The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 21

October 15, 2004

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

A Note to our Readers




Topic In Depth

A Note to our Readers

Join Us in Observing Scout's 10th Anniversary

For the past ten years, the Internet Scout Project has focused on developing better tools and services for finding, filtering, and presenting online information and metadata. From the outset, our goal at Scout has been to provide value to our users. As we mark Scout's 10th anniversary, we'd love to hear from you about your experiences using our reports, our archives, or our software. Please take a moment and email me,, with any anecdotes you'd care to share with us and others. We plan to post a sampling of your comments on the Scout website in the near future.

Warm regards,

Chris Long
Managing Editor


ISVR: Institute of Sound and Vibration Research at the University of Southampton [pdf]

At this website, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at the University of Southampton features its research and educational opportunities dealing with noise and vibrations. Users can find materials about virtual acoustics, aeroacoustics, high frequency vibrations, and many other ISVR projects. Researchers can learn about ISVR's vacancies and about upcoming conferences such as the international Noise and Vibration (NOVEM) meetings. The work presented at this website is a great example of how an understanding of physics can benefit people's lives. [RME]

University of Wisconsin - Madison: The SoLIM Project

The SoLIM (Soil Land Inference Model) Project, based in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, "is a new technology for soil mapping based on recent developments in geographic information science (GISc), artificial intelligence (AI), and information representation theory." Visitors can learn about the many limitations to the current soil survey and how SoLIM's approach has tried to overcome these limitations. Users will find a detailed summary of two of SoLIM's projects: updating the Dane County soil survey and applying the SoLIM approach to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park soil survey. The website offers a summary and tutorial to the 3dMapper, "a landscape visualization and three-dimensional mapping application". [RME]

Geophysics at University of Buffalo [pdf]

The University of Buffalo's geophysics group studies primarily "problems related to noninvasive characterization of the upper 200 meters of the subsurface." Visitors can find an introduction to the field of environmental geophysics and discover how the research can benefit society. The website offers a brief synopsis of the group's research projects and funding as well as descriptions of its equipment and a lengthy list of publications. Researchers interested in this type of work can learn how to collaborate with the geophysics group. [RME]

University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign: Environmental Isotope Geochemistry / Hydrogeology [pdf]

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Professor Tom Johnson's environmental geology research group is currently investigating the fate and transport of redox-sensitive contaminants. The website offers descriptions and helpful figures explaining the group's four main projects dealing with selenium isotopes, chromium isotope ratios, the fate and transport of nitrates, and isotope ratios as groundwater flow tracers. Visitors can find a list of the facilities available to the group including in-depth details at the thermal ionization mass spectrometer. [RME]

Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics: X-Ray Astronomy

This website features the latest space science news, research activities, projects, and laboratories of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics' X-Ray Astronomy group. Visitors can view images and read clear summaries of its research in the areas of galactic and extragalactic astronomy. Researchers can learn about the group's instrumental techniques using soft and hard X-rays such as imaging with Wolter telescopes and multi-wire proportional counters. In the Data Center, visitors can explore the group's data analysis software and user data archives. The site provides links to its innumerable collaborators. [RME]

British Antarctic Survey

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) created this website to display its role in the scientific research, surveys, and long term observations of the past and present environments of Antarctica and the surrounding regions. After discovering the mission and organization of BAS, visitors can learn about BAS's interests in Antarctic ice and rising sea levels, climate change, the ozone hole, and the evolution of the geosphere. The site supplies press releases, publications, and materials on meetings and conferences. Researchers can find numerous links to geological, physical, environmental, and biological data resources. Students can explore the ice, rock, and weather of Antarctica. After learning about the difficulties of living and working on this frigid continent, users may have a new appreciation for the researchers' work. [RME]

UC Davis Cosmology Group

This UC-Davis web site promotes its cosmology research, investigators, and related events. Users can find links to the group's four main research projects: Deep Lens Survey, The Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS), the proposed development of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), and Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty - cm (FIRST). The site offers extensive descriptions and images of many of the individual researchers' activities as well. Visitors can find a series of links to external cosmology research, educational opportunities, and groups. [RME]

CER: Centre for Environmental Research at the University of Limerick

The Centre for Environmental Research (CER) encompasses research in many science areas at the University of Limerick including biochemistry, hydrogeology, geochemistry, and hydrology. The website features the current projects of the director, Professor Richard Moles, whose interests incorporate "integrated assessment, system dynamics and spatial modelling, interactive research, sustainable development, plant and bird ecology, landscape evolution, soil science, geomorphology, and pollution pathways." Users can find links to CER's three main themes: environmental catalysis and chemistry, scientific management of environmental quality, and environmental technology. There, individuals can obtain extensive information on the researchers, their interests, and publications. [RME]


University of Wisconsin-Madison: Paleontology Student Activities

The Paleontological Experiences course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides great hands-on experiments that have been submitted by teachers across Wisconsin. The fun exercises are divided into three levels: elementary, middle, and high school. Through the activities, students will dig for fossils, map sites, learn about geological time scale, and much more. The Teacher Notes link offers a brief, yet comprehensive, summary of cladistics and diagrams. Users can find descriptions of latex molds, cast-making, and other techniques. This website is sure to excite students about paleontology. [RME]

The University of Hull: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) [Microsoft PowerPoint]

Gary P. Liney, at the University of Hull, offers an introduction to magnetic resonance physics and techniques. Users can download presentations about spin-echo and Fourier Transformation. The website discusses a host of artifacts such as Gibbs Ringing, chemical shift, and susceptibility. Students and educators can learn about the magnet, RF Coils, gradients, and other instruments used to produce MRIs. The many animations and figures help users learn about the difficult physical concepts. [RME]

Northern Illinois University: Glaciers

Northern Illinois University offers illustrative summary of glaciers and glacial processes. The website provides a timeline of the glacial advances into Illinois. Students and educators can learn a few of the landscape features that scientists use to interpret geologic history. Users can learn how glaciers affected Illinois's topography and waterbodies. The site furnishes educational maps of Illinois's bedrock geology and shaded relief. The text is linked to a glossary to assist users with glacial terminology. While this website does concentrate on the state of Illinois, everyone can learn basic characteristics of glacial movements. [RME]

The Astronomy Thesaurus

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the extensive amount of jargon used in astronomy? This web site may offer visitors with an easy way to compare astronomy material from different authors. The Astronomy Thesaurus, created by Robyn M. Shobbrook of the Anglo-Australian Observatory and Robert R. Shobbrook of Sydney University, provides a way to standardize the terminology in the field of astronomy. Users can search through the web site alphabetically or by keywords. By supplying the thesaurus in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, this web site may also help individuals communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds. [RME]

The ChemCollective: Online Resources for Teaching and Learning Chemistry [Java]

"The Chemistry Collective is a collection of virtual labs, scenario-based learning activities, and concepts tests which can be incorporated into a variety of teaching approaches as pre-labs, alternatives to textbook homework, and in-class activities for individuals or teams." The website, created by Carnegie Mellon University for college and high school teachers, allows users to easily find activities to use in the classroom, modify or create activities, submit activities and websites, and discuss issues in improving teaching and learning in chemistry. Educators can determine which activities are right for their classroom with the provided difficulty ranking and instructor comments. Students can enjoy learning about chemistry by solving a murder mystery and participating in the countless other excellent virtual activities. In order to take part in the virtual laboratories, users do have to download the free virtual lab. [RME]

University of Wisconsin-Madison: What is the Ultimate Fate of the Universe? [QuickTime]

This website, created by Molly Read for the Observational Cosmology Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, discusses the ancient questions about the development of the universe, its limits, and its fate. After reading a brief history of the field of cosmology, students and educators can learn about Olbers' Paradox, Hubble Expansion, the big bang theory, electromagnetic spectrum, and cosmic microwave background. The text contains many helpful diagrams, images, short videos, and links to a glossary. Novices interested in cosmology can find plenty of educational materials at this site. [RME]

Environment Canada: Freshwater - Teacher's Corner [pdf]

Environment Canada's Freshwater web site offers primary to post secondary teachers with water - related educational materials to supplement their curriculum. This site supplies seven tutorials, which incorporate presentations, activity books, experiments, and problem sets. Users can find nine water fact sheets covering topics in water supply; pollution, distribution, and conservation problems; and Canada's freshwater. While all of the publications are available on the web, teachers can also order some of the materials in print, free of charge. [RME]

Arizona State University - Stephen J. Reynolds: Arizona Geology [QuickTime, Microsoft Word, pdf]

"This web site of Steve Reynolds, geology professor at Arizona State University, contains numerous color photographs, 3D perspectives, and information about the Geology of Arizona, Landscapes of the Southwest, structural geology, science-education reform, and using Bryce5 to illustrate geology." Through the use of QuickTime, students and educators can take a tour of topography of a landscape, explore geologic structures, observe panoramas of painted caves, and much more. The site features an excellent tutorial about geologic maps. Educators can learn about an experiment testing the role of spatial abilities of college students in geology. With so many visualization tools available, everyone involved with geology education will benefit by visiting this site. [RME]


The United Nations Environment Programme: Freshwater [pdf]

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) addresses the issue of how the decline in the quantity and quality of the world's freshwater resources "may prove to be the dominant issue on the environment and development agenda of the coming century." Users can learn about water scarcity, water and sanitation, water quality, groundwater, floods and droughts, and other key water-related issues. The website provides links to case studies of some of these key issues such as the mitigation of the impact of urbanization on freshwater resources in Africa. Researchers can find conference proceedings, information on institutions and programs dealing with water resource issues, and policy documentation. [RME]

The National Water and Climate Center [pdf, Java]

The National Water and Climate Center, a division of the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), offers the latest water and climate news and information "to help people conserve, maintain, and improve our natural resources and environment." Users can receive water supply forecasts, snow data, and the latest program updates. The web site introduces the Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN), which is available for most of the United States, and the SNOTEL Data Network, which supplies real-time Snow and Climate data in mountainous regions in the Western United States. Researchers can obtain copies of many of the hydraulics and hydrology tools and models including HecRas, which estimates water surface profiles, and EFH2, which determines peak discharge. The site provides an abundance of conservation planning information about nutrient, pest, animal waste management, and salinity management, as well as water quality, wetlands, and drainage. [RME]

EPA : AirData: Access to Air Pollution Data [Macromedia Flash Player]

The AirData Web site provides access to air pollution data for the entire United States. Users can discover the highest ozone levels in their state, where sources of air pollution are located, and much more. The Environmental Protection Agency offers annual summaries of air pollution data from two databases: Air Quality System (AQS) and the National Emission Inventory (NEI). Users can discover the chemicals whose emission levels are monitored as well as the chemicals that are created in the atmosphere. By selecting the desired factors, users can easily generate a map or report of air pollution data. [RME]

Space Flight Now [pdf, QuickTime]

Space Flight Now offers the latest space news from around the world. Visitors can discover information on current missions, launch schedules, and mission reports. Along with providing the space news headlines, the web site supplies news archives so people can catch up on the activities of the space science world. Visitors can enjoy video footage from cameras onboard recent rocket launches. While users do have to subscribe to obtain many of the videos and audio recordings, individuals can benefit from the free up-to-date astronomy news stories and a few videos. [RME]

Institute of Mineralogy, University of Wurzburg: Links for Mineralogists

The Institute of Mineralogy, University of Wurzburg offers "subcategorized, annotated lists of web sites, especially for mineralogists, petrologists, crystallographers," and geologists at this website. Educators can find innumerable links to lecture notes and tutorials. Besides finding links explaining geologic concepts, users can locate helpful websites containing databases, glossaries, software, employment opportunities, and much more. Individuals who visit this website often can check out the What's New link to discover the newest geology links. [RME]

Drought Monitor

The Drought Monitor is "a synthesis of multiple indices, outlooks and news accounts, that represents a consensus of federal and academic scientists." The National Drought Mitigation Center offers drought maps of current conditions, short-term and long-term drought indicators, and animations of the United States. Land managers can view climate outlook maps for about the next 12 months. Researchers can find archived data of droughts since 1999. Users can learn about the National Drought Mitigation Center involvement with the North America Drought Monitor cooperative effort. [RME]

CDGPS Remote Monitoring Station (CDGPS-RMS): The Real-Time Canada-wide

DGPS Service

"The CDGPS Remote Monitoring Station (CDGPS-RMS) was conceived to provide an on-line (via the Internet) review of the real-time wide-area GPS corrections broadcast by the Canada-wide DGPS (CDGPS) service." Visitors can find information about the station's position, hardware, and limitations. The website provides live RMS access to a scatter-plot view of the GPS reported fixes, a graph of the trend of position component errors over time, and a statistics tabulation of the fixes and accuracies. Users can access past corrections at the Archives link. [RME]

Hawaii Center for Volcanology

At this website, individuals can learn how the Hawaii Center for Volcanology is working to realize its goal of bringing together experts from around the state of Hawaii in order to better understand the Hawaiian volcanoes. Users can obtain information on the geography, geology, and eruptive history of Mauna Loa, Kilauea, Loihi, Hualalai, Mauna Kea, and Waianae. The site supplies an online version of Titus Coan's enlightening book Life in Hawaii, which is about his observation of active volcanism in the 19th century. Visitors can enjoy the many spectacular images of lava channels, lakes, jets, and much more. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument [Windows Media Player]
Mount St. Helens [Quicktime, gif]
Mount St. Helens, Washington
Mount St. Helens Seismicity Information
Narrative of Mount Saint Helens
NASA Infrared Images May Provide Volcano Clues [jpeg]
Mount St. Helens Blows Steam, Ash
Mount St. Helens streams and swells [Internet Explorer Browser]

Mount St. Helens, the most active volcano in the Cascade Range, caught the public's attention when massive eruptions began in 1980. With new eruptions and earthquakes taking place recently, people are being reminded of the grave dangers associated with this volcano. The first website, provided by the USDA Forest Service, presents the research, recreational, and educational activities at the 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument, created in 1982 (1). Users can find live pictures and videos of Mount St. Helens and read about the latest volcanic activity. Second, the University of North Dakota supplies great retrospective of the 1980 explosion (2). Through a series of incredible pictures, students can discover how a huge eruption can drastically change the surrounding landscape. Users can take a virtual trip up the volcano from the trailhead to the summit. At the next website, the USGS provides links to current seismicity and real-time eruption and hydrologic monitoring data (3). Educators can find numerous pictures and figures illustrating the physical features of a volcano. Next, the Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network supplies seismographic and volcanic data for Mount St. Helens (4). While Mount St. Helens is considered the most active volcano in the Pacific Northwest at the moment, visitors can also discover the potential for earthquakes and significant volcanic activity at other locations in the Pacific Northwest. At the fifth website, the Wheeling Jesuit University offers a historical narrative of the serenity of the volcano and its periodic rages (5). While this site does not provide in-depth materials and data like the other sites, the straightforward writing style may be more beneficial to younger audiences. The sixth website is a news release from NASA describing the possibility that infrared digital images could "provide valuable clues as to how" Mount St. Helens erupted on October 1, 2004 (6). Through the many enlightening images of the lava dome, users can learn about how digital infrared imagery's master bands and associated wavelengths are used to characterize different features of the volcano. Next, in a press release, the National Geographic describes the Mount St. Helens eruption this month (7). Students and educators can discover how earthquakes are caused as rainwater encounters hot rock in the fall and how this process may impact the activity of volcanoes. The web site also introduces individuals to the Ring of Fire. Lastly, MSNBC offers a news article and video on the molten magma rising in Mount St. Helens, the current activity levels, and the advisories (8). The web site features a link describing the newest sensors that may assist scientists in predicting explosions.

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The NSDL Scout Report for the Physical Sciences.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

From The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2004.

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2004. 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.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

Internet Scout Project Team
Rachel Enright Editor
John Morgan Managing Editor
Rachael Bower Co-Director
Edward Almasy Co-Director
Nathan Larson Contributor
Valerie Farnsworth Contributor
Debra Shapiro Contributor
Max Grinnell Contributor
Todd Bruns Internet Cataloger
Barry Wiegan Software Engineer
Justin Rush Technical Specialist
Michael Grossheim Technical Specialist
Andy Yaco-Mink Website Designer

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout Project staff page.