The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 4, Number 4

February 18, 2005

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




Topic In Depth


COSMIC - Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate [pdf, gif]

The Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate's (COSMIC) purpose is "to gain inexpensive vertical profiles of temperature and moisture across the globe with high spatial and temporal resolution." Users can learn how ground-based GPS equipment are being applied to seismic, volcanic, polar ice, weather, and climate research. The website presents the two FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC Data Centers, which analyze the science and telemetry data. The AWARE link features an international project to better understand and predict atmospheric conditions and discusses educational and research opportunities for students. The website also offers maps and data related to COSMIC's activities. [RME]

Climatic Research Unit [postscript, tar, zip, gif, pdf, Java]

The Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia studies past and present climate change due to both natural and anthropogenic factors. The website offers downloads of the temperature, precipitation, pressure and circulation, and other climatic data; answers to many questions about the data availability and manipulation; and scientific references. Everyone can benefit from the introductory materials on a variety of climate topics including the global temperature record, sea level rise, and the Holocene. The many animations and presentations of the temperature record, wind storms, and other conference topics provide an overview of several climate research projects. [RME]

Brookhaven National Laboratory: Chemistry Department [gif, jpeg]

At this website, the Brookhaven National Laboratory presents its chemistry research dealing primarily with imaging and neuroscience, charge transfer for energy conversion, chemistry with ionizing radiation, catalysis and surface science, nanoscience, combustion, and nuclear chemistry. Within each category, users can find instructive text and supportive images about the specific projects and the leading researchers. Visitors can learn about the Beamline U7A at the National Synchrotron Light Source, the Laser-Electron Accelerator Facility (LEAF), the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Facility, and other exceptional research facilities. The website features histories of the chemistry department and of the Brookhaven National Laboratory. [RME]

Gravity Research at Gravity Discovery Centre (GDC)

The Gravity Discovery Centre (GDC) addresses its research in gravity wave technology, which it hypothesizes will bring dramatic changes that will revolutionize our lives and may help us to understand the mysteries of the universe. The website first offers an introduction to Australia's role in gravity wave research and its importance. Visitors can then find summaries of the Centre's scientific spin-offs and breakthroughs including the improvement of radar oscillators, the creation of superconducting gravity gradiometers, and the invention of a sapphire clock for gravity wave research. Users can also learn about the news, events, and exhibits at the Centre. [RME]

Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics [jpeg, gif, pdf]

The Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) is "Australia's premier university centre for astronomical research." At the website, visitors can discover how the School is advancing the observational and theoretical frontiers of astronomy. The exciting accomplishments the website addresses include the discovery of the oldest star in our galaxy, the finding that the universe is growing at an accelerating rate, and the modeling of the interstellar medium. The website features the Gemini Observatory and the ANU Planetary Science Institute (PSU) as well as the latest science news, publications, and conferences. [RME]

CIRES: Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences [jpeg]

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) introduces its collaborative research and education program in the diverse field of earth system sciences. At this expansive website, students and educators can discover the Institute's numerous projects in the areas of climate system variability, geodynamics, planetary metabolism, and regional processes. CIRES discusses its five centers, which incorporate scientists with shared interests from within CIRES as well as from other departments at the University of Colorado and outside of the University. Students can learn about the graduate research fellowship program, the innovative research program, and other outreach initiatives. The website presents CIRES's latest news, research findings, and its seminar series about the relationship among policy, politics, and science in the White House. [RME]

Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University [gif, jpeg, pdf]

At this website, visitors can discover the studies undertaken by the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University in the six research areas: atmosphere, oceans, and climate dynamics; biogeochemistry, paleoceanography, and paleoclimatology; geochemistry and petrology; paleontology and evolution; the physics of the Earth's interior; and the tectonics and surface processes. The website offers links to faculties' educational and professional histories, publications, and research goals and successes. Visitors can find informational links containing various images, materials on educational opportunities, and descriptions of the research capabilities for the Department's research centers including the Center for Earth Observation and the Yale Electron Microprobe Laboratory. [RME]

Duke University: The Beratan Chemistry Research Group [jpeg, pdf]

The Beratan Research Group at Duke University offers summaries of its research dealing with tunneling pathways, biological energy transduction, multi-electron catalysis, and other organic chemistry projects. Users can learn about the educational experiences and current projects of the people who are a part of the group. The website offers a list of the group's publications since 1998 along with links to each article, although for many publications users do need to be a subscriber to that particular journal. Students and post-docs interested in the theory of complex chemical and biochemical systems can learn about employment and research opportunities. [RME]


Simple Machines

At this website, EdHeads, a nonprofit, offers five interactive, animated modules to educate second- through sixth-graders about simple machines. By identifying the many machines located throughout a house, students can learn about fulcrums, wheel and axles, levers, pulleys, inclined planes, and much more. The website is equipped with simple animations to help children understand how the machines work. After students have a handle on simple machines, they can begin to see how they work together to create compound machines. The website also provides a brief glossary summarizing nine types of simple machines. [RME]

QuarkNet [jpeg, RealPlayer, Java]

Funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, "QuarkNet brings high school students and teachers to the frontier of 21st century research that seeks to research some of the mysteries about the structure of matter and the fundamental forces of nature." High school teachers and students can explore the Fermi lab through videos, images, activities, and other online resources. The website offers classroom activities dealing with electricity, magnetism, particle physics, relativity, and conservation laws. Educators and students can also learn about valuable opportunities to participate at the QuarkNet centers. [RME]

BBC: Sci Files - Inspirational Welsh Scientists [Macromedia Flash Player, RealPlayer]

This BBC website for secondary school students offers interviews and stories of successful Welsh scientists including Evans the Atom (Lyn Evans), Sir David the Weather (David Brunt), and Williams the Astronaut (Dafydd Rhys Williams). The website offers introductory synopses of the science topics. The Where Now links offer additional information and educational opportunities dealing with the scientist's specialty. Students can find out the starting points and qualifications they'll need for a host of science jobs including forensic science, geology, physics, and radiography. Visitors can assess their knowledge with the Test Your Boffin Factor quiz. [RME]

Chem 4 Kids [gif, Macromedia Flash Player, QuickTime, jpeg]

Andrew Radar Studios' Chem 4 Kids website has greatly expanded since Scout's first report on the site in 1997. The website, directed towards children, now covers topics in reactions, atoms, matter, and biochemistry along with elements. Within each topic, users can find simple, concise explanations and examples of numerous concepts. For instance, in the Atoms link, students can learn about structure, ions, bonding, compounds, naming, and isotopes. The website also offers simple tutorials on units, symbols, and constants. While users are directed to a fee-based website for activities, the images and descriptions of chemicals and chemical reactions offer great examples of how chemistry influences our everyday world. [RME]

Explorations in Earth Science [Microsoft Word, pdf, jpeg]

Searching for ways to stimulate students' interests in the earth sciences? Look no further than this Purdue website created by Professor Larry Braile, which offers numerous, fun and educational earth science education activities. Through the lessons, pictures, figures, and hands-on projects, students can learn about earthquake epicenters, the interior of the Earth, seismic waves, earthquake hazards, and much more. Visitors can find numerous tutorials on the use of the AmaSeis software, EqLocate, SeisVolE, and other earth science computer programs. All the materials are available as html files, Microsoft Word documents, and as pdf files. [RME]

Resources for K-12 Earth Science Educators [pdf]

The Geological Society of America (GSA) offers lessons plans and additional resources covering virtually all topics in geology for K-12 students. The materials are divided into 12 topics, such as Environmental Science, Weather and Climate, and Plate Tectonics. Each of the topics has elementary, intermediate, and secondary lesson plans that offer details on the content, time required, materials needed, and directions for the project. The stimulating activities are a great way for students to understand otherwise difficult subjects and excite them about geology. [RME]

Energy Education Resources: Kindergarten Through 12th Grade [pdf]

"Energy Education Resources: Kindergarten Through 12th Grade is published by the National Energy Information Center (NEIC), a service of the Energy Information Administration (EIA), to provide students, educators, and other information users a list of generally available free or low-cost energy-related educational materials." The website is divided into 12 energy categories such as coal, environment, petroleum, renewable energy, and water. Each entry, listed alphabetically within its energy category, contains a summary of the organization, including its potential fees, its contact information, and a weblink and email address when applicable. While the Web version allows for quick navigation through the materials, individuals can also download the entire text. [RME]

Surfing Scientist [pdf]

At this Australian Broadcasting Corporation website, Ruben Meerman, the surfing scientist, offers a large number of entertaining experiments to excite students about science. At the science tricks link, users can discover how to balance nine nails on the head of a 10th, make a balloon shish kebab, make a super-strength straw, and much more. After each trick, the website offers information on how and why it worked. Everyone will have fun with the primary science lesson plans, demonstrations, and challenging conundrums. The activities are easy to do and use materials that are readily available. [RME]


Saturday Morning Physics [pdf]

The goal of this Fermilab website is "to further the understanding and appreciation of modern physics among high school seniors whether or not they are interested in pursuing science as a career." Users can learn how students can take part in this free nine week course at Fermilab. The diverse lecture topics include the special theory of relativity, interactions of radiation with matter, and the connections of particles with cosmology. Educators and students can download the brochure, find out about the class schedule, and discover the prerequisites. This opportunity may prove to be an important stepping stone in a student's future endeavors. [RME]

Aurora Watch [jpeg]

At this website, visitors can monitor geomagnetic activity and find out when the aurora borealis may be visible from the UK. Lancaster University offers background information on the characteristics and causes of an aurora, plots of both same day and previous day activities, and magnetometer data. Students and educators can learn how to make their own pop-bottle and compass aurora detectors. Individuals can sign up to receive alerts of opportunities to see the aurora. Everyone can treasure the truly amazing collection of northern lights images. [RME]

Planetary Sciences at the National Space Science Data Center

The National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) archives and distributes spacecraft missions' planetary and lunar data and images. Users can find fact sheets, images, press releases, and other resources for the nine planets in the solar system as well as for asteroids and comets. The Catalog of Spaceborne Imaging offers over 500 images. The Discovery Program link describes the two new missions, Dawn and Kepler, along with eight previous missions. The website supplies answers to common questions about the navigation of the site and links to online planetary books and resource guides. [RME] [Macromedia Flash Player]

The website, created by the Institute of Physics, furnishes innumerable hand-picked, relevant, and accurate physics websites. Through the natural language query software, EasyAsk, visitors can locate beneficial websites dealing with their particular questions. Students can take a virtual field trip through an animated cartoon street to discover how physics principles apply to our daily lives. Along with the query software, the website offers two predetermined categories: Careers, which offers links dealing with career advice and profiles of physicists, and Equations, which provides sites supplying physics formulas and constants. While registering is not necessary in order to browse through the site, it allows users to add their comments and rate the resources they use. [RME]

Zero-G [Macromedia Flash Player] offers this exciting Macromedia Flash Player-enhanced slideshows of citizens experiencing zero gravity. Users can listen to a first-time flier's experience on a Zero-G stripped-out Bowing 727. The website explains how the pilots' achieve weightlessness through a roller coaster-like ride at 35,000 feet. The coaches describe their coaching style and the tricks people in the airplane can experience including flips and flying like Superman. Visitors can learn how the adventures were able to take part in this thrilling escapade. [RME]

Rocky Mountain Institute: Climate [pdf]
At this website, the Rocky Mountain Institute proposes actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased efficiency, which it contends will be good for the economy by increasing competitiveness. Users can download reports, fact sheets, and newsletters describing climate change and energy use. Individuals can find tips about how to lessen their greenhouse gas emissions around the house and during travel while saving money at the same time. While some dispute the effects humans have on climate change, visitors can read about the facts and figures the Institute supports. The website also offers a host of climate-related corporate, policy, science, and community links. [RME]

Heart Cut and Patent Watch\index.html

This American Chemical Society website helps users stay up to date on the latest chemistry research articles and patents. Each week, Heart Cut offers reliable summaries of the latest and most exciting publications in the chemistry-related journals. The Patent Watch helps users understand the importance of new drugs and other chemical innovations to our society. Visitors can find archives of both of these reports since 2002. While the website does not provide copies of the articles because of copyright regulations, the authors do provide references so that users can easily consult the literature. [RME]

Geology for Everyone [jpeg, pdf]

This Geological Survey of Ireland website can increase the public's excitement about geology by offering simple, straightforward materials on the basics of geology. The website is divided into numerous themes such as Volcanoes, Rocks, Caves, and the Water Cycle. The links from each of the headings introduce the topic with simple descriptions and remarkable pictures and offer easy experiments when applicable. Students and educators can take virtual tours of the Ox Mountains, Killiney Beach, and other Irish landscapes. Everyone should visit the Landscapes for the Living link, which offers outstanding images of the diverse landscapes of Europe. While some of the themes are currently under construction, including Planet Earth, Plate Tectonics, and Earthquakes, the authors indicate that these materials will be added in the near future. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Quaternary Studies

Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) [pdf]
Quaternary Research at the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison [jpeg, zip, Microsoft Excel]
Godwin Institute of Quaternary Research (GIQR) [jpeg]
International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA)
Quaternary Research Association [Microsoft Word]
Quaternary Environmental Change
The Alaska Quaternary Center
Quaternary Studies [Microsoft Word]

First, the Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) website publicizes its aim "to promote Quaternary studies in Ireland through its publications, and the organization of field meetings and conferences" (1). Visitors can learn about the importance of quaternary studies as well as find out the latest news and upcoming meetings. At the second website, the University of Wisconsin-Madison describes the current and recent studies dealing with "basic and applied problems in glacial geology, surficial geology, palynology, sedimentology, geologic mapping, hydrogeology, soils, and environmental geology "(2). The website offers abstracts of publications of members of the Department of Geology and Geophysics and the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey along with descriptions of the lab, a shaded relief map of the Wisconsin area, and amusing glacial songs. Next, the Godwin Institute of Quaternary Research (GIQR) presents the University of Cambridge's history in quaternary research and the seven current research groups and four recent research projects (3 ). The website furnishes news from the research groups, a gallery of historical images of the East Anglia excursion, and summaries of the Institute's reference collections. Fourth, the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) discusses quaternary scientists' investigations "to interpret the changing world of the glacial ages and their impact on our planet's surface environments" (4). Researchers can find out about INQUA-funded projects, meetings, and scientific commissions. Next, the Quaternary Research Association explains that it "exists to promote understanding of the Quaternary Period by publishing field guides, technical guides, and an international journal as well as holding field meetings and speaker meetings" (5). Students and researchers can discover employment, research, grant, meetings, and educational opportunities. Sixth, the University of Wales presents its investigations in the Remote Sensing Laboratory, Palaeoecology Laboratory, and the Luminescence Laboratory (6 ). Users can find concise descriptions of individual researchers' successes, abstracts of published papers, and links to conference information. The seventh website illustrates the Alaska Quaternary Center's commitment "to the promotion of interdisciplinary research and the enhancement of interdisciplinary instruction in Quaternary sciences" (7). Users can view images of the field work and learn how to obtain quaternary data from the Geographic Information Network of Alaska (GINA). Lastly, Rutgers University promotes its Graduate Certificate in Quaternary Studies where students take part in geology, geography, meteorology, and other disciplines interested in the last couple of million years of Earth's history (8). Students and educators can find information on the researchers involved with the program and the necessary course work. [RME]

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From The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2005.

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Copyright Susan Calcari and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, 1994-2005. 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.

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