The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 2

January 23, 2004

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

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VDADC: Virtual Domain Application Data Center [Java]

This website features the Virtual Domain Application Data Center (VDADC); a proposed online database that would provide earth science and remote sensing professionals access to environmental data sets and necessary internet tools. Researchers can learn how VDADC can supplement data centers by holding small, but valuable, data sets for specific groups. The interactive prototype available at this website demonstrates access to remote sensing and other global change data as well as the usage of visualization and analysis tools. The example includes information on El Nino, monsoon phenomenon, and land and ocean studies. Scientists looking for an easier way to search through available data sets will find this project, created by the Center for Earth Observing and Space Research (CEOSR) at George Mason University, very valuable. [RME]

ICE Sat: The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite [pdf]

"ICESat (Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite) is the benchmark Earth Observing System mission for measuring ice sheet mass balance, cloud and aerosol heights, as well as land topography and vegetation characteristics." Visitors can learn how the data being collected can assist in answering many climatic questions including the impacts ice sheets can have on sea level and the affects of polar clouds and haze on climate. The website discusses ICESat's Spacecraft and GLAS instrument, which is the first lidar apparatus created for continuous global observations of the Earth. Teachers and students will find many links to educational resource materials. Through the website, users can also submit their questions to the ICESat science team.

Alaska Climate Research Center -- Contrails: improved forecasting technique [pdf]

Improved Contrail Forecasting Techniques is an Alaska Climate Research Center project investigating and forecasting aircraft contrail formations in Fairbanks, Alaska. By downloading the online comprehensive report, students and researchers can learn about the project's methods, findings, algorithms, and future work. Visitors will find graphs of temperatures and derived contrail layers from soundings at thirteen locals within this sub-artic region. The site also features thirty three-hour forecast loops and altitude animations of the contrail layers overhead the region. [RME]

Canadian Institute for Climate Studies [Microsoft PowerPoint]

The Canadian Institute for Climate Studies, created by the Meteorological Service of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, investigates the variability and potential change of climate systems and applies this knowledge to decision making in the public and private sectors. This expansive website illustrates the research pursuits of the four divisions: Climate Scenarios, Climate Applications, Management of Climate Related Research, and Outreach and Education Initiatives. Researchers can discover the Climate Research Network's efforts to develop computer models of climate systems that incorporate landscape effects and the role of clouds, aerosols, and radiation. Interested visitors can also learn about membership options and how to obtain Canadian climate data. [RME]

Rice University: Colvin Group [pdf]

The Colvin Group at Rice University deals with the control and understanding of material properties on nanometer length scales. Some members of the group work to "develop new chemical approaches to forming uniform nanocrystals, and highly ordered porous solids" while "others focus on using these materials as tools for answering fundamental questions about nature, such as the characteristic length scales in glasses and liquids." Researchers can learn about the numerous projects undertaken by the group including understanding the superprism phenomena, the preparation of perfect nanocrystals of metal oxides, and the synthesis of quartz particles in the sub-micron to nanoscale size regime. Students and educators can find helpful tutorials describing the nanoscience field of study. The website also provides many of the group's published papers. [RME]

The University of Warwick: Superconductivity & Magnetism Group [pdf]

This website presents the Superconductivity and Magnetism Group's three main research pursuits: single crystal growth and sample preparation; measurements of magnetic, thermodynamic, and transport properties; and neutron scattering studies. Students and educators can learn about the history of superconductivity, while researchers will find detailed descriptions of Warwick University's facilities -- which include infrared image furnaces, a radio frequency generator, a multi-angle position sensitive spectrometer, and a Quantum Design Physical Properties Measurement System. The site also provides downloads of many of the group's publications. [RME]

OCMS: Oxford Centre for Molecular Sciences [QuickTime]

Located at the University of Oxford, the Oxford Centre for Molecular Sciences (OCMS) involves scientists from many different disciplines who share an interest in the structure and function of proteins. Researchers can learn about OCMS's current research dealing with macromolecular complexes and chemistry. The website features the individual research interests and related publications for twenty key scientists. Students and professionals can learn about the abundance of facilities and expertise available to OCMS personnel including the Crystallisation Laboratory, the imaging plate detectors, and electron microscopes. This extensive website also provides links to the many departments at Oxford involved with OCMS. [RME]

University of Arizona: Center for Mineral Resources [jpeg, Macromedia Flash Player]

The Center for Mineral Resources, an economic geology program at the University of Arizona, explores the basin and range geology of southern Arizona. Scientists can learn about the many projects undertaken at the center involving metallogenesis, geochemistry, petrology, mineralogy, deposit modeling, porphyry deposits, as well as iron oxide, copper, and gold deposits. Through the use of animations and diagrams, students can find simple explanations of the evolutionary tree for Henderson porphyry molybdenum deposit and the emplacement of the Birch Creek intrusion. Visitors can appreciate Arizona's amazing landscape through the many images embedded within the website. [RME]


University of Florida: Soil Texture

This University of Florida website educates the public about soil texture, which is the distribution of sizes of mineral particles found in soils. After learning the basics about soil separates, students and educators can learn about the USDA textural triangle and the characteristics of the twelve textural classes. Researchers can discover how to determine the correct soil texture in the field. The website addresses the important role soil textures play in the determination of proper land use activities and management practices. Visitors will also find a short discussion about other factors that affect the behavior and qualities of soils. [RME]

Creative Chemistry [pdf, Java, Microsoft PowerPoint]

Nigel Saunders at Harrogate Granby High School in North Yorkshire provides a wide range of fun, educational activities for high school chemistry students and teachers at this website. Teachers can find PowerPoint presentations dealing with energy conversions in reactions, thermometric titration, and ionic and covalent bonding. The website features an abundance of crossword puzzles, word searches, jigsaw puzzles, and other games. Using Java, students can view many molecules including alkanes, tetrahedral molecules, and octahedral molecules. With so many fun-filled learning activities to choose from, anyone interested in chemistry will value this website. [RME]

Hands on CERN [Macromedia Flash Player, jpeg, gif]

The project Hands-on-CERN was developed at Stockholm University to educate high school students and teachers about the fundamental processes inside matter and the current research dealing with particle collisions. At the Standard Model link, users can learn about the interactions of particle physics, transformation rules, the future of elementary particle physics, and much more. Through the use of interactive animations, students can learn about hadron decays, Feymann diagrams, and elementary particles. Although particular components of the website may be difficult to locate, by going through the tutorial step-by-step initially, users should eliminate this problem and reap the benefits of this very educational website. [RME]

Wright Center for Science Education: Cosmic Evolution [QuickTime]

The Wright Center for Science Education developed this website to educate users about cosmic evolution - the study of the changes in assembly and composition of energy, matter, and life. The website provides detailed accounts and figures of many concepts contributing to seven epochs: particulate, galactic, stellar, planetary, chemical, biological, and cultural. Students and educators can find abundant QuickTime movies dealing with Cosmic Origins, the Big Bang, Cosmic Structures, the Sun's Life Cycle, and much more. Anyone looking for instructive materials about the evolution of the universe should visit this constructive website. [RME]

Geologic Survey of Canada: North Magnetic Pole

The Geologic Survey of Canada created this educational website to provide users with a thorough understanding of the North Magnetic Pole. Visitors can find maps of the magnetic pole's approximate current location, its movement through time, and the dipole field. Students and educators can learn about the phenomenon of magnetic reversals. The website provides a descriptive history of the many expeditions to the North Magnetic Pole. Anyone looking for clear and concise explanations about the Earth's magnetic field will benefit from this website. [RME]

TERC Center for Education Partnerships Initiative: Online Science-athon

"The Science-athon offers elementary and middle-grade students opportunities to discover science in their daily lives." Second and third grade students can take part in a fun project to measure their heights. Fourth through eighth graders can participate in a marble roll, collect sunshine, and melt chocolate with a solar cooker. Created by TERC Center for Education Partnerships Initiative, this website offers instructive materials for students, teachers, and parents. By enrolling classes into the program, data can be shared among participants for all students to analyze. [RME]

United States Environmental Protection Agency: Ozone Depletion [pdf, RealOne Player, Windows Media Player, QuickTime, Java]

The United States Environmental Protection Agency created the Ozone Depletion website to inform the public about the science of ozone depletion, the regulatory approach to protecting the ozone layer, and alternatives to ozone-depleting substances. Visitors to the site can discover which chemicals are harmful to the ozone layer and what they can do to lessen the destruction. Students and educators can find animations and movies about the science and effects of ozone depletion, the Antarctic ozone hole, and more. The simple, yet informative, glossary assists visitors with unfamiliar terms. The Fun Stuff link offers activities for elementary students and scientific crossword puzzles. Anyone interested in ozone depletion will benefit from visiting this educational, expansive website. [RME]

National Weather Service: Owlie Skywarn Homepage [pdf, gif]

Owlie Skywarn, the official mascot of the National Weather Service (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) educates users about the hazards of severe weather. Primary school teachers can find narratives and illustrations about tornadoes, lightning, flash floods, hurricanes, winter weather, and carbon monoxide. Parents can learn safety tips about how to prepare for different types of severe weather. The online information is also available as printable document. [RME]


International Isotope Society [pdf]

The international isotope society (IIS) "aims to encourage the synthesis and applications of isotopes and isotopically labeled compounds to benefit of all." Visitors can find information about upcoming international conferences as well as summaries of past symposiums. The website provides copies of the presentation speeches discussing the activities of award winning scientists. Researchers can find out about the society's low level radioactive waste committee's activities to create a positive public image of the use of radioisotopes in research. An online technical report educates students and teachers about photomultipliers and their applications. [RME]

Virginia State Climatology Office [gif]

A constituent of the University of Virginia, the Virginia State Climatology Office provides information on the atmospheric environment and analyzes the effects weather and climate have on the economic and ecologic systems. Researchers can find information on how to obtain climate and weather data and can view meteorological maps as well as links to various radar and satellite images. Students can learn about Virginia's climate and its prominent weather systems. Virginia residents will value the site for its forecasts and advisories. [RME]

American Chemical Society: Division of Organic Chemistry [pdf]

Established in 1908, the American Chemical Society (ACS) Organic Chemistry Division created this website to illustrate its work to cultivate and promote the advancement of the field of organic chemistry. Researchers can learn about upcoming meetings and conferences. Chemistry students and educators can learn about fellowship, awards, and employment opportunities. The website provides an extensive list of links to scientific journals. Visitors can also learn about membership benefits and how to join the group. [RME]

National Institute of Standards and Technology: Time and Frequency Division [pdf]

"The Time and Frequency Division, part of NIST's Physics Laboratory, maintains the standard for frequency and time interval for the United States, provides official time to the United States, and carries out a broad program of research and service activities in time and frequency metrology." At this website, visitors can find online exhibits about ethnic and historical calendars, the history of timekeeping, the discovery of the quartz watch, and more. Researchers can learn about the division's studies dealing with ion storage and optical frequencies. Students and educators will find a tutorial about oscillator signals and measurement methods. Through this large website, visitors will understand the intricacies that go into measuring the exact time. [RME]

E-Print Network [pdf, postscript, dvi, zip]

Created by the United States Department of Energy, this website allows users to explore online papers that have been submitted for distribution and review among peers; for publication in journals; or for presentations at conferences. Through the E-print Network, advanced students and scientists can search e-prints on many websites and databases, browse e-prints by subject, and find many scientific societies. Although the network primarily contains physics-related documents, e-prints dealing with other subjects such as chemistry, material sciences, and nuclear sciences are also included. [RME]

QuickTime VR (QTVR) Artifact Photography at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center [QuickTime]

The move of over two hundred artifacts to the Steven F. Udar-Hazy Center allowed the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum to photograph a large amount of the National collection of aircraft, spacecraft, and small objects in detail. Users can learn about the techniques used to obtain archival quality images and create QuickTime virtual reality object models and cockpit panoramas. Many of these amazing artifacts are viewable at the website. Visitors can also read the weekly status report of this project. Because the creators are still adding new animations and images, users may want to revisit this website frequently. [RME]

NASA Hits: Rewards from Space -- How NASA improves our quality of life [pdf]

This pdf document highlights many of practical benefits society gains from NASA's work in space flight, space science, earth science, and aeronautics research and technology development. Users can learn how space-based beacon locators are used to provide global rescue systems. The website discusses NASA's work on ways to grow plants using hydroponics as well as how the Hubble Space Telescope Program has helped to create a breast cancer biopsy that is performed with a needle instead of a scalpel. Everyone curious about how NASA's work affects their lives should visit website. [RME]

Pacific Tsunami Museum

This website assists the Pacific Tsunami Museum in its goal "to promote public tsunami education for residents of Hawaii and the Pacific Region." Visitors can learn about the causes of tsunamis, its characteristics, the wrap-around effect, and much more. Teachers and students can discover the museum's education and science programs. Everyone will enjoy the live video stream of Hilo Bay and the abundant tsunami pictures. Interested users can also find out how to become involved with the museum. [RME]

Topic In Depth


1 Wikipedia: Antimatter
2 Reality of Antimatter
3 PPARC Science: Antimatter
4 Physics Central: The Buzz About Antimatter
5 Antimatter Factory on Sun Yields Clues to Solar Explosions [gif, jpeg, QuickTime]
6 University of Illinois: What is Antimatter?
7 Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory: What's the Matter with Antimatter?
8 Argonne National Laboratory: Huge Underground Detector May Explain Matter-Antimatter Riddle

This topic in depth tackles the complex concept of antimatter. First, Wikipedia (1) provides a simple, concise explanation of antimatter and discusses scientists' successes in producing anti-atoms of hydrogen and anti-deuteron nuclei. This online encyclopedia also offers links to many of the physical terms related to the topic so that novices can easily understand the material presented. The second website (2), created by, summarizes the findings and mysteries about the natural presence of antimatter. Through this online article, visitors with little knowledge of this phenomenon can learn about the scientific theories, its huge energy potential, and its lifespan. Next, the United Kingdom's Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) (3) addresses the issue of why, if matter particles and their antimatter partners were created in equal amounts after the Big Bang, they did not eradicate each other. Visitors can learn about experiments taking place at many scientific research centers including CERN, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and Fermilab. The fourth website (4 ), created by Physics Central, educates users about the cloud chamber track of an electron-positron pair. Visitors can learn how matter and antimatter relate to the conservation of momentum and energy. Next, NASA (5) argues that new observations may upset theories about how solar explosions create and destroy antimatter. Users can view the many colorful animations and short movies obtained from the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI). The Physics Van outreach program at the University of Illinois answers questions about antimatter's uses, effects, and characteristics in the sixth website (6). High school students and educators can benefit from the author's explanation of the similarities and differences between antimatter and matter. Next, Particle Physics in Plain English!, an outreach project for the Lepton Photon 2003 Conference at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, (7) discusses how particle physicists are studying antimatter with the hopes of contributing to the current understanding of the universe on all scales, "from revealing the origin of matter shortly after the Big Bang, to uncovering the secrets of elementary particles and their interactions." Students and educators can find clear explanations of the difficult concept of CP violation along with discussions of the BaBar and Belle experiments. Lastly, Argonne National Laboratory discusses (8) the potential for the new MINOS detector at Soudan to prove neutrino oscillation. Visitors can learn how the study could help in the understanding of why we live in a world made up of matter. [RME]

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