The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 7

April 2, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


SRC: Synchrotron Radiation Center [pdf]

Located at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, the Synchrotron Radiation Center (SRC) "uses an electron storage rind (Aladdin) to produce synchrotron light, which is used by scientists from all over the world to conduct experiments." After learning the extensive history of the research laboratory, visitors to the site can discover the electron storage ring and beamlines properties, status, and schedule. Users can discover examples of research projects that utilize SRC's capabilities of operating at an energy of up to 1000 million electron volts and producing infra-red, visible, ultra violet, and x-ray light. For interested users, the website also offers information about how to become involved with SRC. [RME]

University of California - Irvine: Evans Inorganic Chemistry Group Home Page [pdf]

The Evans group at the University of California - Irvine is investigating the unique characteristics of lanthanides and actinide metals. At this website, users can learn about the group's many research projects that generally fall under two categories: redox chemistry and molecules with unusual structure and bonding. The website supplies downloads for many of the publications listed. Students and educators can find general information about lanthanides. Users can learn about the group's exciting discovery of a new metal complex (C5Me5)3U(N2). [RME]

University of New Mexico: Institute of Meteoritics

The University of Mexico's Institute of Meteoritics (IOM) claims to be the first institution in the world dedicated to the study of meteorites. The website features the Institute's Electron Microbeam Facility, Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, and the High Pressure and High Temperature Experimental Petrology Laboratories. Users can search through an online database of the Meteorite Museum's meteorite collection, which contains samples of over 600 meteorites. Researchers can discover the Institute's current research ventures such as the geochronology of planetary materials and studies dealing with planetary magmas at high pressure. Students and educators can learn the six identifying characteristics of meteorites. [RME]

NASA: Aura Atmospheric Chemistry

The "Earth Observing System (EOS) Aura is a NASA mission to study the Earth's ozone, air quality, and climate" by researching the composition, chemistry, and dynamics of the Earth's atmosphere. Visitors can learn how Aura is investigating three questions: Is the Earth's ozone layer recovering? Is air quality getting worse? How is Earth's climate changing? Researchers can find extensive details about the flight, spacecraft devices and specifications, and the data processing and validation. Visitors can view an array of Aura images from 2000 to the present. The website discusses how the Aura group is collaborating with the American Chemical Society, the GLOBE Program, and the National Museum of Natural History in order to expand formal and informal science education. [RME]

The University of Western Ontario: Shoesmith Chemistry Research Group

The Shoesmith research group at the University of Western Ontario deals with problems in electrochemistry and corrosion studies. With the extensive use of images and figures, this website highlights over ten of the group's projects including kinetics of copper corrosion conditions and the chemistry of nuclear fuel under Canadian Waste Disposal Conditions. Researchers can read about and view the substantial facilities within the group's two main laboratories. The website features links to most of the graduate student and research associates' main pages. [RME]

Harvard University: Environmental Chemistry [jpeg, pdf, RealOne Player]

The Environmental Chemistry group at Harvard University created this website to promote its research in the understanding and quantification of chemistry of surfaces in environmental chemical systems. Users can learn about the group's many projects that deal with the shared topic: "What controls the formation and reactivity of a surface?" Researchers can find out about the group's seminars held at Harvard and can download many of the related publications. The website publicizes the efforts and backgrounds of the eleven people involved with environmental chemistry. Students and educators can view short, fascinating movies dealing with its results. [RME]

Argonne National Laboratory: Neutron Scattering [pdf]

The Argonne National Laboratory created this website to provide users with information about the research taking place around the world dealing with neutron scattering. This website supplies links to the homepages of the neutron scattering facilities in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. Students and educators can find educational neutron scattering tutorials and tables. The website provides an extensive list of links for projects, collaborations, associations, and other resources. Physicists can find lots of neutron scattering software for data formatting, analyzing, and visualizing. Researchers can learn about upcoming and past neutron conferences and workshops. Interested users can also discover how to become part of Neutron Scattering's five public email lists. [RME]

University of Maryland: Geochemistry Laboratories [pdf]

This extensive website features the University of Maryland's Geochemistry Laboratories' efforts to "produce the highest quality elemental and isotopic data, to teach students and visitors the techniques involved with gathering such data," and to develop new methods and instrumentation in the field of elemental and isotope measurements." Users can discover the Thermal Ionization, Plasma, and Gas Source laboratories; as well as the Chemical Processing Lab and the Mineral Separation and Rock Preparation Laboratories. Through the links to the staff members and three of the laboratories, researchers can learn about the department's studies of the Earth's core, mantle, and crust; the atmosphere and hydrosphere; and the isotopic evolution of the solar system. Throughout the website, students and educators can find educational materials on topics including ablation spot characteristics and environmental safety. [RME]


NASA Earth Observatory: Will Runaway Water Warm the World?

This website offers NASA's Earth Observatory newest feature -- an educational module about global warming. Beginning with a recap of the tremendous heat wave that struck Europe in the summer of 2003, the website proceeds with an educational discussion about the interaction between water vapor and other greenhouse gases and the atmosphere. Users can learn about climatic modeling and some assumptions that are incorporated into these models. Students can find out how NASA scientists utilize satellite and other data to validate their climate models. The website also features a lengthy discussion about humidity and its affects on weather. [RME]

Watts on Schools: Solar Energy Activities [pdf]

This website, created by Watts on Schools, provides pdf files of an assortment of fun, collaborative solar energy activities. Kindergarten through second graders can discover reflectivity and absorption as well as the physical properties of the sun. Third through fifth graders can discover properties of heating, cooling, gravity, and more. For middle school students, the website features lessons about photovoltaic systems, the formation of fossil fuels, and the greenhouse effect. High school students can become involved in a mock trial and energy debates. With its immense resources dealing with solar energy, educators are sure to find many valuable materials to enhance their lesson plans. [RME]

Water Environment Federation: Hands-On Activities [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

The Water Environment Federation offers hands-on activities in pdf format covering a wide range of the important water-related environmental topics. Educators can find materials for students from kindergarten through high school dealing with the characteristics of floodplains and wetlands, water cycles, pollution, and so much more. Each activity clearly lays out a plan for the teachers including advanced preparation, background materials, a list of terms, the actual procedure, and a follow-up. The website also offers a few activities in Spanish. While the books and videos advertised are not available for viewing at the site, the downloadable activities are worth the visit. [RME]

Science Experiments at Home

Professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, offers many fun, easy chemistry experiments at this website. Through the utilization of a few household materials, users can learn about pressure, acids and bases, chemiluminescent chemical reactions, and more. The activities are filled with thought provoking questions along with concise explanations about the topic presented. The website provides links to activities dealing with topics in physics as well. Anyone interested in partaking in simple, yet exciting, science experiments with their family and friends at home should visit this website. [RME]

The Educator's Reference Desk: Science Lesson Plans [pdf]

Developed by the Information Institute of Syracuse, the Educator's Reference Desk offers a large assortment of science lessons plans for students of all ages. This amazing resource covers topics in earth science, chemistry, space science, geology, physics, and physical science, as well as life science subjects. Besides scanning the hands-on activities created by teachers throughout the United States, visitors can search the abundant lesson plans by key words or education level. The website provides teachers with guidance on how to incorporate the well structured activities into their curriculum. Interested users can learn how to submit a lesson plan of their own to the website. [RME]

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Compendium of Chemical Terminology [pdf]

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) developed this website to supply the public with approved definitions of chemical terminology by utilizing Adobe Acrobat Reader. Originally created in 1997, IUPAC is currently adding terms from recent IUPAC recommendations to this website. With the concise definitions and appropriate diagrams, students can find assistance with unfamiliar chemical language. The website provides links to related terms, making navigation through the site quick and easy. [RME]

Climate Kids [Java, pdf]

The Southeast Regional Climate Center (SERCC) created this fun, yet educational, website filled with games, activities, and other resources to teach children about weather and climate. Students can find a sequence of interactive surface weather maps at the useful Weather Map Activity. Through a memory game, users can discover the symbols regularly used in meteorology. Visitors can test their knowledge with the SERCC Weather Quiz. By downloading the quarterly issues of Southern Atmospheric Education Resource (AER), teachers and students can find helpful climate information and classroom activities. With so many fun, instructive activities and materials, everyone interested in meteorology should visit this website. [RME]

Natural Resources Conservation Service: Soil Education [pdf, Microsoft PowerPoint]

The Natural Resources Conservation Service provides an array of materials to assist people with their understanding of soils. Through an online presentation, users can learn ten key points about soil characteristics and their importance. Teachers and students can find many fun activities including soil erosion and particle size demonstrations and soil songs. The website provides a great introduction to soil formation and classification. Those contemplating a career in soil science can discover the specifics of the soil profession. The website offers a wide range of links to outside sources involved with soil science. [RME]


Delaware Riverkeeper Network

"The Delaware Riverkeeper and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network stand as vigilant protectors and defenders of the River, its tributaries and its watershed committed to restoring the natural balance where it has been lost and ensuring its preservation where it still exists." Users can learn about the group's extensive efforts to protect the water quality of the 13,539 square mile watershed. The website features the stream restoration work which includes the creation of riparian buffers. Interested visitors can learn how they can become involved with the volunteer monitoring program. [RME]

Younger Chemists Committee (YCC) [pdf]

This website presents the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Young Chemists Committee (YCC), which is described as "the definitive resource for chemists under 35." With the goal of connecting, encouraging, and empowering young chemists; the website offers information on an abundance of award opportunities presented by the ACS, YCC, and private and government establishments. Chemists can learn about upcoming regional and local section meetings. By downloading archives of the YCC biannual newsletters, users can learn about the YCC's projects, events, and achievements. [RME]

Sky & Telescope: Observing

Created by Sky & Telescope, this website features a plethora of resources about observing space. Users can learn how and when to observe Jupiter, Saturn, comets, the Transit of Venus, and more. The website outlines what observers can expect to see each night at the link titled Week's Sky at a Glance. Visitors can find predictions of the rise and set of the moon and sun, and the visibility of the planets and the International Space Station. Amateur astronomers can find helpful tips about how to observe space phenomena including auroras, asteroids, and star clusters. Everyone can enjoy the amazing images in the ground-based observatory and the space-based observatory galleries. [RME]

ESC: The Electrochemical Society, Inc. [pdf]

The Electrochemical Society, Inc. (ESC) is described as a leading international "society for solid-state and electrochemical science and technology." Visitors can view the abstracts of the many authors participating in the 205th Meeting of The Electrochemical Society. The website provides information on future international meetings held both in the spring and fall to discuss the latest advancements. Students and researchers can discover the many awards distributed by the society. Interested visitors can find the locations and contact information on the society's locations. [RME]

Mars Exploration Rover Coverage [RealOne Player, Windows Media Player]

With so many exciting discoveries taking place on Mars, it may be hard to know about all the latest developments. In an attempt to deal with this quandary, NASA has developed this web site to provide real-time coverage of the Agency's endeavors. Through the use of RealOne Player or Windows Media Player, visitors can view an assortment of educational programs on live NASA TV. The website supplies links to many of the organizations both within and outside NASA involved with NASA TV. Users can discover what channels NASA broadcasts on an ordinary television as well. [RME]

United Nations Environment Programme: Climate Change [pdf]

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) created this website to act as a central source for disseminating information about climate change. Users can find out the latest news about global warming, CO2 emissions, government efforts, and more. The website features the major initiatives taken on by UNEP including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In order to understand the climate change problems, the website has supplied users with many maps and graphs as well as information kits and guides. Everyone can discover how governments are working together to deal with the climate change dilemma. [RME]

IAVCEI: International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior [pdf]

The International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior's (IAVCEI) website advocates its research in volcanology and closely related disciplines as well as its work to mitigate volcanic disasters. After learning about the history of the organization, users can discover the many projects undertaken by the commissions including a volcanic eruption database and research involving the chemistry of volcanic gases. Researchers can learn about possible funding opportunities and awards. The website offers helpful safety advice and guidelines for professional interactions during crises. [RME]

Puget Sound Landslides

At this website, the Washington State Government Information and Services offers helpful information about landslides. While this site is specifically directed at landslides in Puget Sound, much of the materials presented can easily be applied to other geographical areas. Through the colorful images and diagrams, users can learn about the geology, weather, groundwater, and other factors that contribute to the slides. Visitors can discover the major warning signs of landslides and where they are most likely to occur. The website offers instructive tips on what to do during a crisis and how to prevent slides. Everyone should visit the Slide Show which presents the causes, repairs, prevention, and images of landslides. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Weather Instruments

Weather Instruments
Weather Instruments for Measuring the Climate of Illinois
Building and Using Weather Instruments
Weather Tools
Tyson Research Center Weather Station Equipment
School Garden Weather Station [pdf]
Next Generation Weather Lab

This Topic in Depth discusses the variety of instruments used to collect climate and weather data. The first two websites provide simple introductions to the many weather instruments. Bethune Academy's Weather Center (1) discusses the functions of psychrometers, anemometers, weather balloons, thermometers, and barometers. The Illinois State Water Survey (2) furnishes many images of various instruments that collect data daily for legal issues, farmers, educators, students, and researchers. The third website (3), created by the Center for Improving Engineering and Science Education (CIESE), provides a classroom activity to educate users on how to build and use weather instruments. By the end of the group project, students should know all about wind vanes, rain gauges, anemometers, and thermometers. Next, the Miami Museum of Science provides a variety of activities to help students learn about the many weather instruments including wind scales and wind chimes (4). Students can learn about the wind, air pressure, moisture, and temperature. At the fifth website, the Tyson Research Center at Washington University describes the devices it uses in its research (5). At the various links, users can find out the center's many projects that utilize meteorological data such as acid rain monitoring. The sixth website, a pdf document created by Dr. John Guyton at the Mississippi State University Extension Service, provides guidance to teachers about the education of weather patterns and instruments (6). Users can find helpful information on pressure systems, humidity, cloud patterns, and much more. Next, the University of Richmond discusses the tools meteorologists use to learn about the weather (7). While providing materials about the basic tools discussed in the other websites, this site also offers information about weather satellites, radar, and computer models. After discovering the many weather instruments, users can learn about weather data output and analysis at the Next Generation Weather Lab website (8). This expansive website provides an abundance of surface data and upper air data as well as satellite and radar images for the United States. [RME]

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