 addressing her knowledge of radium and radioactivity. Visitors can discover the experimental processes she undertook to deal with radiation. The Web site also offers additional information for points in her discussion that have since been clarified. The last two sites discuss the chemical properties of the elements Marie Curie discovered. The Web site (7) by the Faculty of Chemical Technology is devoted to Polonium. Teachers and students can find information on its Minerals and Uses, Isotopes, Thermal Properties, and Ionization Energies and Abundances. The Web site (8) by the University of Sheffield offers an abundance of information on Radium. With its many tables and figures, students and educators can find data on its Isotopes, Temperatures, Solid State Structure, and much more. [RME]

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