The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 22

October 29, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


SPARC: Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate [pdf]

Stratospheric Processes and Their Role in Climate (SPARC), a key project of the World Climate Research Programme, was created in 1992 "to consolidate knowledge on the role of the stratosphere in climate and develop understanding of the processes involved." The web site provides an outline of the SPARC organization and its initiatives. Students and educators can learn about major influence stratospheric processes have on the Earth's climate. The web site offers a useful acronyms and abbreviations glossary and information on the SPARC Data Center. Visitors can download many of SPARC's reports, new and archived newsletters, and other climate related publications. Researchers can discover upcoming meetings and conferences. [RME]

Williams College Astronomy [Macromedia Shockwave Player]

The Williams College Astronomy web site promotes its educational and research activities dealing with many aspects of coronal heating, planetary nebulae, solar eclipses, relativistic astrophysics, and related astronomical topics. The web site features the latest astronomical news stories and a bulletin of the latest activities of the group. By visiting the People link, researchers can discover the many research activities and published papers on subjects including studying the sun at total solar eclipses and detecting diatomic carbon molecule (C2) in interstellar space. Students and educators can find numerous images of planetary nebulae observed at Kitt Peak National Observatory and Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory as well as a short introduction to planetary nebulae and two exercises to explore the image database. The web site offers a great tutorial and history of solar eclipses. Visitors can learn about the history of the Hopkins Observatory, the oldest observatory in the United States. [RME]

Centre for Applied Organic Geochemistry [pdf]

The Centre for Applied Organic Geochemistry at the Curtin University of Technology presents its research in the "areas of petroleum exploration, potable water quality and treatment and environmental management" at this web site. After determining why these research topics are important to Australia, users can find out about the group's many research projects in four main areas: petroleum geochemistry, water chemistry, stable isotope, and soil science. Students can read the research summaries of current PhD students and can find out about fellowship opportunities. The web site offers a lengthy list of the group's publications since 1999. [RME]

IPRC: International Pacific Research Center [pdf]

The International Pacific Research Center's (IPRC) web site addresses its focus on "climate variation and predictability in the Asia-Pacific region, including regional aspects of global environmental change." The web site offers the goals and objectives of the research activities in IPRC's four main themes: Indo-Pacific Ocean Climate, Regional Ocean Influences, Asian-Australian Monsoon System, and Impacts of Global Environmental Change. Visitors can find information on the people involved with IPRC, its international meetings and workshops, the latest news, and potential employment opportunities. The web site offers downloads of IPRC's annual reports; semiannual newsletter, IPRC Climate; and workshop publications. [RME]

The University of Arizona: Department of Geosciences [pdf]

The Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona addresses their wide range of research activities "dealing with the nature, genesis, and history of the Earth and its crust, and with the evolution of the environment and biota at the Earth's surface." The expansive web site illustrates the Department's many programs in three major categories: the Solid Earth, Earth Materials and Chemistry, and Earth Climate and Ecosystems. Users can view wonderful images of the researchers working in various areas throughout the world. Students can discover the advantages of becoming a geoscientist and can find countless ways to become involved in this field of study. With such an abundance of geology related materials and links provided, anyone interested in the geosciences will benefit form visiting this web site. [RME]

GIS Laboratory at the University of Southern California [pdf]

The GIS Laboratory at the University of Southern California "develops new analytic tools, builds spatially explicit urban and environmental modeling applications, conducts spatial analysis, and produces customized maps and related information products." At the Research link, visitors can find summaries and papers about their projects including the evaluation of sediment management options and terrain analysis and modeling. The web site features downloads of presentations and theses as well as summaries of upcoming lectures. While a few of the links currently do not have information such as the educational programs or opportunities, the author does disclose that when these items become available they will be presented at the web site. [RME]

CLIVAR: Asian-Australian Monsoon Panel [pdf]

This World Climate Research Programme on Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) web site promotes the Asian-Australian Monsoon Panel's investigations of the annual monsoon cycle and its variability. Researchers can find out about the latest workshops and conferences including the Indian Ocean Modelling Workshop in Hawaii. The site features many Monsoon Panel reports detailing the innumerable monsoon process studies, monitoring activities, and modeling strategies. Visitors can read a few concise articles describing monsoon activity in Asia and Australia. [RME]

University of Alaska Fairbanks - Red Sprites and Blue Jets [pdf, QuickTime]

This web site, maintained by Matt Heavner, presents the research dealing with the middle and upper atmospheric optical and electrical phenomena conducted at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Students can find an introduction to sprites and jets, discover the hardships associated with viewing the phenomena, and view short movies of the events. Researchers can learn how the group is attempting to determine how sprites and jets affect the terrestrial electrical environment. The web site provides links to other groups observing sprites and downloads to dissertations describing aspects of sprites research. [RME]


Ology: Earth - Our World in Motion [Macromedia Flash Player]

Designed to excite children about earth processes, this web site is the newest edition to the American Museum of Natural History's Ology web pages, first reported on by the NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences on May 8, 2002. Through a series of images and explanations, users can explore igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks; as well as volcanoes, mountains, earthquakes, and Pangaea. Visitors can discover cool facts, evidence, theories, and NASA missions of the planets in our solar system. The web site features a special presentation on the value of jade. Students can take an entertaining virtual journey to the ocean's deep sea vents. Children and educators can find fun earth projects including growing rock candy, making a weather station, starting a rock collection, and creating a compass. [RME]

NASA Explorer Schools [RealOne Player, Microsoft Word]

"Schools from across the country are eligible to apply online for an opportunity to partner with NASA in a program designed to bring engaging mathematics, science, and technology learning to educators, students, and families." The educational materials, designed for students in grades fourth through ninth, available at the web site include interesting articles, games, astronaut interviews, and news. Visitors can find the latest Explorer School Newsletters, important application materials, and deadlines. Educators and parents can learn how this NASA program can be an important asset to their students' science learning experiences. [RME]

Exploratorium: Sport Science [RealOne Player]

This Exploratorium web site provides creative educational materials for introductory physics students and teachers. Users can learn about the science behind a homerun, find out how the physics of balance helps enthusiasts surf the waves, and discover the physics behind many other popular sports. The web site is equipped with interviews, enticing images, and enthralling descriptions. Visitors can find interesting articles covering sports topics such as fitness challenges for climbers and the way balls bounce. With these inventive tutorials, students are sure become enthused about physics. [RME]

National Geographic Kids News: Space and Science

This National Geographic web site provides educators and parents a great way to teach children about the exciting new discoveries and advances in space and science. Users can find numerous creative news stories equipped with inspiring photographs. At the end of each article, visitors can find related links where they can find further information on the topic. Along with new stories, the web site provides archived articles from about the past year. Examples of current stories include the creation of electricity by waves and the formation of hazy days due to air pollution. [RME]

El Nio and La Nia: Tracing the Dance of Ocean and Atmosphere [pdf]

The National Academies offer materials about the varying effects El Nio and La Nia have around the world. Students can discover why, during an El Nio, parts of Australia experience large wild bush fires while areas in California face major flooding. Users can learn how scientists approached the El Nio dilemma - first by studying the atmosphere and then by examining the oceanographic system. The web site contains many images and figures illustrating the changes in the atmospheric and oceanic circulation from normal to El Nio conditions. The tutorial is available as a pdf file for printing. [RME]

Landslides Hazards [Macromedia Flash Player]

At this USGS educational web site, the public can realize the nature and problems of landslides. Individuals can learn how wildfires can induce debris flows and other types of landsides. Within the National Landslide Information Center link, students and educators can find landslide fact sheets, numerous images of landslides, an interactive module on debris flows, and materials about current USGS landslide projects. The web site features a searchable bibliographic database, lists of publications, and links to local organizations dealing with this natural hazard.

The University of Texas at Dallas - Regional Flow and Flow Nets

At this web site, Dr. T. Brikowski at the University of Texas at Dallas offers supplementary materials on the flow equation and flow nets for hydrogeology students. Students can find simple explanations and equations for vertical averaging, transmissivity, and storativity. Under the Flow Equation link, users can find many figures and descriptions that will help them understand the major concepts in hydrogeology related to confined and unconfined flow, hydraulic conductivity, and Darcy's Law. The web site offers instructions on how to construct and use flow nets. While this web site is not a substitute for normal classroom lectures, students may find it useful while studying. [RME]

The Physical Environment: An Introduction to Physical Geography [Macromedia Flash Player, Windows Media Player, RealOne Player, QuickTime]

Michael Ritter at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point offers a well written online introductory textbook on physical geography. Students and educators can find nineteen chapters equipped with animations, interactive materials, and audio. At the end of each chapter, visitors can find review questions, a quiz, an overview of important terms and concepts, and links to additional resources. The web site offers a helpful glossary and links to a wealth of atlases. This is a great resource for anyone interested in the physical world. [RME]


Odden's Bookmarks

Created in 1995 by Roelof Oddens, a curator of the map library at Utrecht University, the Oddens Bookmark database now contains over 22,000 links about maps, cartography and GIS data. Users can search the resources by keyword, country, category, or by browsing through subject headings. Besides the abundance of maps and map data, visitors can find links to cartography departments, libraries, literature, and societies. Because the links cover span the entire world, this web site is a great starting point for anyone interested in maps and mapping. [RME]


Produced by N. MacLeod in cooperation with the University of California Berkeley Museum of Paleontology and the Natural History Museum, "PaleoNet is a system of list servers, www pages, and ftp sites designed to enhance electronic communication among paleontologists." The web site offers a useful User's Guide, to help individuals determine how to best to utilize the abundant resources. Educators and students can find numerous galleries illustrating the ancient Earth. Paleontologists can search for employment and academic opportunities, meetings, and much more. While primarily designed for paleontological professionals and graduate students, anyone interested in paleontology can participate and take advantage of the innumerable resources at this web site. [RME]

NASA ISS EarthKam [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player, Microsoft PowerPoint]

ISS EarthKam (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) "is a NASA sponsored program that provides stunning, high quality photographs of our planet taken" by middle school students from the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. Visitors can view Macromedia Flash Player and PowerPoint slide shows displaying the highlights of the program and a selection amazing images collected. The web site offers summaries of the latest, past, and future station missions. Users can explore the thousands of images collected by EarthKam via an online database or by a sequence of image collections. Educators and students will discover many activities, tutorials, guides, and other instructional materials that use EarthKam images to address scientific concepts. [RME]

The National Space Science and Technology Center [jpeg, Macromedia Flash Player]

The National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSSCT) promotes itself as "a place where researchers and educators share facilities and ideas where the pursuit of new knowledge leads to breakthroughs that range from insights on the structure and evolution of the universe to better understanding Earth's weather." The web site is separated into nine links packed with information about the programs affiliated with NSSTC. For instance, at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center link, users can discover the earth science activities of scientists working to enable better decision making to improve the world's quality of life. Students can discover academic programs and educational opportunities. Researchers can find out about atmospheric and earth science datasets as well as upcoming workshops and conferences. Educators at all levels, scientists, and engineers can find helpful information at this web site. [RME]

Climate - Society Reference Tool

The International Research Institute for Climate Prediction offers a comprehensive and growing database of publications and projects associated with "the interactions of climate, human society and the environment, with an emphasis on societal vulnerabilities or opportunities [related] to variations in climate over one or several seasons." Educators, researchers, and practitioners can search the materials by key words or by browsing topics, sector, or regions. The web site provides a temporary folder where users can collect their search results. Everyone is encouraged to submit their suggestions for new materials at the web site. [RME]

BBC Weather [Macromedia Flash Player]

At this web site, the BBC offers an array of materials dealing with weather. Meteorologists can discover employment opportunities. Individuals with spectacular photographs of weather phenomenon can submit their products to the photo gallery. Students and educators can find introductory materials on basic weather concepts, forecasting, extreme events, and broadcasting the weather. The web site offers fun weather related games and projects, a meteorology glossary, and links to other educational web sites. [RME] Particle Physics News and Resources [RealOne Player, QuickTime, Windows Media Player, gif]

The web site serves as a hub for news, information, images, and links for particle physicists. Educators and students can find a sizeable image collection and short videos and animations describing the research and history of key physics institutions. Researchers can discover a global data grid and a database of talks in cosmic physics, linear collider, ethics and science, and other particle physics topics. The web sit offers links to various physics glossaries, universities, and societies. Individuals can learn about education and funding opportunities. [RME]

National Historic Chemical Landmarks

The American Chemical Society (ACS) displays the key roles chemists played in "expanding the frontiers of knowledge, advancing medicine and industry, and creating products from aspirin to zippers" at this web site. Users can find clear summaries and images of the places, discoveries, and achievements that have been designated landmarks by ACS members and an international committee. Within many of the biographies, educators can find links to teaching guides and activities. Individuals that know of an unrecognized important element of the chemical heritage can learn how to nominate the site, artifact, or collection. [RME]

Topic In Depth


Key to Lightning Deaths: Location, Location, Location
Colorado Lightning Resource Center
Lightning and Atmospheric Electricity Research at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center [pdf]
Lightning the Whole Shocking Story [RealOne Player, Macromedia Shockwave Player, QuickTime]
Electrified Ben
Lightning Photography
Lightning Safety [pdf, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, txt]

First, Ron Hipschman at the Exploratorium introduces the formation of lightning and its power (1). Visitors can find a nice history of people's changing beliefs about occurrences of lightning. Next, the National Geographic provides an article about storm anatomy, the dangers of lightening, and the places most likely to be struck by lightening (2). Users can find continental maps presenting the relative numbers of lightening strikes. At the third web site, the Colorado Lightning Resource Center offers lightning fact sheets, safety guides, and statistics (3 ). Visitors can lean about lightning research and projects. This web site is a great source of lightning images as well. Next, the Global Hydrology and Climate Center (GHCC) discusses the GHCC Lightning Team's investigations of the causes and effects of lightning and analyses "of a wide variety of atmospheric measurements related to thunderstorms" (4). This expansive web site offers access to data, documents, reports, and press releases as well as information on field programs and instrumentation. The fifth web site, provided by the National Geographic, supplies educational information about lightning in a fun, kid friendly learning environment ({5--}). Users can play games, take quizzes, view images, and much more. Next, The Franklin Institute Online features a creative article about Benjamin Franklin's curiosities about lightning ({6--}). Educators can find electricity activities and teaching tips. At the seventh web site, severe weather photographer, Dave Crowley, provides countless lightning photographs (7). The images offer great examples of the power and wonder of lightning. Lastly, NOAA provides handouts, safety tips, photos, classroom presentations and more (8). Anyone searching for well prepared general lightning materials should visit this web site. [RME]

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

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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.

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