The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 14

July 9, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


National Center for Atmospheric Research: Geophysical Statistics Project

Housed at the Climate and Global Dynamics Division (CGD) of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the Geophysical Statistics Project seeks "to encourage the application and further development of statistical analysis to the problems faced in the Earth sciences." The GSP website seeks to accomplish some of this goal by offering all sorts of related information for interested visitors. Included are links to the project's research information, including numerous reports and publications (such as the 2004 article in Technometrics titled, Wavelet-Based Estimation for Seasonal Long-Memory Processes), explanation of current projects, as well as software and data used. Also of interest to researchers and students may be the sections on postdoc opportunities as well as profiles of the researchers at the project. [JPM]

The Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research

As part of the Met Office for the meteorological sciences, the Hadley Centre is devoted to the study of the "scientific issues associated with climate change." The site is packed full of great climate related information including information on news and publications as well as research reports and staff information. Links within the site take visitors to information about the many climate change datasets and models used at Hadley as well as an interesting feature about the new film, The Day After Tomorrow. Also of note are the climate change brochures offered for download from the site. [JPM]

National Institute for Nanotechnology

A joint venture between the National Research Council and the University of Alberta, and funded in part by the Government of Canada, Alberta, and the university, "The National Institute for Nanotechnology is an integrated, multi-disciplinary institution involving researchers in physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, informatics, pharmacy and medicine." At the site, visitors can find all sorts of interesting information about the nano world. Of particular interest is the Our Research link, which leads to all sorts of information about the various research projects at the institute, such as: Supramolecular Nanoscale Assembly, Materials and Interfacial Chemistry, Molecular Scale Devices, and more. Visitors to the site can view publications and learn about the researchers involved in the many projects as well as learn about the institute's facilities and visit the Newsroom link for several press releases. [JPM]

NOAA: National Data Buoy Center [postscript, jpeg]

NOAA's National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) "develops, operates, and maintains a network of buoy and C-MAN stations." After viewing the virtual tour of the NDBC's facilities and efforts, users can find interactive maps of the numerous data collecting buoys. Researchers can find recent and historical ocean current velocities, wind speed and direction, air and sea temperatures, and other oceanographic and meteorologic data. Users can search the data by buoy station and dates. Visitors can discover NDBC's programs including the Coastal Storms Initiative (CSI), which is "designed to achieve an enhanced, seamless observation-to-user capability across NOAA," and the Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (DART). [RME]

Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science

The Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science was established in 1876 and remained the only high quality research facility for the basic sciences until the early decades of the twentieth century. Visitors can discover an abundance of information on its research in the fields of Material Science, Solid State Physics, Inorganic Chemistry, Biological Chemistry, Energy Research, and much more. Scientists can find out about upcoming conferences such as the Colloquium for Young Physicists. The web site features a description of the Institute's recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Professor CV Raman. [RME]

ANITA: Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna [Microsoft PowerPoint, pdf]

Directed by a collaboration of seven United States universities and NASA, the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) is a "long duration balloon mission to constrain the origin of the highest energy particles in the universe." At this University of Hawaii at Manoa web site, users can download an informational proposal discussing the expected goals, scientific implementation, schedule, cost, and outreach. The web site presents project news, press releases, and images. The Science link offers an overview of the project as well as tutorials on neutrinos and cosmic rays. While a few links can only be obtained by the project's collaborators, users can find detailed summaries of ANITA at the site. [RME]


University of St. Louis: Lunar Meteorites

From the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis comes this very informational site about meteors. The opening page of the site would serve a novice meteorite researcher in her or his discovery about these rocks from outside of the earth -- including information on how meteorites are named, where they come from, why they are important, etc. The site explains the difference between meteorites and meteoroids. Also of note is the List of Lunar Meteorites which opens up an up-to-date listing, "in approximate order of decreasing alumina concentration" of several meteorites found in the last twenty years. [JPM]

California Institute of Technology: Cool Cosmos

This great educational site from Cal Tech offers all sorts of resources to assist in learning about the universe. Using the fun, gear-like menu on the left of the screen, visitors can pick from site areas such as the Cosmic Classroom (which offers classroom activities, lessons, reference info and an Ask an Astronomer option), Cosmic Kids (where kids can learn about what's in space through stories and resources like the Infrared Zoo), the Video and Image Galleries, and lots more. The site should be a great resource for teachers introducing students to the study of the universe or those visitors who are simply interested in getting lost in space for a while. [JPM]

International Research Institute for Climate Prediction: ENSO Web

"Sure has been a warm winter," or "It's kind of been a cool spring, don't you think?" is the kind of weather-related smalltalk humans have grown to love. But with these anecdotal statements comes science and the ENSO Web site is just the place to go to better understand the El Nio-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO. As the site states in The Simple Picture section, ENSO "is a system of interactions between the equatorial Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere above it...El Nio is when the equatorial Pacific is warmer than average, and La Nia is when it is cooler than average." This site, part of the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction is located at the Lamont-Doherty campus of Columbia University, provides a lot of great information for the curious climate enthusiast, educators searching for reliable teaching information, or students researching climate-related information. [JPM]

University of Aberdeen: Curly Arrows [Macromedia Flash Player]

The University of Aberdeen created the tutorial Curly Arrows to help students learn about and practice using curly arrows in organic reaction mechanisms. To help understand the tutorials students can find instructions, notes, demonstrations, and example reactions. After understanding these details, students can find numerous interactive exercises dealing with the identification of high and low electron densities in molecules and the movement of electrons during a reaction. For incorrect responses, users will receive feedback on how they should revise their answer. This web site can serve as a great supplement to formal chemistry education. [RME]

Helping Your Child Learn Science [pdf, Microsoft Word]

Having trouble exciting your children about science? This online activities guide created by the U.S. Department of Education may provide the help you are seeking. Aimed at children ages three to 10, this web site provides information about outside resources, developing your child's scientific understanding, and working with teachers and schools. The strongest attributes of this tutorial are the many fun learning activities that can be performed in schools, at home, or around town. Using the materials at this web site, parents can help foster children's inquisitiveness about the nature of the world around them. [RME]

University of California - Berkeley - Exploring Magnetism: A Teacher's Magnetism Activity Guide for Grades 6-9 [Macromedia Flash Player]

Through the University of California - Berkeley's magnetism activity guide "students will act as scientists discovering magnetic fields and electromagnetism through inquiry and measurement." The materials, which can be viewed either in pdf of html format, are divided into three activity sessions and one chapter containing background information, outside resources, and a glossary for educators. By the end of the lessons, students will have designed a magnetometer boom, which is an integral piece of a spacecraft. This guide is a great learning experience because it relates the activities to real problems faced by scientists involved in NASA's STEREO mission. [RME]


Alaska Earthquake Information Center

Housed at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Alaska Earthquake Information Center reports and provides information on seismic activity in Alaska. While its southern Pacific coast colleague, California, gets a lot more attention when it comes to earthquakes, Alaska experienced a magnitude 6.7 earthquake already this summer and was rocked by a 7.9 in 2002. The site offers links to general information about the center, general earthquake information, research activities at the center, education and outreach materials (including information on seismology education projects), and much more. The site is well populated with materials and should provide a great resources for those interested in North American seismic events. [JPM]

ANSMET: The Antarctic Search for Meteorites

Directed by Dr. Ralph P. Harvey of Case Western Reserve University, ANSMET is a really cool project that seeks to find and study meteorites in the Antarctic. This great site not only takes the visitor to the Antarctic with Dr. Harvey and his research team but it does a great job of explaining why they go to Antarctica, what it's like living there, collecting meteorites, the journey of simply getting there, and lots more. One of the best parts of the site is the photos that accompany each section. Definitely a great site for aspiring researchers and certainly one that gives a look into the lives of researchers who go literally to the corners of the earth in search of knowledge. [JPM]

American Chemical Society: Green Chemistry Institute\index.html

Seeking to eliminate the use and production of hazardous substances, "The Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) was founded as an independent, nonprofit organization in 1997 to promote green chemistry through research, education, information dissemination, conferences and symposia." At this web site, visitors will find all sorts of information on meetings, news, conferences, and various educational opportunities and materials to assist chemistry professionals in practicing, studying, learning about green chemistry. For those interested, there is also a link for those wanting to join the Green Chemistry Institute's parent organization, the American Chemical Society. [JPM]

NASA: Cassini-Huygens Arrives at Saturn [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player, RealOne Player, QuickTime]

This NASA web site provides an abundance of multimedia features, images, and news updates on the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn. Users can discover amazing photographs of Saturn's largest moon, Titan; Saturn's rings; and much more. The site offers details about the mission's goal and schedule. Using Macromedia Flash Player, visitors can watch a terrific presentation about Saturn, its rings, Titan, and Saturn's other moons. Students and educators can download numerous colorful lithographs, holograms, and Cassini scale models. [RME]

Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Photo Gallery [tiff, jpeg]

The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) provides a gallery of numerous United States natural resources and conservation-related images at this web site. Visitors can search the photographs via state or category and by an advanced search. The site encompasses a variety of phenomena including flooding, dams, erosion by wind and water, sediment, soil surveys, and watersheds. These free images are available in two formats: TIFF or JPEG. [RME]

Coast Watch: Great Lakes Surface Water Temperatures

Maintained by the Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University's Remote Sensing and GIS Research and Outreach Service, this web site offers data on current surface temperatures of the five Great Lakes. Using interactive maps, users can specify size of temperature maps by the entire lake, a region, or a port. Students can find educational materials about general temperature concepts such as thermal fronts. Through these maps, users can learn about isotherms, temperature, satellite imagery, latitude and longitude, and more. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Phosphorus in Soil and Water

1 "Understanding Soil Phosphorus"
2 "Phosphorus Cycling in Wetlands"
3 "Phosphorus in Soil and Water"
4 "Water-quality patterns in agricultural areas"
5 "What's in our Water - An Initiative of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership: Keeping Our Blue Waters from Turning Green"
6 " Don't Waste this Stuff! Water - Treatment Residue May Ease an Environmental Concern"
7 "National Eutrophication Management Program: Measurement and treatment of the movement of phosphorus through subsoils"
8 "Watersheds, Lawn Care, and Water Quality"

Many waterways are considered polluted due, at least in part, to excessive amounts of phosphorus. This topic-in-depth delves into the issues surrounding phosphorus in the environment. First, Larry G. Bundy at the University of Wisconsin - Madison provides a slide show about phosphorus's presence in soils (1). Students can discover the agronomic need for phosphorus, its effects on water quality and management issues. The second web site, created by the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, offers a great overview of how wetlands affect the retention, cycling, and release of phosphorus in wetlands (2). Users will find a straightforward diagram of the phosphorus cycle in wetlands. Next, Manitoba Agriculture, Food, and Rural Initiatives present the reasons for careful management of phosphorus in fertilizers, manure, detergents, sewage, and industrial waste (3). The web site effectively summarizes how phosphorus gets into the surface water and negatively influences the environment. Developed by the USGS, the fourth web site addresses the pollution concerns surrounding agricultural landscapes (4). Visitors can learn about the amounts and effects of the erosion of phosphorus, as well as nitrogen and pesticides, on nearby streams and lakes. Next, the Minnesota Environmental Partnership discusses why Minnesota has restricted the use of phosphorus-containing fertilizers on lawns (5). Visitors can discover tips for buying fertilizers and how to deal with the leftovers. The sixth web site describes the USDA's Agricultural Research Service's findings that residue from water-treatment processes may increase soil's capacity to adsorb phosphorus (6). Users can discover how this may help reduce the transport of phosphorus into the watershed, especially in sandy soils. Next, the Australian Government's National Eutrophication Management Program presents its research examining phosphorus erosion, external things that affect its movement, predictive capabilities, and ways to reduce its movement (7). Visitors can learn about the researchers' discoveries that phosphorus can enter waterways through the subsoil. Lastly, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture describes the concept of a watershed and how they influence water quality (8). Users can find out how to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering nearby streams and lakes and how to help their watershed. [RME]

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