The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 3, Number 25

December 10, 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

Scout Holiday Publishing Schedule

The Scout Project will not publish the NSDL Physical Sciences Report on December 24. We will resume our regular publication schedule with the January 7, 2005 report. [CL]

Best holiday wishes,

Chris Long
Managing Editor


U.S. Department of Energy: National Center for Photovoltaics [pdf]

"The National Center for Photovoltaics' mission (NCPV) is "to mobilize national [U.S.] resources in photovoltaics by performing world-class research and development, promoting partnering and growth opportunities, and serving as a forum and information source for the photovoltaics community." Users can find an abundance of information on the programs NCPV funds in areas including solar resource characterization and measurements and characterization. The website features the Center's Outdoor Test Facility, the Solar Energy Research Facility (SERF), the Photovoltaic Device Measurement Laboratory (PDML), and the Photovoltaic System Evaluation Laboratory (PSEL). The Virtual Library supplies an abundance of NCPV online documents as well as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Publications Database and Sandia National Laboratory publications. Students can find educational materials dealing with solar power and photovoltaics. [RME]

NeMO: New Millennium Observatory [jpeg, QuickTime, Macromedia Flash Player, Microsoft PowerPoint, pdf]

NOAA's New Millennium Observatory (NeMO) "studies the dynamic interactions between submarine volcanic activity and seafloor hotsprings at an observatory, Axial seamount." The website presents a host of information on the participants, tools, and cruise plans for past, present, and scheduled expeditions. Researchers can learn about the Remote Access Sampler (RAS) and a Bottom Access Pressure Recorder (BPR) which transmits the latest data from the seafloor to the website. Through NeMO explorer, users can explore the seafloor with panorama, fly-throughs, and video clips. The education section offers stimulating curriculum materials where students can learn about mid-ocean ridges, hydrothermal vents, axial volcanoes, and much more. [RME]

University of Minnesota: Sedimentology Group [pdf]

The sedimentology group at the University of Minnesota presents its research in earthscape processes at this website. Visitors can find out about the goals, results, and publications of three main research areas: experimental stratigraphy and landscape evolution, theoretical sedimentology and stratigraphy, and river dynamics. The site offers downloads for many of the group's publications. Visitors discover the latest sedimentology-related news. While the links Useful Things and Links do not contain information at this time, users can still learn about the work of sedimentologists at this website. [RME]

The Western Antarctic GPS Network (WAGN)

"The West Antarctic GPS Network (WAGN) Project uses the Global Positioning System (GPS), a precise satellite-based navigation system, to measure crustal motions of the bedrock underlying and surrounding the" West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Users can learn about the lithosphere beneath WAIS and how the tectonic activities can have an indirect affect on sea level. The website discusses the objectives and relevance of WAGN's work. Individuals can find maps illustrating the locations of known active volcanoes in Antarctica, the approximate location of the West Antarctic Rift System, and the locations of GPS systems. The website provides fun archived letters of scientists in the field as well as links to many of the project's collaborators. [RME]

University of Nevada, Las Vegas: Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies-Environmental Chemistry Division

The Environmental Chemistry Division at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas's research interests include determining flow patterns of southern Nevada's groundwater system; measuring trace elements, sediment, and biota in Las Vegas' water; developing ways to rapidly analyze airborne plutonium; and monitoring earthquake impacts on groundwater near Yucca Mountain. This website introduces the group's many analytical instrumentation and research capabilities. Users can find introductions to groundwater chemistry, chemical tracer, and hydrologic monitoring research. The website also provides synopses of the individual researchers and lists of publications. [RME]

The Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI): SPring-8 [pdf]

The Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute's (JASRI) SPring-8 "is the world's largest third-generation synchrotron radiation facility." The website furnishes introductions to the facility, synchrotron radiation, and Spring-8's contributions to advanced research in materials science, chemistry, environmental studies, and other science fields. Users can learn about the beamlines and accelerators. Researchers can find out about conferences and deadlines for proposals to use the facility. The website provides downloads of publications, annual reports, and user guides and handbooks. [RME]

UCLA: Astroparticle Physics [pdf, postscript, gif, jpeg, tiff]

The astroparticle physics division of UCLA presents a host of information on its six main research projects at this website. Visitors can discover the science objectives and status of the Solar Tower Atmospheric Cherenkov Effect Experiment (STACEE). At the VERITAS link, users can learn about gamma-rays, supernova remnants, and active galactic nuclei. Educators and student can find out about proposed outreach activities related to the Goldstone lunar ultra-high energy neutrino experiment (GLUE). The website also features an animation of air shower detection in the Auger Engineering Array, presentations of the Antarctic Impulse Transient Antenna (ANITA), publications of the ZEPLIN Dark Matter Search project, and much more. [RME]

University of Pennsylvania-The Atacama Cosmology Telescope [postscript, pdf]

The University of Pennsylvania presents its proposed study to "couple a three-color millimeter camera based on [the] field-tested arrays to a specialized, low-cost 6-meter telescope to be located in Chile" in order to study the physical universe. The website presents the group's seven research goals, a synopsis of the site, and a summary of the Atacama Cosmology Telescope, which is designed for high-sensitivity surveys for months over relatively large areas. Users can find downloads for several recent astrophysical research papers. [RME]


High School Chemistry Daily Lessons [pdf]

The Chicago Public Schools offer daily lesson plans, as pdf files, for two semesters of high school chemistry classes. Each lesson plan clearly outlines the structure of the class from the concepts that should be introduced at the beginning of the class to the homework given at the end. Educators can find clever questions to ask to stimulate the class and a list of materials needed for each lesson. The website also supplies an outline of writing requirements in science, alternative assessment ideas, a math helper, and other useful supplementary materials in a series of appendices. [RME]

Essential Science for Teachers: Earth and Space Science [jpeg, gif, Windows Media Player, pdf]

The Essential Science for Teachers provides elementary school educators with a better understanding of earth and space science concepts and ways to improve their teaching abilities in the field. After completing the free registration, users can view the eight, one-hour educational videos that focus on the Earth and its place in the solar system. Each video presents discussions with students about their interpretations of various earth science concepts, presentations of how scientists study the difficult phenomena, and examples of how teachers educate their students about the concepts. The website offers additional supporting materials to guide users through the online course. Participants can take part in an email discussion to share information and ask questions about the course. [RME]

The University of Texas at Austin-Bureau of Economic Geology: On-line Modules [Microsoft Excel, VRML Player, Java, jpeg]

Middle school teachers and students can explore key Earth science concepts through numerous online learning modules created by the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin. The modules investigating aquifers and soil provide lists of vocabulary, lists of materials, and descriptions of procedures for the fun hands-on labs. Students can view El Paso topography, take a virtual tour of the Edwards Aquifer, and examine its historic data. The website also offers an interactive game to find oil, materials on the Texas High School Monitoring Program, images and descriptions about rocks from space, and other Earth science activities. [RME]

An Introduction to Chemistry: It's Elemental [Microsoft PowerPoint, pdf, gif]

This TeachNet Ireland website "focuses on elements, the periodic table, and basic related chemistry concepts necessary for understanding of chemical bonding." Through a PowerPoint presentation, students can learn about the concepts of ionic and covalent bonding. Educators can find tutorials dealing with matter, atoms, atomic and mass numbers, electron configurations, elements, molecules, and compounds. Users can learn how to draw atomic structures, find out the history of the periodic table, and test their knowledge through a series of archived tests. The website furnishes innumerable links to outside educational websites, online quizzes, and an interactive Periodic Table. [RME]

X-ray Interactions with Matter [Java, gif]

The Center for X-ray Optics offers a concise discussion and many graphs illustrating the primary interactions of low-energy X-rays within matter. Users can find a database of atomic scattering factors which are used to characterize the interactions between X-rays and matter. The website provides the electron level widths, electron binding energies, atomic properties, and material properties for the elements. Visitors can generate plots of refraction indices, attenuation length of a solid, X-ray transmissions for solids and gases, X-ray reflectivity, bend magnet spectrum, and transmission grating efficiency. This website offers an effective means for visualizing X-ray data. [RME]

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay: Earth Science Notes [Microsoft PowerPoint, jpeg]

At this website, Steve Dutch at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay supplies notes for seven of his courses, which can provide guidance for Earth science college students. Through a series of images and explanations, users can learn about the many different types of volcanoes, karst topography, glaciers, coastal processes, and many additional Earth phenomena. Visitors can find notes and example problems for topics related to general physical geology, crustal materials, and the exploration of the universe. Individuals can take virtual field trips to Scotland, Mount St. Helens, the area affected by the Missoula flood, and California. While this website has many links most relevant only to Professor Dutch's students, the numerous notes and images can be helpful to any Earth science student. [RME]

What is Physics?

The Physics Department at Trinity College introduces students to the wide range of subspecialties of physics at this substantial website. Through the abundance of helpful figures and text, users can discover various phenomena related to the study of the universe, galaxies, stars, Earth, light, materials, atoms, and quarks. At one of the many links provided at the website, students can learn about energy quantization, the uncertainty principle, particle-wave duality, and other concepts related to quantum theory. The website describes how physics is related to sports, finances, communications, and other aspects of our lives. Along with providing an abundance of information, the site also directs visitors to additional educational websites. [RME]

An Interactive Course on Symmetry and Analysis of Crystal Structure by Diffraction [Java, mpg, QuickTime]

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) created this website to provide first- and second-year college science students with a general introduction to the subject of crystalline structures and how they diffract X-rays. Through the interactive Escher Web Sketch, students can discover the symmetry of crystals. The Reciprocal Lattice Calculator provides a way for users to compute the reciprocal lattice from a repeating pattern. Through a series of diagrams and equations, the website introduces the Laue condition for diffraction, the Ewald Sphere, diffraction intensities to atomic structure of crystals, and the Bragg Interpretation of the Diffraction Conditions. [RME]


Space Weather Now [jpeg, Java]

The NOAA Space Weather Now website provides non-technical information and an assortment of images detailing current space weather. Visitors can find summaries describing auroras, plots of current auroral ovals on the poles, and viewing information for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The Real-Time Solar Wind Pages furnish dynamic plots of data, geomagnetic activity test product information, and resources about the four instruments used to collect data on geomagnetic storms. The website features Space Weather Scales to help the public understand the severity of environmental disturbances due to geomagnetic storms, solar radiation storms, and radio blackouts. Visitors can find the latest news, alerts, advisory bulletins, and much more. [RME]

American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists, Inc. (AASP) [Microsoft PowerPoint]

The American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists, Inc. (AASP) was established in 1967 "to promote the science of palynology in academia and industry." Visitors can discover scholarship opportunities and awards. The Biographies and Histories of Palynology link offers a growing collection of materials about many of the prominent scientists in the field of palynology, which is the branch of science concerned with the study of pollen, spores, and similar palynomorphs, living and fossil. By viewing a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, students can learn about the science of palynology. Researchers can find information on a variety of conferences and meetings as well as on the publications produced by AASP. [RME]

SEDS: Students for the Exploration and Development of Space [jpeg]

Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), an independent, student-based organization, educates "people about the benefits of space, by supporting a network of interested students, by providing an opportunity for members to develop their leadership skills, and by inspiring people through involvement in space-related projects." Users can find a gallery of what the organization considers the best images of extra galactic and galactic phenomena and of the solar system collected by Hubble. The website offers the latest space science news as well as updates on SEDS-related conferences, committees, and other activities. Students can find primers on high-technology space science research and constellations. By taking part in the SEDS forums, users can exchange ideas on a variety of space topics, the SEDS organization, and conferences. [RME]

USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMG) Infobank [gif, pdf, rtf, tiff, jpeg]

The USGS created the Infobank to educate users about the data and information collected by the Coastal and Marine Geology research group, which conducts "multidisciplinary scientific research in the coastal and offshore areas and in other waterways of the United States." The website provides numerous maps and data for bathymetry, seismology, geodetic, magnetics, and many additional data sets collected by the group. In the Activities link, users can search for field data by ID, year, platform, region, participant, or project. Visitors can utilize the Field Activity Collection System (FACS) to gather information about field activities. The website offers a link to a fantastic image-packed glossary defining earthquake-related phenomena. [RME]

Acid Rain 2005: 7th International Conference on Acid Deposition [pdf]

The International Conference on Acid Deposition, Acid Rain 2005, "marks a transition from 'Acid Rain' being viewed somewhat in isolation, to its being seen as integrally linked with climate change, land use, biodiversity, and human health." Research can find out the important deadlines for abstract submissions and registration for the Conference occurring in Prague in June of 2005. The website furnishes an introduction to the conference's sessions, a list of the invited lectures, and a schedule. Users can learn about pre-, mid-, and post-conference field trips to areas within the Czech Republic that are related to the conference topics. [RME]

Unisys Weather [gif]

The Unisys weather website offers a host of weather analyses and forecasts. In the Analyses link, visitors can find satellite images as well as surface, upper air, and radar images. Visitors can learn the intricacies of Unisys's many forecast models such as the Nested Grid Model (NGM), Aviation Model, and the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) Model. Users can find archived hurricane data for the Atlantic, the Eastern Pacific, and the Western Pacific. The site also furnishes archived surface maps, infrared satellite images, upper air charts, and sea surface temperature (SST) plots. [RME]

The Boquet River Association (BRASS) [jpeg]

The Boquet River Association (BRASS) "is a small, 200-member, grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of water and life in the Boquet watershed" in northern New York State. The website features the erosion control projects and water quality studies taken on by the group. Users can find articles related to flooding, stream morphology, water quality, weather, and other subjects related to the Boquet River. Visitors can find models to help users understand how a river channel behaves. The website offers numerous fact sheets about water systems, quality, and management. [RME]

Kennedy Space Center Multimedia Gallery [jpeg, RealPlayer]

The Kennedy Space Center Multimedia Gallery provides a wide assortment of photographs and videos related to its numerous missions throughout the years. This user-friendly database allows visitors to search by keyword, type of media, time period, and category. Visitors can find materials for space shuttles, projects and missions, expendable launch vehicles, education, and much more. Through the countless multimedia, users can discover the many great endeavors undertaken by the Kennedy Space Center. [RME]

Topic In Depth

The Atchafalaya River and the lower Mississippi

Atchafalaya River Basin
Atchafalaya and the Mississippi River Deltas Study: -- a Tale of Two Deltas
Atchafalaya River Basin
Atchafalaya Basin [pdf]
The Atchafalaya and the Mississippi Rivers
A Role for Remote Sensing in Managing Mississippi River Diversions
Controlling the Mississippi River
The Atchafalaya Basin Project [pdf]

The websites in this Topic in Depth describe the physical characteristics of the Atchafalaya River and address its relationship with the Mississippi River. First, Illinois State University summarizes the location and main features of the Atchafalaya River Basin (1). Next, the USGS presents its current research on the lower Atchafalaya and Mississippi River "to better understand and assess lower Mississippi sediment-hosted pollutant accumulation, deposition, and transport to the Gulf of Mexico" (2). Users can view aerial photographs of the sites, read the project proposal and reports, and find out about meetings and conferences related to the study. The third website, maintained by NOAA, provides preliminary forecasts and stage information for the Atchafalaya and the rest of the Lower Mississippi (3). Educators can find materials on flood safety, flood events, hydrology, and much more. Next, the USGS National Wetlands Research Center summarizes the major features of the Atchafalaya Basin (4). Through a series of satellite images and aerial photographs, visitors can learn about the basin-wide land loss and other landscape changes. The website offers reports and data on Atchafalaya's sediment delivery. At the fifth website, Shannon Condran and Anthony Gale at Penn State offer a summary of the interactions between the Atchafalaya and the Mississippi and the attempts by the Army Corp of Engineers to contain the Mississippi River (5). This website provides a nice introduction to how and why rivers are captured by other rivers. Next, the supplies an article about the history of the Mississippi River's deltas and the current landscape issues of the delta region (6). Users can learn how dams, levees, and other man-made changes have affected the landforms. The seventh website furnishes a history of the Old River Area (7). Individuals can learn how the Old River developed in the Mississippi River system and how this affected the relationship between the Atchafalaya and the Mississippi. Lastly, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supplies a pdf brochure detailing the structures in the Atchafalaya Basin (8). Visitors can learn why the Corps feels these modifications help sustain agriculture, cultural practices, and the environment. [RME]

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Internet Scout Project Team
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