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

February 6, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


NASA: Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Branch

"The mission of the Mesoscale Atmospheric Processes Branch is to conduct research to understand the physics and dynamics of atmospheric processes through the use of satellite, aircraft and surface-based remote sensing observations and computer-based simulations." Through this website, visitors can learn about the branch's many space flight projects including the Polarization and Directionality of The Earth's Reflectances (POLDER) and the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR)/Earth Observing System (EOS). Within the Chain of Command link, visitors can learn about research endeavors in regional and global precipitation, modeling, visualization, and sensor development. The website also features a list of all the publications created by the branch since 1998. [RME]

Matter Waves in Konstanz [pdf]

At this website, the University of Konstanz addresses its research in the wave nature of particles. The website discusses the researchers' plans to demonstrate nonlinear phenomenon. Scientists can view the first pictures of the Bose-Einstein-Condensation observation. Within the Lithography link, visitors can learn about the methods and current findings of the group's dissipative matter wave optics experiment. The website also offers many downloadable papers published by the group. Although many of the links not directly related to its research are not in English, visitors can gain an appreciation of the research taking place at the university. [RME]

DESY: The ZEUS Experiment [tar, postscript]

ZEUS is a collaboration of 450 physicists who are operating a large particle detector at the electron-proton collider HERA at the DESY laboratory in Hamburg. Researchers can find links to the ZEUS physics groups including High Q2, Diffraction and Vector Mesons, and Heavy Flavour Physics. Along with other tasks and components, visitors can learn about the Backing Calorimeter's role in preserving hermetic hadron jets energy measurement and aiding in the tracking of muons passing through the iron yoke of the detector. The website also provides links to the homepages of four of the computing facilities for Zeus. [RME]

NASA's Global Tropospheric Experiment (GTE) [pdf]

NASA's Global Tropospheric Experiment (GTE) was formed as "a commitment by the United States Government to understand the human impact on the global atmosphere." Visitors can learn about GTE's use of data collected via aircraft and satellites to create atmospheric chemistry models that predict climate change. Through this extensive website, users can find summaries, mission maps, data, publications, and important discoveries for the many expeditions. The website allows researchers to request CD-ROMs of archived data. Although the Weather Plotters are temporarily unavailable, once the graphics are converted to the GrADS software, users will have more options in data production. Everyone can enjoy the pictures from the TRACE-P aircraft mission. [RME]

University of Colorado: Jin Group [pdf]

Deborah Jin, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado, discusses her group's research on ultra-cold trapped atoms. Scientists can find out about the group's newly released observation of fermionic condensate, which has been described as a new form of matter. The website provides general information about the group's two experiments: 40K Fermi Gas Experiment and the Bose/Fermi Mixture Experiment. Students can find a series of images that help explain the work described. The website also provides numerous downloadable papers written by the group. [RME]

Arizona State University: Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer

The thermal emission spectrometer (TES) is a scientific instrument created at Arizona State University to provide detailed looks at the composition of Mars. The website features ASU's spectral library of Earth's minerals and rocks which can be used for comparison with those obtained from Mars and for interpretation of remote sensing data of Earth. Researchers can learn about the many projects involving TES such as the search for carbonates and other salts on Mars and the study of Martian meteorites. Students can find general educational information on emissivity and thermal infrared energy. [RME]

US / Russia Collaboration in Plasma Astrophysics [pdf]

The US/Russia collaboration in plasma astrophysics combines the efforts of scientists from two groups -- the Russian Academy of Science Institutes and Cornell University -- to solve many of the complicated problems associated with the magnetohydrodynamical (MHD). Students and educators can find thorough descriptions about the collaboration's studies in wind accretion to dipoles, disk accretion to dipoles, the origin of jets, and the accretion disks theory. Researchers will also find numerous downloadable published papers from 1992 to present. [RME]

University of Idaho: Pedology Laboratory

This website discusses the University of Idaho's pedology laboratory's work primarily focused on the environmental factors and processes that form soils and influence their use and management. Researchers and students can learn about the volcanic ash-influenced soils in the Pacific Northwest, the hydrology of Northern Idaho, and the ability of soils in the Palouse Basin to accommodate ground water recharge. The website provides information on laboratory analysis procedures and data on andisols and andic properties. Users will also find descriptions of graduate theses and dissertations, information on the Maynard A. Fosberg Monolith Collection, and many of the laboratory's abstracts. [RME]


University of California -- Santa Barbara: Bancroft Mineral Collection

This website produced by the University of California -- Santa Barbara provides users with an abundance of information on the minerals in the internationally respected Bancroft Mineral Collection. For each specimen, students can find information divided into three parts. The main page supplies users with a summary of the chemical and physical properties and an image of an amazing array of minerals. The Properties section displays the physical, chemical, and geographical information of the specific mineral. The last section, Locality, provides users with additional information about the geographical origin of the mineral along with an interactive map and an image of the mineral's origin. [RME]

Volcano World [QuickTime, mpeg, Java]

VolcanoWorld, part of BrainSpace, is an online learning center for users of all ages. Visitors can find information and images of volcanoes for all over the world. The website features many short videos of volcanic eruptions. Through a series of colorful tutorials, students and teachers can learn about different types of volcanoes, volcano models, and the field of volcanology. Users can find fun games including crossword puzzles, matching games, and puzzle games. The website offers links to many other volcano-related education sites. [RME]

UCLA: Organic Chemistry Tutorials [pdf]

Steven Hardinger at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA created these tutorials to assist students with the difficult concepts presented in introductory organic chemistry. Students can find tutorials dealing with acids and bases, carbocations, Lewis dot structures, and more. Within each tutorial, users can find links to a dictionary that adequately explain the unfamiliar terminology. The tutorials include example problems and exercises to challenge users. [RME]

Colby College: The Poon-Mundy Computer Demonstrations [Macromedia Shockwave]

Produced by Thomas Poon at Claremont-McKenna College and Bradford Mundy at Colby College, the Poon-Mundy computer animations are Macromedia Shockwave movies created to assist students with organic chemistry. Students can observe the production of hybrid atomic orbitals, a simulation of a mass spectrometer, the pyramidal inversion in amines, and much more. With sixteen colorful animations covering most of the topics discussed in class, organic chemistry students will surely find the site very helpful. [RME]

NASA: Re-Living the Wright Way [Java]

At this website, NASA provides users with many pages discussing the science of the Wright Brothers' aircraft as well as information that has been discovered since 1905. Physics students can find lots of materials on fundamental concepts such as Newton's laws, equilibrium, thermodynamics, basic aerodynamics, and power. The website features interactive sections to educate people about lift, drag, and the parts of an airplane. Anyone perplexed about the relationship between physics and flying should visit this website. [RME]

University of Florida: The Nature and Use of a Soil Survey [pdf]

At this website, the University of Florida discusses the characteristics of a soil survey and the contents of a published survey. Users can discover the difference between general, reconnaissance, and detailed soil maps. Students and educators can learn how a survey is executed. The website addresses the benefits of the soil survey as well as the cost/benefit ratio. The information is available in a downloadable document for easy printing. Interested users can also learn how to obtain surveys. [RME]

ASU Mars Education Program [pdf]

Arizona State University (ASU) Mars education program is a planetary imaging facility created to accommodate research for fifth grade through post doctoral students along with the professional scientific community. Users can download a variety of manuals containing step-by-step explanations of projects created to help students learn about the scientific process, the topographic features of Mars, and more. Teachers can find out about a variety of events and workshops taking place around the United States. Educators can also learn how to get their fifth grade through college sophomore level classrooms involved in the Mars Student Imaging Project (MSIP). [RME]

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- From Alchemy to Chemistry: Five Hundred Years of Rare and Interesting Books [gif]

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created this online exhibit to illustrate several of the major shifts in chemistry from alchemy to modern chemistry and how chemists changed the way in which they discussed their field. Curious students and educators can find descriptions of thirty-six chemistry books covering the years from 1500 to 1964. Historians will adore the images of pages from the old books and find source links for some of the books discussed. [RME]


Illinois State University Planetarium

At this website, visitors can discover the Illinois State University (ISU) Planetarium, which was created to provide a popular form of enriching entertainment, facilitate university-community relation, and recruit potential students. For astronomers, the website features a useful celestial events calendar updated at the end of each month. Educators can learn about the many programs ISU Planetarium offers for preschool through high school students. Users can learn about ISU's facilities, capabilities, and services. The website also provides links to an astronomy club, and many amateur astronomy websites. [RME]

Science Center of Iowa [Java, pdf]

The Science Center of Iowa, located in Des Moines, is comprised of many educational science exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages. Parents and educators can learn about the Science Center's summer camps, classes, and overnight stays where children will have fun with explorations and hands-on activities. Users can find descriptions of many of the center's exhibits such as Adventures in 3D, Small Discoveries, and In the Dark. At the website, visitors can also find lots of information on the new center set to open in 2005. [RME]

ING: Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes

The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NOW), and the Instituto de Astrofsica de Canarias (IAC) operate the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING), consisting of the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope, the 2.5m Isaac Newton Telescope, and the 1.0 m Jacobus Kapetyn Telescope. Astronomers can find out about the telescopes' properties, the viewing schedule, seminars, conferences, and new developments. Everyone can take a virtual tour of the telescope facilities, obtain educational materials, and view tons of amazing images. [RME]

BBC: My Space [jpeg, gif, tiff]

This BBC website provides tons of wonderful astronomical information and materials for the general public. The website features amazing images of aurorae, galaxies, meteor showers, and other space phenomena gathered by amateur astronomers from across the world. Everyone can find maps of the night sky for the present month and images of many constellations to assist them with their sky gazing experiences. Visitors can also find information on astronomy organizations and planetariums in the United Kingdom. [RME]

MINSA: Mineralogical Association of South Africa [pdf]

This website discusses the Mineral Association of South Africa's (MINSA) mission to promote communication among researchers interested in a wide range of mineralogy-related topics in South Africa. After learning about MINSA's history, scientists can learn how to submit papers for the eighth International Congress on Applied Mineralogy (ICAM). The website discusses MINSA's efforts to standardize methods for the measurement of mineral properties by image analysis. Students can view elegant photographs of minerals found in South Africa. Interested visitors can also find out how to become a member. [RME]

SSSA: Soil Science Society of America [pdf]

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is the professional organization dedicated to the advancement of "the discipline and practice of soil science by acquiring and disseminating information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management and recycling, and wise land use." After viewing SSSA's bylaws, researchers can learn about the annual international meeting held in Seattle from October 31st through November 4th, 2004. Students can find out about scholarships, awards, fellowships, and career opportunities. Soil scientists can obtain information on the fundamental soil science exam and the performance objectives. The website also provides summaries of recent findings published in soil science journals. [RME]

Livermore Scientists Team With Russia to Discover Elements 113 and 115 [jpeg, QuickTime]

This website discusses the discoveries of two super heavy elements -- element 113 and element 115 -- by a group of scientists from the Chemical Biology and Nuclear Science Division at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Glenn T. Seaborg Institute, and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia (JINR). Researchers can learn how, through the fusion reaction of calcium-48 colliding with an americium-243 target, the scientists were able to produce four atoms of each of the new elements. Students and educators can find photos and videos of simulations of the formation of the elements. Everyone can learn how these findings provide a better understanding of the framework of our universe. [RME]

Discovery Channel: Planet Earth guide [Macromedia Shockwave Player, Macromedia Flash Player]

This Discovery Channel website features a large assortment of fascinating information about the physical environment of the earth. The website's live cam shows images of Mexico's Popocatepetl, one the most active volcanoes. Visitors can observe the big craters created on the earth by past meteors while students can create their own earthquake. And, users can find daily pictures and journal writings from a team of Mt. Everest climbers. With so many online earth adventures and activities, everyone should visit this fun and exciting website. [RME]

Topic In Depth

The Younger Dryas Event

1 Younger Dryas
2 The Late Glacial and the Younger Dryas-Preboreal Boundary
3 Virtual Field Trip of Nova Scotia
4 Short Term Climate Variability in the Past [pdf]
5 High-Resolution Younger Dryas Environmental Variability: A comprehensive Assessment from Mid-North America Tree-Rings
6 Abrupt Climate Change Presents Unappreciated Challenges to Society, Scientists Say
7 The Formation and Significance of a Moraine-Mound Complex (hummocky moraine) of Younger Dryas Age in Ennerdale, English Lake District [pdf]
8 ITCZ Variability in the Tropical Atlantic During the Last Deglaciation [pdf]
9 Abrupt Climate Changes Revisited: How Serious and How Likely?

This topic in depth deals with the Younger Dryas event, a short period of extremely cold temperatures interrupting the current interglacial period. It is currently debated whether the Younger Dryas event occurred solely in parts of the North hemisphere or throughout the world.

The first website, (1), created by World History, provides a short, concise summary of the Younger Dryas period. Users can find a brief statement about the prevailing theory of the cause of this event. Lund University offers an amazing image of a stratigraphic record illustrating the Late Glacial sequence at the second website (2). Users can view the impressive Younger Dryas sedimentation layer and also see an image of the flower, Dryas octopetala, which the event is named after. Next, the Department of Natural Resources for the Province of Nova Scotia supplies images of the geologic landscape of Nova Scotia (3). Students can find descriptions of the Younger Dryas event and other glacial features. The forth website (4 ), produced by Klaus Keller as part of his lecture materials for classes at Penn State, is an online document illustrating the abrupt changes experienced on earth during the Younger Dryas. This website discusses the theorized relationship between the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation (THC) and the event. Next, the University of Arizona discusses its research on the environmental changes in mid-North America over the last several millennia (5). Users can learn how the researchers are attempting to create the first high-resolution chronology of the transition from the Late Glacial to the Early Holocene. In the sixth website (6 ), the University of Chicago offers an online article addressing the unknowns in our current understanding of climate change. Users can learn how the abrupt climate changes in the past such as the Younger Dryas are still difficult to model. Next, David J. Graham from the University of Wales addresses the importance of examining the moraine morphology and sedimentology in order to gather more knowledge about the climatic and glacio-dynamic conditions that occurred during the Younger Dryas period (7 ). This online poster provides images, figures, and descriptions of the interpretations of the landform-sediment associations present in the upper Ennerdale. Konrad Hughen from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution summarizes his group's research which illustrates the effects the northern tropical regions of the Southern Hemisphere experienced during the Younger Dryas event (8). In this downloadable document, users can learn about his group's creation of high-resolution records of tropical vegetation change that demonstrate the synchronization between the climate changes in the high latitude North Atlantic region and in the tropical South America during the event. Lastly, the U.S. Global Change Research Program discusses the classification of an abrupt climate change, the rapidity of past climate change according to the paleoclimatic records, the causes of climate change, and its consequences (9). Visitors can learn about the swiftness of the Younger Dryas event and how another occurrence like this may affect our society and the natural world. [RME]

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