The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 2, Number 24

December 12, 2003

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




Topic In Depth


Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre [pdf, gif]

This website features the Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre (BMRC)'s investigations dealing with model development, data assimilation, model evaluation, and weather, climate, marine, and ocean forecasting. The Web site provides some of the center's experimental results such as El Nino predictions and a simulation of Total Ozone Algorithms (TOV) Radiances. The Annual Report provides users with summaries of the research activities of the six groups such as the integration of radiance data into assimilation systems with 3D and 4D-Var strategies and the Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA). Outgoing Longwave Radiation global maps and other climate charts are also available at the Web site. Researchers can read abstracts for the BMRC seminars held in 2003 as well as links to the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS) conferences in 2004. Anyone interested in meteorology will want to visit this expansive Web site. [RME]

Global Change Research

At this website, visitors can learn about the nine year research project that the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the University of Montana are conducting at Glacier National Park to determine how the mountain wilderness has responded to climatic variability and other external stressors. Visitors can learn how, based on their climate variability models, future climate scenarios will affect various watersheds in the area. Users can learn about the Brewer spectrophotometer, which collects UV-B radiation data to determine the possible patterns associated with the thinning of the ozone layers. The Web site also discusses how glaciers have already changed due to current warming conditions and how this affects the system as a whole. By visiting Grinnell Glacier Photo Gallery, everyone can observe how the glaciers have receded in the last one hundred years. [RME]

BMRB: BioMagResBank [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player, tar]

This Web site features BioMagResBank (BMRB); the free public access depository for NMR results from peptides, proteins, and nucleic acids. Biochemists can find a collection of computer software applications used for biomolecular NMR such as Aqua and NMRView, as well as a Library of NMR Software. The website provides NMR data file conversion tools including the STAR conversion handling tool, which converts chemical shift data to NMR-STAR or coma-separated values (CSV) format. Researchers can also learn how to submit their chemical shift data to BMRB to help them reach their goal of becoming "the collection site for structural NMR data in proteins and nucleic acids". [RME]

AZMET Weather Data [ASCII, pdf]

The Arizona Metrological Network (AZMET) provides air and soil temperature, humidity, solar radiation, speed and wind direction, and precipitation data from 1987 to the present. The website provides the latitude, longitude, and elevation and a map of data collection sites. Researchers can find hourly and daily raw data as well as summaries of weekly, monthly, and yearly data. Although developed for agricultural and horticultural interests, anyone interested in meteorological data for Arizona will find this Web site valuable. [RME]

High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program [QuickTime, jpeg]

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program's (HAARP) website describes its purpose to provide "a research facility to conduct pioneering experiments in ionospheric phenomena". Visitors can learn about the many scientific instruments HAARP has for observing the earth's geophysical and electromagnetic fields such as the Imaging Riometer and the Induction Magnetometer. Researchers can view charts representing the data collected by these instruments as well as learn about the HAARP's goal to foster cooperative research among universities, the private sector, and the U.S. government. Users can take virtual tours of the Antenna Array, Control Room, and other HAARP facilities. Students and educators can learn why ionospheric research is important for communication and navigation purposes. [RME]

Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy

At this website, the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy discusses its contributions "to the knowledge of the atmospherical environment from the Earth to the Sun." Created for all levels of expertise, this Web site is broken down into two main sections: a Public link and a Science link. Through the Science section, researchers can learn about the Institute's abundant projects dealing with the atmosphere, space physics, solar radiation measurements, and more. The Web site presents the instrumentation design and development that are utilized on the ground and by their space and airborne instruments. Visiting the large public domain link, students and educators can learn the all about the scientific field of aeronomy and the Institute's contributions through the descriptive diagrams and images. [RME]

Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics [pdf, postscript]

This expansive Web site features the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics' research dealing primarily with geometric analysis and gravitation, astrophysical relativity, quantum gravity and unified theories, and laser interferometry and gravitational wave astronomy. After learning about the Institute's origins in 1995, researchers can find out about the institute's intense efforts and hardships in developing a consistent theory of quantum gravity as well as its investigation in gravitational radiation and causal structures. The site provides visitors with downloads to many published articles as well as links to two free access electronic review journals: Living Reviews in Relativity and Living Reviews in Solar Physics. While some content is not in English, all visitors can find valuable information about research in gravitational physics. [RME]

Helium droplet club [jpeg]

The Helium Droplet Club (HDC), a collaboration among three laboratories in the Physics and Chemistry Departments at the University of Southern California, is one of the largest centers conducting research of clusters consisting of 10,000 to 1,000,000 helium atoms. Researchers can find out about the recording of a mass depletion for NO2 embedded in superfluid helium nanodroplets. The site also features research in the polarizabilities of sodium clusters and the photoelectron yield of three to five nanometer alkali-metal particles in a beam. Students and educators can find educational diagrams and descriptions about mass depletion spectroscopy in helium droplets and about the helium droplet machine. [RME]


The Rock Cycle [Macromedia Flash Player]

Teachers, are you looking for new activities to excite your students about the evolution of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks? This website, developed by the non-profit organization Math/Science Nucleus, provides numerous hands-on activities for each grade from kindergarten through sixth. The chemistry section deals with the mystery of why and how minerals and rocks are formed. The minerals segment provides students with an appreciation of the basic building blocks of rocks as well as their importance in the rock cycle. In the Rocks section, students learn how to identify the different types of rocks and how they are formed. The last section, Past Lives, presents information on dinosaurs, past environments, and the concept of evolution. The site is also equipped with a dictionary giving students an easy reference. [RME]

A Dictionary of Quaternary Acronyms and Abbreviations

The palynologist, Alwynne B. Beaudoin, created this website to provide visitors with explanations of acronyms commonly encountered in Quaternary studies. Through this extensive site, students and educators can find common acronyms for quaternary-related societies, research centers, and government agencies, such as the USGS and LBA, along with links to many of their sites. The online dictionary features widely used terms in earth science such as VEMAP and LBV. If you are involved in any of the quaternary disciplines and feel overwhelmed by the use of acronyms, as the author had, you will find this resource very helpful. [RME]

Wind With Miller

This fun, interactive website, created by the Danish Wind Industry Association, educates students about wind power. Visitors can learn how a turbine generates electricity. Through a series of animated links or by taking a tour up the tower, users can learn how all the parts of a turbine function. With the help of a series of simulations, Miller teaches students how the wind blows. The site also features many activities designed to educate students about wind speed, electricity, generators, and more. Developed primarily for students around the ages of twelve to fourteen, teachers can learn how to take advantage of this large site by visiting the Teacher's Guide. [RME]

Coupling Gas Chromatography to Mass Spectrometry [Macromedia Flash Player, QuickTime, gifF, RealOne Player]

The Web site, created by Dr. Thomas G. Chasteen at Sam Houston State University, features an abundance of animations and audio narrations about the subjects of electrophoresis, spectroscopy, chromatography, chemiluminescence, and more. Students can learn about many of the gas chromatographic detectors such as the thermal conductivity detector (TCD), the electron capture detector (ECD), and the flame photometric detector (FPD). At the end of the site, a movie illustrates the steps for the process of a single analyte, ionization and fragmentation of the analyte, mass separation of the charged fragments, the passage of these fragments into the detector, and the detection of the charged ions. Visitors can also find a series of questions to test their knowledge. With its many links to information about gas chromatography-related concepts, chemistry students and educators will find this expansive site very helpful. [RME]

Deepsky Atlas: Constellation List [jpeg]

At this Web site, the Hawaiian Astronomical Society provides users with educational information for over seventy constellations. First, visitors can read the amusing myths associated with each constellation. Following, students will find interactive, wide view and binocular width maps depicting the locations of the constellations, stars and deep sky objects. Everyone can enjoy the many remarkable images of the Deep Sky including globular clusters, Flaming Star Nebula, and elliptical galaxies. [RME]

UM-StL 1D Acceleration Solver [Java, pdf]

Produced by the University of Missouri - St. Louis, this website is an educational "resource for solving low and high speed constant acceleration problems." Physics students can find quantitative tools to handle time dilation, relativist acceleration, and curved space-time. Containing networks of numerous concepts dealing with physics, chemistry, and math, the site helps students understand how various concepts fit together. Within this large site, students can find information about SpaceTime theory, Map-based relativity, Lorentz Transforms, and much more. [RME]

All about Chemical Bonding

Stephen Lower, a retired professor at Simon Fraser University, created this expansive and instructive website as a supplement to formal chemistry education for undergraduate students. Visitors will find in-depth descriptions along with several diagrams dealing with chemical bonding issues including their properties, shared-electron covalent bonds, hybrid orbitals, coordination complexes, and metals and semiconductors. General chemistry students looking for assistance should visit this well-developed educational site. [RME]

The Weather Classroom for Students

Students interested in studying meteorology should visit this website created by the Weather Station. The Interactive Weather Forecast allows visitors to create their own forecast. The extensive meteorological encyclopedia and glossary educates students in the concepts related to the field including thunderstorms, floods, and heat waves. The Web site also discusses how tornadoes and hurricanes are tracked. Students can find links to various meteorological universities and colleges in the United States and Canada. Those interested can read suggestions on how to pursue a career in meteorology from the professionals. [RME]


The University of Michigan Health Physics Society

The Student Chapter of the Health Physics Society at the University of Michigan's website provides visitors with an abundance of information and links related primarily to radiation, nuclear physics, and medical physics. Students can find internship, fellowship, and other funding possibilities. Visitors can learn about the basic radiation concepts such as RAD (radiation absorbed dose), sievert, and radioactive contamination. Users will also find materials on various topics such as food irradiation and radioactivity in nature. The Web site provides a large amount of links to government agencies, societies, and educational Web sites for visitors who would like more information on diverse issues of radiation. [RME]

Project Astro Utah [Microsoft Excel, pdf]

This website features the Utah division of Project Astro, a national program establishing partnerships between fourth through ninth grade teachers and students with professional and amateur astronomers. After learning how the group is enhancing astronomical education, visitors can discover the fun activities created by the participants of Project ASTRO-Utah such as making models of the Earth and the Moon and calculating scale model Solar Systems. Everyone will want to read the numerous, fascinating articles discussing constellations, archaeoastronomy, seasonal markers, and Native American sky lore written by Von Del, the founder of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association and the International Planetarium Society. [RME]

Japan Spy Satellite Launch Ends in Failure

On November 29, 2003 Japan launched a rocket carrying two spy satellites but had to destroy it shortly after take off due to part of a booster rocket not separating as expected. Visiting this MSNBC news site, users can learn how the spy satellites were developed to assist in the monitoring of North Korea's alleged nuclear weapons program. Visitors can discover how this failure may affect the future of Japan's space program and how it may affect relations in the region. The site also discusses Japan's recent space program history including past satellite launches. [RME]

National Air and Space Museum: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center [pdf]

This Smithsonian website promotes the building of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy center "for the display and preservation of its collection of historic aviation and space artifacts." Visitors will find images, diagrams, and descriptions of many of the over 200 aircraft and 135 spacecraft that will be on display at the center such as the Boeing B-17D Swoose, Spacelab Module, and Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise. Visitors can learn about the latest developments at the center, scheduled to open on December 15. The site also provides answers to all your basic questions about the center's budgets, reasons for the necessity of the center, and its location. [RME]

Old Japanese documents confirm warnings of future North American earthquakes

This USGS website discusses evidence that an earthquake of magnitude 9 struck the northwestern United State and southwestern Canada in 1700. Visitors can learn how scientists determined this earthquake from Japanese writings of a tsunami occurrence on the Pacific coast of Japan. The site addresses the destruction that could occur if this magnitude earthquake again hit the region. To obtain a feel for the power of the earthquake and the tsunami created by it, visitors can view the animation depicting hourly images of the simulated tsunami progressing across the Pacific Ocean for a day. [RME]

International Association of Sedimentologists

"The International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS) was founded in 1952 with the goal to promote the study of sedimentology and the interchange of research, particularly where international cooperation is desirable." The website provides visitors with the association's monthly newsletter, which discusses conferences, recent studies, workshops, and more. Students and educators can learn about and view the beautiful sedimentological exposures in Arizona and Utah. PhD students can find information about grants to help them with their fieldwork, data acquisition, and analysis. Interested users can learn about membership benefits and apply online. [RME]

British Society of Scientific Glassblowers

In this website, the British Society of Scientific Glassblowers (BSSG) describes its work to organize meetings, present papers, and encourage the enhancement of knowledge about glass and the related equipment. Visitors can read council reports, learn the rules of the society, and find out how to become certified in the science of glassblowing. The site features past and future symposiums held at one of the Society Sections, which includes various places in the United Kingdom as well as overseas. Prospective members can learn about many membership benefits including access to the largest scientific glass library in the World. [RME]

Chasing Storms [mpg]

John Monteverdi created this website to educate and entertain visitors in the science of storm chasing. Online storm journals for Spring Storm Chases from 1994 to the present take visitors through the life of a storm chaser. Throughout his discussions, the author provides weather charts and satellite images to assist visitors with the weather-related concepts. The site contains countless pictures of tornadoes and the destruction they leave behind. Although some of the amazing images take a few minutes to download, visitors will find that it is worth the wait. [RME]

Topic In Depth

The Coriolis Force

1 Getting around the Coriolis Force
2 Coriolis Force
3 Understanding the Coriolis Force
4 The Coriolis Force [pdf]
5 Bad Coriolis
6 Coriolis Force and Noninertial Effects [QuickTime, gif]
7 The Coriolis Effect of Wind
8 The Coriolis Effect

Everyone has probably heard about the fallacy that toilets flush clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. Although the way toilets flush is due to the plumbing and the fixture's physical characteristics, the Coriolis Force does have this effect on weather systems, air planes and other airborne entities. This topic in depth explores the issue of the Coriolis Force and provides visitors with a range of educational websites.

The first Web site, (1) by David J. Van Domelen from the Physics Education Research Group at The Ohio State University, discusses the Coriolis Force for users who have some background in physics but who may not have a strong understanding of angular momentum. This straightforward, educational site addresses directional motion and low pressure systems as well as issues dealing with water draining from a sink or bathtub. In the second Web site (2), Eric Weisstein's World of Physics describes Coriolis Force in terms of physical equations. Visitors can find definitions for many of the concepts related to the force including angular momentum, acceleration, and torque. USA Today explains Coriolis Force to the general public in the next website (3). Visitors can find information about the interactions between pressure-gradient forces and Coriolis. The site also addresses the issue of hurricane patterns. The fourth site (4), created by the University of Washington's Department of Atmospheric Sciences, discusses the fundamentals of Coriolis Forces, centrifugal force, and air motion as well as how they are affected by friction. Through a series of diagrams, students can learn how Coriolis is influenced by latitude and the speed of an object. Alistair B. Fraser, a professor at the Pennsylvania State University, (5) carefully discusses the issue of Coriolis Force as well as many common misconceptions about the concept. Teachers and students can find clear and concise answers to many of their questions by visiting the Bad Coriolis FAQ link. David H. McIntyre from the Department of Physics at Oregon State University provides a series of animations depicting the Coriolis Force from a noninertial frame in the sixth site (6). With illustrations of curvilinear correction and centrifugal deflection, students needing help visualizing the concept will find this site very helpful. The last two websites provide hands-on activities for students. The NASA Sci Files provides an experiment (7) to teach students how the Earth's rotation affects wind. With the help of a few common materials, students can visualize how coriolis forces influence ocean currents.
The last website (8), developed by Project Atmosphere Australia Online, provides an activity to help students understand why the wind does not blow from the north in the Northern Hemisphere and south in the Southern Hemisphere. With the use of a paper plate, marker, and a record player; teachers will find the experiment both educational and simple to initiate in the classroom. [RME]

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