The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 23

November 12, 2004

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




Topic In Depth


University of Colorado at Boulder: Polar Climate and Meteorology

The University of Colorado at Boulder's Polar Climate and Meteorology group investigates "the climate and meteorology of the Arctic and Antarctic using global and regional climate system models, process models, statistical models, GIS, and field experiments." Users can find summaries of the group's 12 research projects including studying the changes in hydrologic regimes and arctic transitions in the land-atmosphere system. Students and educators can read about the research interests and endeavors taken on by individual members. To get a better idea of the region studied and technology used, users can find numerous images and photographs of the polar region. The website offers abstracts to many of the group's publications. [RME]

NASA EOS Aqua Project [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf, Microsoft PowerPoint, Internet Explorer]

Part of NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS), the Aqua satellite mission is gathering information on the Earth's atmosphere, oceans, and land surface to help scientists understand the role of hydrology and its impact on climate. The website features introductions of the science team, information on the data products, and summaries and fact sheets of the four science groups involved with the Aqua project: Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E), and Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES). The Cool Science link offers excellent videos to educate the public on Aqua's mission and science. Users can find countless incredible satellite images of Earth's landscapes and physical characteristics. The web provides many Aqua brochures, educational presentations, archived webcasts, press releases, and much more. [RME]

Ohio State University: Byrd Polar Research Center [RealPlayer]

Ohio State presents the Byrd Polar Research Center's internationally recognized polar research primarily focused on the role of cold regions in the global climate system. The website presents summaries, images, and publications of the Center's seven main research groups: Environmental Geochemistry, Geological Sciences, Glacier Dynamics, Ice Core Paleoclimatology, Oceanography, Polar Meteorology, and Remote Sensing. Students can discover the great contributions Admiral Richard E. Byrd made to the field of polar research. Researchers can search the historical collections of the Center's Archival Program. Visitors can learn about fellowships, scholarships, awards, and other polar research opportunities. [RME]

Boston University: Center for Polymer Studies [jpeg, pdf, gif]

Boston University promotes the Center for Polymer Studies' involvement in the research of polymer, random, and fractal systems and the development of experimental and computational materials for high school and undergraduate education. Users can find concise descriptions, colorful images, and abstracts of publications for the Center's many research projects including Physics of Disordered Media and Econophysics. Along with explanations of science education projects, educators and students can find software tools to help individuals "visualize atomic motion, manipulate atomic interactions, and quantitatively investigate the resulting macroscopic properties of biological, chemical, and physical systems." Because of the Center's bringing together of research and education, this website will be especially beneficial to educators. [RME]

NOAA: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean Project (TAO) [gif, jpeg, postscript, RealPlayer]

NOAA's Tropical Atmosphere Ocean Project (TAO) supplies "real-time data from moored ocean buoys for improved detection, understanding, and prediction of El Nio and La Nia." The website provides materials on the Project's field operations and research, collaborations, and moored buoy panels. Users can display times series, time section, latitude/longitude map, and depth-selection data. Researchers can find an abundance of technical information and publications. Students and educators can find instructive materials and animations about El Nio and La Nia. [RME]

PASSCAL Instrument Center at New Mexico Tech [pdf]

The PASSCAL Instrument Center at New Mexico Tech offers support of seismic instrumentation, maintenance of equipment, training, and logistical field support for seismology experiments. The website provides thorough explanations of the sensors, data acquisition systems, and other instrumentation. Researchers can find a users guide, schedules of the instrumentation, and forms to request the use PASSCAL equipment with the stipulation that the data will be made available through the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) Data Management Center (DMC) two years after the field work is completed. Users can learn about the growing number of technological instruments available at the Center due to the support of the Department of Energy. [RME]

JIVE: Joint Institute for Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) in Europe [pdf, QuickTime, postscript, tar, tiff, jpeg]

Provided by the Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy (ASTRON), the Joint Institute for Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) in Europe (JIVE) operates the EVN MkIV VLBI Data Processor and offers support to astronomers and the Telescope Network. The website offers clear summaries of many research topics pursued at the Institute including gravitational lensing, interstellar scintillation, and pulsar astrometry. Visitors can learn about the operational status and history of the EVN MkIV Processor. Researchers can find archives of European VLBI Network data, downloads of JIVE's documents and reports, and information on how to obtain assistance using the VLBI technique. The site presents JIVE-related meetings, workshops, and conferences. [RME]

The Open University: Research in the Department of Physics and Astronomy

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Open University pursues research in astronomy, biomagnetism, physics education, molecular and optical physics, and quantum and statistical physics. For each of these topics, the website offers introductions to the research and links to the associated research groups and centers. At the Center for Molecular and Optical Science (CeMOS) link, visitors can learn about its current projects in global warming, astrophysics, technological plasmas, quantum optics, and more. The Planetary and Space Sciences Research presents its investigations of Mars, the Sun, near earth objects, small icy bodies, and other extraterrestrial phenomena. A database allows users to search for most of the department's publications and to view several articles. [RME]


Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites [RealPlayer]

At this website, the American Museum of Natural History provides a well-constructed introduction to meteorites. Students can learn about meteorites' origins, characteristics, and their appearance. Individuals can discover how scientists study meteorites, which contain the older material in the solar system, to understand the origin of the solar system and the creation of planets. The site presents meteorite impacts and hazards on Earth and the Moon. Users can view and learn about two large meteorites, Ahnighito and Cape York, on display at the Museum. The site offers a video illustrating the journey of a meteorite. [RME]

High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC): A User's Guide

The University of Kentucky's Analytical Spectroscopy Research Group offers an easy-to-use tutorial about High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). First, users can discover the evolution of HPLC and its many applications, including chemical separations and identification of various compounds. The website addresses key theories of operation so that scientists can achieve optimal success. Individuals can find help with their problems related to peaks, leaks, recovery, sensitivity, retention, equilibration, baseline, and pressure. A quiz is available at the end where users can test their knowledge. [RME]

Oxford University: Interactive Organic Mechanisms [Macromedia Flash Player]

This Oxford University website offers new Macromedia Flash Player interactive tutorials to assist students with organic chemistry reactions. After a brief summary of nucleophilic substitutions and eliminations involving one and two components in the rate determining step, students can learn about the reactions through a series of problems with useful guidelines. After an individual finishes the problem, the site checks the answer and, for incorrect answers, it provides the correct solution. Users can find an additional 10-question quiz about substitution and, the site promises, in the near future quizzes dealing with elimination and a combination of topics. [RME]

Noise - Bringing Science to Life [Macromedia Flash Player]

The NOISE (New Outlooks in Science and Engineering) website "aims to raise awareness of science and engineering among young people by making these subjects more relevant and accessible." Funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, this fun site offers entertaining articles describing how science benefits sports, fashion, entertainment, and individuals' everyday lives. Students considering becoming scientists can read the interests and activities of many young scientists involved in the project. In the Serious Science link, users can discover valuable information about physics, chemistry, materials, and other science fields. With the help of the many creative materials offered at this website, young people are sure to become engaged in science. [RME]

American Chemical Society: Celebrating Chemistry [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

This American Chemical Society (ACS) website offers fun activities, articles, and games to excite fourth- through sixth-grade children about chemistry. Covering a wide variety of chemistry topics such as acids and bases, cleaning, the solar system, and the atmosphere; educators can find downloadable materials to supplement many of their lesson plans. Through an interactive module, students can discover the right filters and chemicals needed to obtain clean, pure water. Users can search through the materials by topic or can obtain lists of articles, games, and hands-on activities. The materials are also available in Spanish. [RME]

The Physics Classroom [gif]

Developed for high school physics students by Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Illinois, the Physics Classroom Tutorial offers clear and concise details of the basic physics topics. The website, modeled like an online physics book, contains a series of main categories, which are divided into lessons and sub-lessons. Within the sub-lessons, students can find helpful diagrams, animations, and a short quiz to evaluate their understanding of the topics. Because this site offers comprehensive materials, all introductory physics students are sure to obtain a better understanding of the subject by visiting the site. [RME]

Mt. Erebus Volcano Observatory [QuickTime]

The Mt. Erebus Volcano Observatory website offers a plethora of information about the geology, geochemistry, and geophysics research at Mt. Erebus in Antarctica. The site addresses the evolution of Erebus, lava and gas chemistry, seismology, and much more. Students can discover how Mount Erebus's environment changes by examining two day, 30 day, and 365 day records. The Photo Gallery is packed with incredible images of the landscape, geologic features, and the scientific monitoring. Users can view live footage as well as movies of volcanic eruptions and the inner and outer crater. Because the materials are not particularly technical, users can easily learn about volcanology and, more specifically, about scientists' efforts to better understand Mt. Erebus. [RME]

Tips for Astronomy TA's

At this website, the University of Washington offers great hints to help beginner astronomy teaching assistants (TAs) become better instructors. The site addresses preparation for classroom teaching, questioning style, classroom strategies, increasing student motivation, and many other topics of interest to teachers. For first-time teachers, the section describing the first day of class may be the most important. While designed for astronomy TAs, anyone involved in the teaching profession can hone their skills by following the suggestions presented. [RME]


CNN: Dinosaurs Scorched to Death

This CNN news article presents new results from research examining what could have caused the dinosaurs' extinction on Earth 65 million years ago. Users can learn about the theory by Brian Toon, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Colorado, that the dinosaurs became extinct due to a single massive asteroid collision. The website briefly describes the potential heat felt on Earth and the ensuing tsunamis and other severe weather. Visitors can find brief descriptions of other scientists' theories of the possible changes that took place in Earth's climate around this time as well. [RME]

NEHRP: National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program [pdf]

"The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) is the Federal Government's program to reduce the risks to life and property from earthquakes." After learning about the program's main goals, users of the website can find links to the latest earthquake news and events, publications, seismic maps, upcoming conferences, and other resources. The site describes the model building codes in earthquake hazardous areas. Parents and educators can learn the basic facts about earthquakes and how to reduce the risk from natural disasters. Everyone that may be affected by seismic activity can find enlightening materials at this site. [RME]

NASA: Structure and Evolution of the Universe [Microsoft PowerPoint, pdf, jpeg, Windows Media Player, tiff]

This NASA website addresses three of Einstein's predictions: the expansion of space due to the Big Bang, the presence of black holes, and the existence of energy in space that is pulling the universe apart. Users can discover how scientists are attempting to answer questions surrounding these three theories. The website provides related news and announcements, educational presentations and fact sheets, incredible images, and much more. Scientists can learn about the technologies used at the Einstein Great Observatory, Einstein Probes, and the Einstein Vision Missions. Students and educators can learn about the life cycles of matter and energy and NASA's missions related to these concepts. [RME]

Indiana University: Chemical Information Sources

This fantastic Indiana University website helps individuals "find and learn how to use chemical information resources on the Internet and elsewhere." Users can find two types of resource guides. The first, SIRCh (Selected Internet Resources for Chemistry) offers numerous links to educational websites where users can find answers to many of their chemistry questions. The second, CCIIM (Clearinghouse for Chemical Information Instructional Materials), is a collection of items created by chemistry and science librarians, chemists, and publishers to help visitors learn how to use chemical information sources. Users can find links to four databases providing information on publications, references, acronyms, and crystallography. The website offers archives of the University's Chemical Information Sources Discussion List and materials on chemical information classes taught at Indiana University. [RME]

Center for History of Physics

The mission of the American Institute of Physics' (ADP) Center for History of Physics "is to preserve and make known the history of modern physics and allied fields." Visiting the History Exhibits, teachers and students can find interactive tutorials about many prominent physicists and important research such as Heisenberg's theory of uncertainty and the discovery of the electron. Users can search Emilio Segr's collection of 25,000 historical photographs, slides, lithographs, engravings, and other images. Researchers can find out how to gain access to the books, journals, photographs, interviews, and other historical documents held at the Niels Bohr Library. Educators can find helpful sample syllabi and reading lists created by physics instructors. With so much historical physics information to offer, anyone interested in physics would benefit by visiting this site. [RME]

NOVA: Mars Dead or Alive [Macromedia Flash Player, QuickTime, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, pdf]

This NOVA website presents key questions that the NASA rovers are attempting to answer during their mission to Mars. Users can discover why liquid water is a necessity for life as we know it. By exploring the interactive modules, students can learn the anatomy of a rover and how a parachute is designed for the Mars Rover Mission. The site offers an hour-long movie about the Mars landscape and the NASA mission. Educators can find a guide summarizing the program and offering classroom activities and viewing ideas. Everyone can enjoy the amazing images of Mars' ice caps, faults, gullies, sand dunes, volcanoes, and much more. [RME]

U.S. Department of Energy: Geothermal Technologies Program [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

The U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Technologies Program addresses its work in the advancement of geothermal energy production. The website details the interesting history of geothermal energy in the United States, beginning more than 10,000 years ago with the settlement of Paleo-Indians at a hot springs. Visitors can learn the basics of geothermal energy and can view an animation of how an enhanced geothermal system works. Researchers can learn about the Program's investigations in energy systems, exploration and drilling, and geoscience and geothermal energy's applications in power plants, direct use, and geothermal heat pumps. Users can discover how geothermal energy impacts the environment and the economy. The website offers a wide range of publications, photographs, education and homeowner links, and financial opportunities. [RME]

California Energy Commission: Ocean Energy

This California Energy Commission website discusses how electrical power can be generated from tidal power, wave power, ocean thermal energy conversion, ocean currents, ocean winds, salinity gradients, and other ocean phenomena. Users can learn how different areas of the ocean vary in their potential energy production. The site presents the history of ocean energy production and the issues associated with permitting an ocean wave-energy conversion facility. Users can find links to ocean energy education and to companies and research groups involved with ocean energy development. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Research at the Interface of Chemistry and Biology

Biomimetic Synthesis Applied to Chemistry and Biology
The Baldwin Group [pdf]
Biological and Biomolecular Chemistry
Donald Lab - Computational Biology and Chemistry [pdf, postscript]
The Bradley Group
New York University Chemistry [pdf]
CBIT: Chemistry - Biology Interface Training Program
The University of Delaware Graduate Program at the Chemistry / Biology Interface

First, chemist Matthew Shair at Harvard University presents his lab's research in "the development of biomimetic target-oriented and diversity-oriented synthesis of complex molecules and the use of these approaches to discover new molecules for studying cell biology" (1). The descriptions are equipped with figures and images to help users understand the complex research. The second website features Professor Sir Jack Baldwin group's research in bio-organic and synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Oxford (2). Users can download many of the group's publications related to its research activities in penicillin, biomimetics, parallel, and total synthesis. Next, the University of Nottingham displays its investigations "to define the chemical interactions that determine the specificity and control of biological processes" (3). Visitors can discover the individual projects and publications of the fourteen main researchers involved with the group. The fourth website addresses the research of Bruce Donald's lab at Dartmouth in the use of Physical Geometric Algorithms (PGA) to better understand computational molecular biology (4). Researchers can find information on the group's software, funding, research, and downloads to many of the group's publications. Next, visitors can discover the University of Southampton chemistry Professor Mark Bradley's use of combinatorial chemistry to synthesize many compounds efficiently (5). The website features concise summaries, lists of publications, and information on the collaborators involved with the group's numerous research projects. At the sixth website, New York University discusses the ever-expanding range of topics available to scientists utilizing biomolecular tools, including the exploration of new chemical strategies for the control of gene expression and the creation of new approaches for combinatorial synthesis and high-throughput screening (6). Users can learn about the division's emphasis on experimental and computational approaches in dealing with research problems and also its involvement in training students in biological phenomena from a physical organic perspective. The seventh website describes the courses, student projects, and grants of the interdisciplinary Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI) Training Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (7). This site offers a great example of educational opportunities available for students to learn how to merge chemical and biological research. Lastly, the University of Delaware features its multidisciplinary graduate program where students perform research in biochemistry, biochemical engineering, bioorganic chemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, virology, bioanalytical chemistry, structural biology, bioinorganic chemistry, materials science, and plant biochemistry (8). Users can find links to the group pages of the 34 researchers involved in the program. [RME]

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