The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 11

May 28, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


Canada's National Lithoprobe Geoscience Project [pdf, QuickTime]

"Lithoprobe is Canada's national Earth science research project to investigate the 3-dimensional structure and evolution of Canada's landmass and continental margins." This extensive website provides an abundance of information, maps, reports, and publication abstracts for the project's ten study areas in Canada. Researchers can discover the Lithosphere project's funding, benefits, applications, technological advancements, and innovations. Within the Classroom / Media link users can view an educational movie and slide show about Lithoprobe. At the link, visitors can also learn about the techniques used to determine the present and past evolution and structure of the continent. [RME]

Dartmouth Flood Observatory {Microsoft Excel, jpeg, Macromedia Shockwave Player]

The Dartmouth Flood Observatory produced this website as "a research tool for detection, mapping, measurement, and analysis of extreme flood events world-wide using satellite remote sensing." Users can learn about the Observatory's use of microwave and optical satellite imaging to determine flooding and extreme low flow conditions for various places throughout the world. Students and researchers can discover how the observatory monitors wetland hydrology for various places. Researchers can find archives of large flooding events from 1985 to the present. The web site features a variety of maps and satellite images of floods. [RME]

University of Bristol: Laser Chemistry, Spectroscopy, and Dynamics Group [pdf]

The Laser Chemistry, Spectroscopy, and Dynamics Group present its research activities and interests at this website. The descriptions of the research activities, which include ion imaging, free radicals, and reaction dynamics, are accompanied by a series of images and figures to help users understand the studies. Graduate students can discover research opportunities with the group. The website supplies progress reports and many downloadable publications. Researchers can learn about upcoming events such as the 18th International Symposium on Gas Kinetics held in August 2004. [RME]

McLean nanoPhysics [pdf, QuickTime]

The McLean nanophysics group at Queen's University is mostly interested in studying nano-architecture and inverse photoemissions. The website presents the latest activities and updates of the group. Almost eighty publications are listed at the site, with links to downloads for most of them. The students in the group have also posted many of their masters' theses and other publications. Users can take a virtual tour of the equipment used by the group including their third inverse photoemission system, K3. The archives link presents technical releases and past research in topics such as holography. [RME]

The University of Waterloo: Astrophysics and Gravitation [mpg]

The University of Waterloo's astrophysics and gravitation group studies the origin and fate of the Universe, the nature of dark matter, black hole dynamics and thermodynamics, the unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics and other fundamental physics problems. The web site provides a link to the faculty, where users can discover more about their specific research interests. By clicking on the ever-changing Picture of the Moment on the home page, users can find information on the phenomenon presented. Researchers can learn about the observatory, telescopes, and equipment used by the group. Students and educators can find out about the group's many talks and seminars. [RME]

Lancaster University Aquatic Chemistry Research Group

At this website, the Lancaster University Aquatic Chemistry Research Group discusses its goals "to apply basic physico-chemical principles to further understanding of aquatic chemistry, particularly of trace metals, redox sensitive elements, radionuclides, and nutrients." Users can find short introductions along with Curriculum Vitas for the researchers and students involved. The website presents in-depth explanations of three of the group's current research projects such as the Transport Reactions and Dynamics of heavy metals in contaminated marine sediments (TREAD). Visitors can view images of the many facilities available to the group. Researchers can find two lengthy lists of the group's publications as well. [RME]


Student Observation Network: Tracking a Solar Storm [Macromedia Flash Player]

At this NASA website, students and educators can find numerous materials on the changes in the activity of the sun. The site is divided into four topics: sunspotters, radio waves, magnetosphere, and auroral friends. Within each of these components, users can find fun and educational activities as well as information and data from observatories and satellites. For instance, in the Sunspotters link, students can learn how to make their own sunspot viewer and pinhole camera. The Sun-Earth Viewer offers live images of the sun, interviews of scientists, and astounding Macromedia Flash Player illustrations and visualizations. Users can learn how to submit their own data to the website. Educators will find a teacher's edition with helpful hints and suggestions. [RME]

Two on Global Earthquate Explorer

The Global Earthquake Explorer (GEE) [jpeg, pdf]

Created by the University of South Carolina and the IRIS Consortium, the Global Earthquake Explorer (GEE) "is an education and outreach tool for seismology that aims to make it easy for non-seismologists to retrieve, display, and analyze seismic data." The goal of the module, which can be downloaded on a Windows, Mac OS X, or Unix / Linux platform, is to use earthquake data to study specific wave characteristics and to locate earthquakes. Before downloading, visitors can view screenshots of GEE. After downloading the software, users can find a helpful introduction to the module. Users can choose from three different views: a seismogram display, a real-time viewer, and a data viewer. The second site provides more information about the GEE program including news, downloads, GEE related projects, and the project's documentation. [RME]

Atmospheric Optics

Les Cowley, a physicist and expert in atmospheric optics, developed this website to share his knowledge about the visual spectacles produced by light connecting with water drops, dust, and ice crystals. Students can discover how and where the amazing displays are formed. The site is divided into five main categories: Rays and Shadows, Water Droplets, Rainbows, Ice Halos, and High Atmosphere. Within each topic, users can find an abundance of information and amazing images of the particular spectacle. By downloading the HaloSim3 Software in the Ice Halo link, users can view simulations of common and rare halos. Visitors will learn a lot about the atmosphere through this remarkable website. [RME]

Famous Astronomers and Astrophysicists

D. Mark Manley, a professor in the Physics Department at Kent State University, provides short introductions for almost one hundred famous astronomers and astrophysicists from the Classical Period to the present. By searching either chronologically or alphabetically, users can find out about a given astronomers major successes as well as birth years and places. A link is provided for each scientist listed, offering more in-depth information. Astronomers and historians can find inspiration by learning about the scientists' education and their important contribution to science. Most of the links also present a picture of the scientist and many interesting links. [RME]

Key Documents in the History of Space Policy [RealOne Player, pdf]

All of the projects that NASA takes on are controlled by politics. This website allows users to explore the key discussions in the political agenda by supplying significant documents that have affected the history of the United States space program. Documents range from the 1958 Space Act, which established NASA, to the 2004 Assessment of the NASA Agency-wide Applicability of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report. Through the reports, users can observe how the space program evolved from the Cold War though the post-Cold War period. [RME]

Delights of Chemistry [gif, Microsoft Media Player]

Developed by the University of Leeds, the Delights of Chemistry promotes the art of chemistry demonstrations. Users can find illustrations and explanations of forty chemistry experiments. Many animations of demonstrations including the magnesium lamp, thermite reaction, and the volcano reaction are available. The website is full of pictures of chemistry equipment and scientists at work. Through this site, students and educators are able to explore fun chemistry experiments without having to worry about the many hazards associated with working with chemicals. [RME]


NSF Press Release: Scientists Discover Undersea Volcano Off Antarctica [jpeg, gif]

The National Science Foundation describes the finding by the international science team of an active and formerly unknown volcano on the bottom of the sea off the Antarctica Peninsula. Users can discover how the scientists determined that the volcano has been recently active. The site features images and drawings of the equipment. Visitors can learn how they can obtain copies of the video footage taken by an underwater camera of the slopes of the volcano as well as still images of the volcano and drawings and animations of the camera's track over the volcano. The site features links to the reports by the research cruise, biographies of the researchers, and significant findings. [RME]

Professor discovers why the Earth 'wobbles'

The University of Nevada, Reno describes Geoff Blewitt and his team's explanation of why the earth wobbles. This website argues that while the presence of a wobble has been known for over a century, the cause of this phenomenon has never before been proven. Users can learn how global positioning system (GPS) technologies were used to determine the wobble over the last decade with a precision of a few millimeters. The site discusses how the seasonal displacement of water and other surface matter redistributions affect the Earth's balance. Users can also learn about the effects the spinning of the earth has on its shape. [RME]

CIRS: International Center for Scientific Research

The International Center for Scientific Research created this website to provide the public across the globe with access to scientific information. Users can learn about the latest news in physics, astronomy, geology, and other scientific fields. The site features links to researchers and scientific organizations in 222 countries. Visitors can search for links by topic and name. The site features information on the latest awards given to top scientists. Users can also find out about the countless science journals and books. [RME]

CBS Disaster Pic Makes Political Waves [RealOne Player, Windows Media Player]

This CBS website presents an article about the controversy over the existence, effects, and causes of global warming among scientists, environmentalists, and politicians. The site offers a video about the environmentalists' battle with the United States government over global warming. One of the best parts of the site is an interactive tutorial where users can learn about the greenhouse effect, carbon dioxide emissions, the warming of the earth, and more. While the site does cover an argument that stems from a Hollywood movie, the material presented educates users about the heated political debates concerning global warming. [RME]

Armagh Observatory [pdf, post script]

This website presents the news, events, and research of one of the UK and Ireland's leading astronomical research institutes, Armagh Observatory. Users can learn about the Observatory's many research projects in topics including stellar astrophysics, solar physics, and climate and meteorology. The site presents the long history of the observatory and its instruments. Educators can discover the outreach programs available at the Armagh Planetarium. Novices can find information on the objects they observe in the night sky. The site offers abstracts and full papers of many of the Observatory's publications from 1995 to the present. [RME]

Canadian Society for Chemical Technology [pdf]

The Canadian Society for Chemical Technology (CSCT) is dedicated to "the advancement of chemical technology, the maintenance and improvement of standards of practitioners and educators, and the continual evaluation of chemical technology in Canada." Users can learn about the Society's many activities including certifying chemical technologists and supporting student endeavors. The site features upcoming workshops and events held in Europe and North America. Visitors can learn about student and regional chapters. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Transit of Venus

Transit of Venus 2004 [pdf, Microsoft Word, jpeg]
The Venus Transit 2004 [jpeg]
Transit of Venus [mpg, Macromedia Flash Player]
2004 and 2012 Transits of Venus
Transit of Venus, June 8th, 2004 [gif]
Project Venus 2004 [pdf]
The Rarest Eclipse: Transit of Venus [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf, Microsoft Word]
The 1882 Transit of Venus: Observations from Wellington, South Africa [pdf]

The Transit of Venus is similar to a solar eclipse, where -- from the perspective on Earth -- Venus passes in front of the Sun. This event does not happen very often. In fact, no one alive today has experienced this phenomenon, which will take place on June 8 and will be visible for most of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

First, the Armagh Planetarium created a great, expansive informational site all about the Transit of Venus (1). Users can find basic facts, observing information, histories of past transits, and much more. Next, the European Southern Observatory presents the VT-2004 project's aim to gain knowledge and encourage public interest in the event (2). Users can observe Venus's progression towards the transit with the daily images from April 17, 2004 to present news updates. Educators can discover transit-related activities and educational materials. The third site, created by NASA, discusses the details of the Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum and San Francisco's Exploratorium's live webcast of the Transit (3). The site supplies enjoyable, educational materials for students, educators, museums, scientists, and amateur astronomers. The next site, also created by NASA, provides an introduction to the Venus Transits that will take place June 2004 and 2012 (4). Visitors can find helpful figures and text about the geographic visibility of the events. The site offers an observer's handbook as well as a discussion about the predictions of the event. Next, Professor Backhaus presents a project where schools, amateur astronomers, and universities will collaborate to gather transit data and learn about observing (5). Users can discover the six parts of the project as well as learn how to participate in the worldwide endeavor. The sixth site also discusses a Venus Transit project (6). Endorsed by the Astronomical Association of Zurich, this project's goals are to process data collected by amateur astronomers by different observation methods, to act as a data exchange center, and to determine the astronomical unit. Next, the Exploratorium furnishes general information about the Transit, its history, how viewers observe it, what it looks like, and why it is an important event (7). Users can find out about the live webcast that will begin on June 7, 2004 from Athens, Greece. Educators can find student activities developed to integrate discussions into the classroom. Lastly, Willie Koorts, an employee at the South African Astronomical Observatory, recounts the observations of scientists in Africa of the last transit of Venus (8). The site contains many historical photographs along with informational diagrams and figures. [RME]

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From The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2003.

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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2003. The Internet Scout Project (, located in the Computer Sciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community under a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NCR-9712163. The Government has certain rights in this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of the entire Scout Report provided this paragraph, including the copyright notice, are preserved on all copies.

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