The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 2, Number 23

November 26, 2003

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




Topic In Depth


Nuclear Physics Group [pdf]

This website features the Nuclear Physics Group at the University of Birmingham's research related to understanding nuclei properties by studying the behavior of their constituents. Visitors can learn about the investigations undertaken by the five subgroups: Relativistic Heavy Ion Collisions, Exotic beams studies, Laser Spectroscopy of Unstable Isotopes, Positron Emission Tomography, and Nuclear Power Energy. Students and educators can discover how under high temperature and density a quark is expected to convert into a plasma phase. The website also features links to the Positron Imaging Center where visitors can learn all about the positron cameras and the physics of Positron Emission Particle Tracking. [RME]

Environmental Hydrology and Fluvial Geomorphology [pdf]

The University of Sheffield's Environmental Hydrology and Fluvial Geomorphology research website discusses the group's work in hydrology, hydrochemistry, fluvial geomorphology, remote sensing, and GIS. The webite features broad descriptions of the work in each area as well as links to the individual researchers' inquiries. Students and educators can learn about modeling diffuse pollution, monitoring and modeling soil erosion in semi-arid and temperate areas, monitoring inundation on ephemeral lakes by means of remote sensing, and much more. Researchers will also find lists of the hundreds of publications produced by the group, including a few that can be downloaded. [RME]

Materials Chemistry at SFU

The Materials Science group at Simon Fraser University (SFU) developed this website to address the group's primary research interests in material synthesis, molecular, electronics, and photonics. Visitors will find explanations covering sixteen research topics including chemical sensors, lithography, non-linear optics, and supramolecular chemistry. Under each topic heading, users will find links discussing the faculties' current goals, recent publications, and patents. The site also features links to the Pacific Centre for Advanced Materials and Microstructures; a collaborative effort between the Materials Science group at SFU and the physics and chemistry departments at the University of British Columbia. Anyone searching for the latest investigations in materials chemistry will find this website very informative. [RME]

Warwick Electrochemistry and Interfaces

This website discusses the Warwick Electrochemistry and Interfaces' research dealing with "the application of electrochemistry to the understanding of fundamental and practically important interfacial chemical processes at the micro to nanoscale." Researchers can learn about the group's developments and enhancements of the electromagnetic techniques: Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy (SECM), Combined SECM-atomic Force Microscopy (SECM-AFM), Single Walled Carbon Nanotube Conducting AFM Probes, and more. The website is also equipped with many images and figures to assist students with the complex subject matter in topics such as Confocal microscopy and Nanotubes. [RME]

LASSP: The Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics [pdf, gif, Windows Media Player]

The Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics (LASSP) at Cornell University is a center for research in condensed matter physics. Scientists can read about the work of the thirty faculty members in topics such as theoretical condensed matter physics, low temperature physics, experimental liquid physics, and experimental soft-condensed matter and biological physics. With a number of images and animations at the website, students can learn about diffraction patterns of an icosahedral quasicrystal, Coarsening, and Spiral Defect Turbulence. Physicists can find employment opportunities at LASSP as well as information on upcoming seminars, conferences, and meetings. [RME]

Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study [dat]

The Bermuda Atlantic Time-series study (BATS) was initiated to collect oceanographic data over significantly long time periods. At this website, researchers will find BATS and hydrostation data dealing with hydrographic, chemical, and biological parameters throughout the water column for sites in the Sargasso Sea. Visitors can learn about the first BATS station, Hydrostation S, which was initiated in 1954 by Dr. Henry M. Stommel and has been visited biweekly almost continuously ever since. The website also features numerous questions that the group has proposed dealing with the ocean's physical, geochemical, and biological realms. [RME]

Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

A participant in the U.S. space program since the 1950s, the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado conducts research in atmospheric and planetary sciences, develops space instrumentation, and creates computer information systems. Through the extensive Tour, visitors can learn about LASP's assistance in unmanned robot spacecraft missions and its involvement in the International Solar Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) program. Students can read about experiments designed to discover why polar mesospheric clouds form and to understand the physics of low energy collisions in space. Researchers can find datasets collected by many of the LASP Programs such as Mariner 9 and Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite. [RME]


Chemistry Tutorials [Macromedia Flash Player, Windows Media Player]

The California State University Stanislaus developed these interactive chemistry Web tutorials to assist college students in mass spectrometry, proton NMR chemical shifts, and more. With the many animations and figures, visitors will find assistance with the subtraction and absorption of light and with infrared absorption frequencies for numerous compounds. The titration tutorials simulate laboratory experiments without the hazards of dealing with chemicals. Students will also find a very informative lesson describing how to use Excel to record and analyze their chemistry data. [RME]

The Periodic Table of Elements [Java]

This website developed by the Faculty of Chemical Technology in Croatia provides an interactive Periodic Table of Elements. Students and educators can find information dealing with each element's discovery history, thermal properties, ionization energy, minerals and use, isotopes, and reduction potentials. Besides the standard periodic table, this easily navigable website features an online remote control where visitors can quickly obtain information about the chemical either by name or symbol and definitions to chemical terms. [RME]

The Atoms Family [Java, gif]

The Miami Museum of Science developed this creative website to provide educational activities dealing with energy. Fourth through eighth graders will enjoy visiting the Mummy's Tomb where they will learn about kinetic and potential energy and energy conservation while Building a Better Tomb and a raceway. At the Phantom's Portrait Parlor, sixth through twelfth graders can learn about the Phases of Matter, Spectroscopes of Atoms, and the construction of molecules. Teachers looking to supplement their lessons with fun educational activities will find this website very beneficial. [RME]

All about glaciers

The National Snow and Ice Data Center created this website to educate everyone, from grade school students to glaciologists, about glaciers. At the Data and Science link, researchers can learn about glaciological organizations, publications, and research projects as well as how to obtain glacial data. Students and educators can find a glaciology glossary, answers to many of their questions, and amazing images of glaciers at the General Information link. The website also provides a detailed portrayal of the life of glaciers. [RME]

Basics of Space Flight [Java]

This online training module created by Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) discusses the concepts related to deep space missions. Through a series of animations and quizzes within the eighteen chapters, visitors can learn about the solar system's environment, flight project details, and flight operations. The website is equipped with an astronomical glossary and a Units of Measure page. Although originally developed for JPL operations people, students and educators interested in interplanetary space flight will find this website very informative. [RME]

Lava Layering

The Planetary Geology Group at Arizona State University developed this online activity to teach elementary and middle school students "the stratigraphy (layers) of lava flows produced by multiple eruptions" on the moon. The first part of the website provides teachers with background information about the layers of basaltic lava flows that cover about sixteen percent of the Moon as well as how to prepare for the activity and what to expect. Visitors can use the second part of the website as an instruction sheet for the students. The website describes how users can examine the patterns of lava flows on the moon with the help of four simple ingredients: baking soda, vinegar, food coloring, and paper cups. The questions provided at the end will help students understand the process that is taking place in their experiments. [RME]

Super-Kamiokande at UC Irvine

Designed for users who do not have a strong background in physics, this educational website, produced by the University of California - Irvine, explains all about neutrinos. Students can learn how the Super-Kamiokande detector, located one kilometer underground, is able to act as a target for neutrinos and as a sensing device for the by-products of neutrino interactions. Visitors can find out how neutrino studies are contributing to the fields of particle physics, cosmology, and experimental neutrino physics. The website also provides links to a glossary for most of the physical terms discussed within the website. [RME]


CAIB Report: Columbia Accident Investigation Board [pdf, QuickTime]

The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster took place on February 1, 2003. For the next seven months, a group of scientists have been compiling evidence to determine what went wrong and how to prevent future accidents. At this NASA website, visitors can read the findings of this extensive report. Within the report interface, users can view six short movies illustrating the launch, the foam striking the Space Shuttle, Columbia's reentry, and the impact testing of the RCC panel. The site also has links to media coverage, released records, and the mission overview. [RME]

British Geomorphological Research Group [pdf]

The British Geomorphology Research Group (BGRG) developed this website addressing its "aim to provide a community and services for all those involved in teaching or research in geomorphology." Visitors will find geomorphological news as well as information and links for upcoming international conferences and seminars. Educators can find assistance in promoting geomorphology in schools. The website provides downloads of recent newsletters, which discuss various geomorphological meetings and studies. Interested users can also find out how to become a member. [RME]

Australian Weather Watch Radar Home Page

The Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology's Weather Watch Radar website provides up-to-date radar images of the locations of rain in Australia in relation to local features such as coast lines. The newly developed Loops provide four consecutive radar images so that users can view how the weather has been changing in the last forty to fifty minutes. The website provides radar images of past cyclone events as well as updates on severe weather throughout Australia. Those interested in radar systems can discover how the weather radars work and how to interpret the maps. [RME]

The Discovery of Global Warming [zip]

This extensive website provides "a hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to change the Earth's climate." Students and researchers can learn about climate trends -- both modern and past cycles -- the various factors and chemicals influencing the climate, and much more. Visitors will find a concise timeline describing the major discoveries throughout the years. The website is supplemented with various links where interested users can find more information. Those who would like a copy of the website can download the file onto their hard drive. [RME]

The Canadian Society for Chemistry [pdf]

"The Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC) is the national technical association representing the field of chemistry and the interests of chemists in industry, academia and government." The website contains recent media releases about chemistry activities and news updates in Canada. Primary and secondary school educators can find chemical experiments and trivia questions for their students. Researchers can learn about the 87th Conference of the Canadian Society for Chemistry being held May 29 through June 1, 2004. At the website, interested chemists can find membership information. [RME]

Solar Storm Hits Earth in Repeat of October

This CNN website features a news story about the most recent solar hurricanes that have hit Earth. Visitors can learn about the storm's potential to again damage electricity grids, confuse satellites, and disturb GPS readings. The website features amazing aurora borealis images created by a similar solar storm last month and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory's (SOHO) images of the coronal mass ejection (a stream of superheated gas from the sun), which created the storms. Users can also find links to news stories about previous solar storms. [RME]

APS: The American Physical Society [pdf]

This expansive website features the American Physical Society's (APS) work in advancing and diffusing the knowledge of physics. Visitors will find the latest APS news and releases such as the Report of the APS Study Group on Boost-Phase Intercept Systems for National Missile Defense. Teachers can learn about the APS's work in improving science education. The website features many programs and activities of the APS's outreach Committee on Minorities in Physics (COM). Students can find information on how to prepare for a career in physics from middle school through graduate work. With so much to offer, anyone interested in physics should visit this website. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Dynamic Equilibrium, Self-Organizing Systems, and Chaos Theory

1 Dynamic Equilibrium
2 What Does Dynamic Equilibrium Mean?
3 Nonlinear Dynamics Experiment
4 Self-Organized Complexity in Physical, Biological, and Social Sciences
5 Deterministic Chaos: A Signature of Quantumlike Mechanics in Self-Organized Adaptive Network
6 Institute for Nonlinear Science

It is commonly thought that the behavior of physical systems is controlled by deterministic laws, yet physical processes appear to be unpredictable. This Topic in Depth discusses how the concepts of self-regulating systems, dynamic equilibrium, and chaos theory help to rectify this conundrum. The first website ({1--}), developed by John L. Park at Chem Team, addresses dynamic equilibrium as it applies to chemical systems. High school students will find two equilibrium examples illustrating how, by means of forward and reverse reactions, the system becomes constant. In the next website (2), the MadSci Network discusses the issue of dynamic equilibrium in terms of the components of earth systems. Visitors can learn how the carbon dioxide cycle in the atmosphere has been disrupted by humans and how the system copes with this change. The Chaos Group at the University of Maryland developed the third website 3) to promote its research in chaotic dynamics. Visitors can learn about the group's work in Pattern Formation and Granular Dynamics, magnetic and fluid dynamics, and more. The next website (4) is an online article
by Donald Turcotte and John Rundle discussing the difficulty in addressing self-organizing complexity. This website, made available by PubMed Central, provides examples of complexities in systems such as drainage networks and global climate. Visitors can also learn about deterministic and stochastic components in systems. A. Mary Selvam at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology teaches users about the relationship atmospheric flows have with quantumlike mechanics and determinist chaos in the fifth website (5). In this online scientific article, visitors can learn how the author's conclusions may be applicable to the design of artificial intelligence systems. The last website (6) discusses the research efforts of Mercer University Physics Department concerning nonlinear phenomena that are the fundamentals of chaos and complexity. This extensive website provides visitors with explanations of the group's research efforts in neurodynamics, granular physics, and mind body dynamics. Students can also find out about the history of the synchronization of chaos. [RME]

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