The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 18

September 3, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


University of Southampton: Inorganic Materials Group [Macromedia Flash Player]

The Inorganic Materials Group at the University of Southampton created this Macromedia Flash Player-enhanced website to present its research in "synthetic and structural inorganic materials chemistry with the purpose of tailoring and controlling useful physical properties of solid state compounds." Visitors can find information about the group's research interests and successes in the areas of nitrides, zeolites, superconducting oxides, isotopes, and more. The website presents clear descriptions and figures of the group's equipment and facilities including the wet laboratory and the inert atmospheres created in the glove box rooms. [RME]

NASA: Geodynamics Branch [pdf, Microsoft Word]

The Geodynamics Branch at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center conducts "research into the structure, dynamics, and evolution of the solid Earth and planets using space-techniques and remote sensing data." The website features the Branch's latest scientific findings, internship opportunities, and annual reports. Users can find fantastic images and text detailing many of its research projects such as the monitoring of oceanic islands with satellite remote sensing and the development of an interactive analysis tool to study the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) gridded data. Educators and students can find links to numerous, graphically enhanced tutorials and activities. [RME]

University of California - San Diego: Broadband Seismic Data Collection Center [QuickTime]

The University of California - San Diego's Broadband Seismic Data Collection Center offers real-time and archived data, maps, and graphs of measured earthquakes from all over the world. The easily navigable website supplies information about regional networks, arrays, and portable deployments that have been collected and analyzed by the Center. Users can find extensive, comprehensible materials on the Center's seven main projects: Anza real-time seismic array, Kyrgyzstan Seismic Network (KNET), High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN), Ocean Seismic Network Pilot Experiment (OSNPE), RoadNet, Earthscope USArray, and XML Standardization for Seismic Data. Researchers can find downloads of many of the Center's listed publications. Students and educators can discover downloadable visualizations, an interactive earthquake test, workshops, and much more. [RME]

University of Wisconsin - Madison: IceCube [pdf, Microsoft PowerPoint, RealOne Player]

This University of Wisconsin - Madison website presents the IceCube project, "a one-cubic-kilometer international high-energy neutrino observatory being built and installed in the clear deep ice below the South Pole Station." The site offers downloadable IceCube presentations, a brochure, educational movies, nice pictures, and other popular media. Students can learn about neutrinos and the benefits of building an observatory under the ice. Educators can discover workshops, classes, and other outreach resources. The website features the latest news, upcoming events, and employment opportunities as well. [RME]

"The experiment should help to 'improve methods to quantify uncertainties of climate projections and scenarios, including long-term ensemble simulations using complex models,' identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001 as a high priority." The website presents the objectives, experiments, and the results of the project, managed by the University of Oxford, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and the Open University. Visitors can learn how to help this project by allowing the organization time on their computers. Teachers and students can find many educational materials including an interactive glossary, climate modeling information, and experiment strategies. [RME]

Southampton Oceanography Centre

The Southampton Oceanography Centre, an institute of the University of Southampton and Natural Environment Research Council, "is one of the world's leading centres for research and education in marine and earth sciences, for the development of marine technology and for the provision of large scale infrastructure and support for the marine research community." This colorful website presents the highlights and in-depth descriptions of its many research themes, including sediments and the benthic boundary layer, palaeoceanography and climate change, and earth system science and modeling. Students and researchers can discover talks and other SOC events as well as the latest oceanographic news. Educators can find fun and interactive classroom materials about ocean and earth sciences. [RME]


Cornell University: Curious About Astronomy? Ask An Astronomer

At this website, volunteers in the Astronomy Department at Cornell University provide great educational materials about astronomy for educators and students. Visitors can find links to outside resources which cover many different aspects of astronomy and space science. The site provides links to biographies of the scientists who answer the many questions received each week. Users can find a huge archive of questions and answers divided into four main categories: the solar system, universe, observational astronomy, and miscellaneous. Visitors can also view a list of all the questions or search the archives by key words. If individuals can't find answers to their questions at this site, they can send their questions to the scientists. [RME]

The UK's National Measurement Laboratory: Beginners Guides to Measurement

At this website, the UK's National Measurement Laboratory offers beginner guides to introduce important features and concepts of measurement for the areas of acoustics, atomic time, color, computing and measurement, electricity, ionizing radiation, length, light, mass, materials, temperature, and traceability and uncertainty. Each guide contains concise, intelligible descriptions along with helpful illustrations. Visitors can find additional information about the history of length and units of measurement. Students and educators can obtain copies of these guides as posters. [RME]

Rocky Mountain Institute: Information for Kids

The Rocky Mountain Institute provides colorful materials to educate children about energy and water. Students can discover what energy is and how we use it. In the Water link, visitors can find answers to basic questions about the physical properties of water, its origin, its importance, and more. The website offers great ideas on how children can help conserve energy and water resources. Children can learn how to submit their energy-saving ideas as well as their questions to the Institute. Educators can find links to numerous outside educational resources dealing with a wide range of environmental issues. [RME]

BioChemHub: The Online Biology and Chemistry Education Center

This great website, developed by Schmidel and Wojcik, is a database filled with educational sites to help students in various aspects of biochemistry. Users can find many references and tutorials for topics in general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and biotechnology. Individuals considering a career in chemistry can find helpful information about colleges, graduate schools, teaching science, and science careers. The website presents the latest science news as well as many science tools such as a periodic table and a molar mass calculator. Anyone with an interest in chemistry and biology will find helpful materials at this site. [RME]

National Snow and Ice Data Center: All About Snow

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) provides innumerable educational materials about snow at this website. Students can find answers to many of their snow questions in the Q & A link. The site features remarkable pictures of blizzards and snow. Users can find an enlightening account about how early settlers dealt with snow in the Midwest and Northeast United States. The Avalanche Awareness link addresses common concerns about the causes, dangers, anatomy, and locations of avalanches. The website also offers numerous links to educational, data collections, and snow science sites. [RME]

Canadian Astronomy Education: A Project by the Canadian Astronomical Society [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

The Canadian Astronomical Society offers educational astronomy materials for teachers, students, youth organizations, and professional and amateur astronomers. Educators can find astronomy curriculum expectations for Canada, a list of science centers and observatories, activity ideas, lesson plans, star charts, and much more. The website features an informative biography of the astronomer of the month. Students can find an interactive tour of the universe and great tips to help them learn astronomy as well as information about astronomy careers, clubs, and science fairs. Novice astronomers can obtain guides about buying telescopes and observing. This high-quality site is sure to have appealing materials for all individuals interested in astronomy. [RME]


Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Technology [QuickTime, jpeg]

At this website, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory promotes new and breakthrough technologies "that will change the way we explore our solar system and beyond." After reading a concise overview of technological advances, users can discover how they will assist NASA in fulfilling its many goals. The site discusses the Laboratory's many technology programs and advanced facilities. While the gallery of videos and presentations are still being constructed, the large gallery of images offers an entertaining means for users to easily understand space science research. [RME]

PANGAEA Publishing House: Alfred Wegener

The publishing house, PANGAEA, provides a short biography of the German climatologist and geophysicist, Alfred Wegener, at this website. Students and educators can discover the impact his book The Origin of Continents and Oceans has had on the understanding of plate tectonics and continental drift. The site begins by recounting Wegener's early meteorological adventures in the North Pole. Through the vivid descriptions, users can then learn about the rejections he faced for decades before enough evidence was collected for most scientists to believe that continents do indeed move. This concise site offers individuals a chance to recognize a great scientist of our time. [RME]

The La Silla Observatory

This European Southern Observatory website features the La Silla Observatory's latest news, telescopes, and observation reports. Visitors can find sun and moon tables, a meteorological monitor, and satellite maps. Students can learn how the mountain's geologic and geographic features impact observational abilities. Researchers can find out about visiting the Observatory and how to apply to use the observation equipment. Everyone can view amazing images of La Silla's Chilean landscape and the Observatory's facilities. [RME]

Volcano Live [Windows Media Player, jpeg]

The volocanologist John Seach provides the latest volcano news and information on volcanoes all across the world. The website provides fun hands-on activities, tutorials in volcano safety and volcanology, and a glossary. Students can discover the geography of many areas of the world and how it impacts the likelihood of volcanic eruptions. Users can find links to numerous volcano cameras and maps. The amazing images of volcanoes from Seach's expeditions are a great addition to this informative site. [RME]

Global Observing Systems Information Center: Acronyms

Do you ever become confused by all of the acronyms and abbreviations used in climatology, meteorology, and in earth monitoring research? The Global Observing Systems Information Center at the University of Delaware may just have the answers you are seeking. This website offers an extensive alphabetical list of the many acronyms used worldwide. Besides discovering the meanings of these abbreviations, users can find links to most of the organizations home pages. This duel role allows visitors to discover the abundance and diversity of research taking place in meteorology, climatology, and other scientific fields which use global observing systems. [RME]

National Science Foundation: Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching [pdf]

Established in 1983 by The White House and sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) Program "identifies outstanding mathematics and science teachers, kindergarten through 12th grade, in each state and the four U.S. jurisdictions." The website presents information about past awardees, the program, and its associations. Visitors can find out how to nominate their model teachers for this prestigious award. Nominated teachers can locate the materials necessary to complete their application. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Geology of Earth's Moon

Lunar Seismology
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) Planned Missions
PDS Map-A-Planet
Volcanism on the Moon
Moon Rocks through the Microscope: A Web Gallery of Images
Science Channel video clips
Understanding the Moon
Historical Lunar Data Archive

First, researchers at the University of California, San Diego discuss the importance of studying earthquakes on the moon, also known as moonquakes, and the Apollo Lunar Seismic Experiment (1). Users can discover the problems scientists must deal with when collecting the moon's seismic data. The students at Case Western Reserve University created the second website to address three missions the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) has planned between now and 2010, including a mission to the moon (2). Visitors can learn about the Lunar-A probe that will be used to photograph the surface of the moon, "monitor moonquakes, measure temperature, and study the internal structure." Next, the Planetary Data Service (PDS) at the USGS offers users four datasets that they can use to create an image of a chosen area of the moon (3). Each dataset can be viewed as a basic clickable map; a clickable map where users can specify size, resolution, and projection; or an advanced version where visitors can select areas by center latitude and longitude. The fourth site, produced by Robert Wickman at the University of North Dakota, presents a map of the volcanoes on the moon and compares their characteristics with those on earth (4). Students can learn how the gravitational forces on the Moon affect the lava flows. Next, Professor Jeff Ryan at the University of South Florida at Tampa supplies fantastic images and descriptive text of the lunar rocks obtained by the Apollo missions (5). Visitors can find links to images of meteorites, terrestrial rocks, and Apollo landings as well. At the Science Channel website, students and educators can find a video clip discussing the geologic studies on the moon along with videos about planets (6). Users can learn about how studying moon rocks help scientists better understand the formation of the earth. Next, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum presents its research of "lunar topography, cratering and impacts basins, tectonics, lava flows, and regolith properties" (7). Visitors can find summaries of the characteristics of the moon and the main findings since the 1950s. Lastly, the USGS Astrogeology Research Program provides archived lunar images and data collected between 1965 and 1992 by Apollo, Lunar Orbiter, Galileo, and Zond 8 missions (8). While the data is a little old, students and educators can still find valuable materials about the moon's topography, chemical composition, and geology. [RME]

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