The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 20

October 1, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


CLIVAR: An International Research Programme on Climate Variability and Predictability

An International Research Programme on Climate Variability and Predictability's (CLIVAR) website discusses its investigations into natural and anthropogenic climate variability. While the Frequently Asked Questions link is currently under construction, users can still find out about CLIVAR's purpose, goals, objectives, implementation plan, priorities, and funding. Researchers can learn about upcoming conferences and workshops. The site offers illustrative information about the organization's research in global observations, global modeling, paleo data and modeling, and anthropogenic climate change. [RME]

The University of Queensland - The Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis

"The Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis is an interdisciplinary research and service facility dedicated to an understanding of the structure and composition of all materials at atomic, molecular, cellular and macromolecular scales." The web site features a variety of material science investigations. Researchers can learn about partaking in electron microscopy online, instrument reservations, and training. The website furnishes images and descriptions about the Center's many instruments, including transmission and scanning microscopes. [RME]

The University of Southampton: Surface Science and Heterogeneous Catalysis Research Group

At this website, the University of Southampton's Surface Science and Heterogeneous Catalysis Research Group features extensive materials on its research of surface dynamics, metal oxides, surface electrochemistry, mass spectrometry, and more. Researchers can view its many facilities including the electrochemical UHV transfer system and the reflection absorption IR spectroscopy UHV system. Users can find biographies of the many researchers associated with the group and a lengthy list of publications. [RME]

ESA: Observing the Earth (QuickTime, Windows Media Player, pdf, jpeg, Macromedia Flash Player, gif)

At this website, the European Space Agency (ESA) offers colorful images and straightforward descriptions of its Earth monitoring research which is intended to help to understand Earth, conserve the environment, mitigate natural disasters, and much more. Students and educators can learn how scientists observe Earth and how the data can be integrated in studying numerous world problems. Users can learn about ESA's involvement in the Kyoto Protocol, flood monitoring, epidemiology, and pollution tracking. The site presents educational opportunities, conferences, and other possibilities to become involved with earth observation. Everyone can enjoy the great images, videos, and bulletins available at the Multimedia link. [RME]

NIPR: National Institute of Polar Research [WMF]

The National Institute of Polar Research introduces its comprehensive polar research and administration of the Japanese Antarctic Research Expeditions (JARE) at this website. Users can view data, satellite and photographic images, and descriptions of the Institute's many upper atmosphere physics, meteorology, geology, geomorphology, and oceanography investigations. The site describes the Institute's developments of heavy-duty over snow vehicles, a waste-heat recovery system, and other engineering initiatives that benefit JARE. Researchers can learn about NIPR's various publications, International Science Programs, and upcoming symposiums. [RME]

USGS: Mineral Resources Program [pdf]

"The Mineral Resources Program funds science to provide and communicate current, impartial information on the occurrence, quality, quantity, and availability of mineral resources." This website divides the mineral resource information, project descriptions, and products for the United States into four main regional categories: Eastern, Central, Western, and Alaska. Researchers can discover new grant opportunities and can obtain access to the National Geochemical Survey's database. Students and educators can find statistics and information on how the United State's supply-and-demand for minerals and materials affects the economy, security, and environment. [RME]

Finnish Meteorological Institute [pdf]

This website presents the Finnish Meteorological Institute's objective "to provide the best possible information about the atmosphere above and around Finland, to ensure public safety relating to atmospheric and airborne hazards, and to satisfy requirements for specialized meteorological products." The site divides the Institute's countless research projects into six main categories: meteorology, air quality, middle and upper atmosphere, space research, climate change, and polar research. Each section contains concise, educational summaries and helpful images. Students can find tutorials about lightning, thunder, northern lights, and temperature. Users who can't seem to find the answers to their meteorological questions can correspond with the Institute's scientists. [RME]

NANO: Nanostructural Analysis Network Organisation

The Nanostructural Analysis Network Organisation's (NANO) website addresses its purpose of providing Australian universities, industries, and governments with a facility for nanometric analyses and manipulations of the structure and chemistry of physical and biological systems. Users can learn about the five main facilities of the organization as well as its use of light and laser optics, scanning electron microscopy, scanned probe techniques, and much more. This easily navigable site offers instructions on obtaining funding and participation in the organization's research. [RME]


Arizona State University: Surfaces and Thin Films

At this website, John Venables at Arizona State University offers chemistry students lecture notes about surface and thin film processes. After reading the introduction to surface processes, users can find more in-depth materials on surfaces in vacuums, techniques for examining surfaces, electric and magnetic processes, surface processes in epitaxial growth, and much more. Each main chapter contains figures and problems to help users understand the complicated concepts. This site can be a great addition to a textbook and formal class for chemistry students. [RME]

The Official String Theory Web Site [RealOne Player, Macromedia Flash Player]

The Official String Theory Web Site, created by a group of highly educated physicists, is a great resource for everyone interested in physics and the string theory. It begins with educational and stimulating discussion about theoretical physics and the basics of string theory. Users can find out about the experimental tests and the math used by string theorists. Visitors can take a trip through the Big Bang, view amazing images of black holes, and learn about the history of string theory. Students and educators can listen to interviews of the many scientists who contributed to this informative site. [RME]

Teacher's Corner: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Online Library [jpeg]

This Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument website provides useful educational materials about Mount St. Helens' volcanic eruption on May 18, 1980. Students and educators can learn how the fauna, flora, streams, and landforms were affected by the eruption and how they have recovered. The site, filled with extraordinary pictures and satellite images, offers a timeline of the volcano's eruptions and a discussion of the warning signs people documented before the eruption. Users can learn about the scientific investigations taking place on the volcano. [RME]

NOAA: Satellite Interpretation Tutorials/ Image Examples [pdf, Java, QuickTime]

This NOAA web site is an online repository of links to satellite interpretation tutorials created by well-known organizations. First the NOAA/NESDIS Forecast Products Development Team offers materials about the Basics of Satellite Remote Sensing, Image Enhancement Curves, and Thunderstorm Avoidance for pilots. Users can then find colorful, educational materials about GOES. Students can learn how, with the use of satellites, to observe and forecast flash floods and heavy precipitation, examine lake effects on local weather, and much more. Everyone interested in learning more about satellite imagery will benefit from this substantial warehouse of educational resources. [RME]

The College of Saint Benedict / Saint John's University: Elements of Astronomy

The College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University furnish an online version of Chapter II of Simon Newcomb's astronomy book, where he attempts to explain the laws of phenomena of celestial motions to "the inquiring layman seeking to know something of the heavenly bodies and their relation to the earth". With the help of many sketches, students and educators can learn about the earth, its motion around the sun, seasonality, the motion of the sun, solar and sidereal years, and equinoxes. While many of the explanations are still relevant today, Newcomb did live in the 19th to early 20th century and, consequently, some of the theories and concepts are dated and should be considered in a historical context. [RME]

Southern Illinois University: Surfaces and Contact Mechanics [pdf]

The Center for Advanced Friction Studies at Southern Illinois University developed a sequence of supplementary materials for graduate-level physics and engineering classes about surfaces and contact mechanics. Divided into a series of lectures, students and educators can find helpful figures and text about many aspects of surfaces and their characteristics such as surface stress, electron optics, and profilmetry. The website also covers two lessons concerning mechanical properties of materials: the classical theory of elastic deformation and the general formulation of elastic strain and stress. To help guide users about where to search for additional materials, the site provides a lengthy reference list. [RME]

EPA: The Great Lakes: An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book [gif]

This online atlas, produced by Environment Canada and the EPA, offers a wealth of information on numerous aspects of the Great Lakes environment. Students and educators can learn about its geology, climate, and groundwater as well as the management strategies and its human history. The abundance of effective diagrams and maps will help users understand the region's processes and characteristics. Individuals can discover the many alarming tribulations within the Great Lakes including toxic contaminants and the major geographic areas of concern. The web site provides facts and figures on the physical features, land and shoreline uses, and water withdrawals and consumptions. [RME]

Water on the Web [gif, Java]

Scientists and professionals from numerous organizations have collaborated to provide college and high school students with a plethora of tutorials and modules to help them "understand and solve real-world environmental problems." Users can find two sets of curricula: Basic Science for high school and first-year college students; and Water Science for second-year technical students or undergraduates in water resource management, water science, or environmental resource management programs. The site offers links to animated data, maps, and auxiliary materials for lakes and rivers in the United States. By visiting a series of primers, visitors can learn about instrumentation, water quality, watersheds, GIS, and more. The website is equipped with a helpful glossary and a wealth of links. Frequent visitors can check out the What's New page to discover the latest educational additions. [RME]


Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS): Official Soil Series Descriptions (OSD)

This Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) website provides essential details of the more than 20,000 soils series in the United States, as well as its Territories, Commonwealths, and Island Nations. The clear-cut descriptions can assist fieldworkers in identifying and classifying soils. Students and educators can learn about the typical pedons, soil characteristics, geographical locations, competing series, drainage and permeability, and use and management of specific series. Individuals can learn how to obtain hard copies of these valuable fact sheets. [RME]

IN-VSEE [RealOne Player, Netscape, Macromedia Shockwave Player, pdf, MetaStream 3, Java, QuickTime, Windows Media Player, Cosmos]

"IN-VSEE is a consortium of university and industry scientists and engineers, community college and high school science faculty and museum educators with a common vision of creating an interactive World Wide Web (WWW) site to develop a new educational thrust based on remote operation of advanced microscopes and nano-fabrication tools coupled to powerful surface characterization methods." After reviewing a summary of the organization, users can view animations, lecture videos, and other images that demonstrate the interdisciplinary nature of modern science. The website offers an abundance of educational modules covering many fundamental scientific principles. Teachers can find out about upcoming workshops. Anyone interested in the incorporation of new innovations into science education should visit this site. [RME]

Goddard Space Flight Center: Massive Merger of Galaxies is the Most Powerful on Record [QuickTime]

This Goddard Space Flight Center website furnishes a press release and visuals of the observation of the head-on collision of the two galaxy clusters. Users can learn why scientists are calling the occurrence "the perfect cosmic storm." The site offers biographies of a few of the scientists working on this story. While the public does not have access to the Entry Page link, everyone can enjoy many impressive images and movies of the x-ray brightness, collision, temperature, and pressure of this very powerful event. [RME]

National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC): Antarctic Glaciers Accelerating in Response to 2002 Ice Sheet Collapse

This National Snow and Ice Data Center's (NSIDC) press release at this website addresses the new findings of Antarctic glacial melting. Students and educators can learn how satellite images assist scientists in studying Earth's changes. Visitors can find a map of the study area, images of the ice sheet, and a tutorial explaining why glacial melting has accelerated. The website offers an abstract of the scientific journal article thoroughly explaining the phenomenon. Individuals can find links to additional information about this new discovery. [RME]

NOVA: What's up with the Weather? [Macromedia Flash Player, Macromedia Shockwave Player]

At this website, "NOVA and FRONTLINE examine the truth about global warming." Users can read opinions of climatologists, biologists, businessmen, and atmospheric scientists about the realities and impacts of global warming. Students and educators can view a series of maps illustrating the effects the melting of the Antarctic glaciers could have on sea level. The site addresses the importance of ice cores and dating techniques. The website addresses the benefits and costs of renewable energy. By taking the Home Energy quiz, individuals can discover easy ways to save energy. Those, who have views on global warming they would like to share can submit their thoughts to NOVA. [RME]

National Geographic News

Every science enthusiast will find countless, fascinating stories at this National Geographic website. The news site covers stories related to adventure and exploration, archaeology and paleontology, kids' news, science and technology, people and culture, the environment, and travel. Users can discover Special Series which cover emerging explorers, oceans, the pulse of the planet, and so much more. The incredible images warrant a visit all by themselves. [RME]

American Meteorological Society: DataStreme Atmosphere [gif]

DataStreme Atmosphere, a major teacher enhancement initiative of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), is dedicated to "the training of Weather Education Resource Teachers who will promote the teaching of science, mathematics and technology using weather as a vehicle, across the K-12 curriculum." The website offers many radar, surface, satellite, upper air, and forecast maps. Students can find a helpful key to weather map symbols. In the User's Guide link, visitors can locate useful information about equipment requirements, learning files, and numerous weather products. Educators interested in participating in weather education can learn how to apply to the DataStreme Project. [RME]

NWS Focus Newsletter

This National Weather Service (NWS) website furnishes weekly publications of the latest meteorological news and research. The site features an archive of all of the newsletters written since March 14, 2001. Throughout the articles, users can find enjoyable stories and wonderful photographs as well as links to relevant websites and press releases. Visitors can learn how to submit articles and photographs for publication. Along with weather-related pieces, the circular also covers institutional issues. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Non-linear Spectroscopy

The Wright Group
Non-linear Spectroscopy of Chiral Molecules Achieved (Microsoft PowerPoint)
ATMOL: Atomic and Molecular Physics at the University of Durham
Non-linear Spectroscopy using an Optical Cavity as an Absorption Cell
Regional Laser and Biomedical Technology Laboratories (RLBL) of the University of Pennsylvania
Laboratories for Biophysical Dynamics' Nano-Biophotonics group
LENS: European Laboratory for Non Linear Spectroscopy

First, the Wright research group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison presents its research using "narrow frequency distribution of tunable laser sources to gain spectral selectivity in an analytical measurement" (1). Along with a summary of its research and techniques, this website offers a great introduction to the fundamentals of non-linear spectroscopy. The second site describes the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's success in observing non-linear spectra from chiral molecules (2). With the help of a pictorial poster, users can understand the complex issues of chiral vibrations and spectra. Next, the Sasada lab at Keio University summarizes its research interests in optical communications (3 ). Visitors can find diagrams illustrating absolute frequency difference measurements and the techniques used in the work. The fourth website describes the Regional Laser and Biomedical Technology Laboratories (RLBL) of the University of Pennsylvania's applications of laser spectroscopy in the biochemical, biophysical, and biomedical fields (4 ). Researchers can find out about using the laboratory's facilities, its technological developments, educational opportunities, and much more. Next, the University of Durham describes its examination of spectroscopy of Rubidium vapor (5). Users can learn about its conclusions that "the standard designation of 'saturation spectroscopy' is a misnomer in multilevel systems where hyperfine pumping can occur." At the sixth site, the Laboratories for Biophysical Dynamics' Nano-Biophotonics group addresses its applications of nanotechnology and non-linear spectroscopy to the biology field (6). Visitors can find synopses of its four main research projects and a list of publications. Lastly, the European Laboratory for Non Linear Spectroscopy (LENS) offers an introduction to its goal "to provide advanced laser and spectroscopic facilities for researchers from European countries and to promote and facilitate the exchange of ideas, scientific techniques, and technical skills" (7). Individuals can fine descriptions of past and upcoming events and seminars, lists of publication, and training and job opportunities. [RME]

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