The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 4, Number 7

April 1, 2005

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




Topic In Depth


Astromaterials Curation [Java, pdf]

"The Astromaterials Acquisition and Curation Office at the Johnson Space Center is tasked to curate NASA's current and future collections of extraterrestrial samples." The website divides the collections into six categories: Rocks and Soils from the Moon, Meteorites from Antarctica, Stratospheric Dust, Solar Wind, Space-Exposed Hardware, and Stardust Mission Samples. Besides learning how to receive and return the samples, users can find newsletters and information on discoveries made using the samples. Researchers can find out meeting dates and sample request deadlines. The website also presents the future sample collections that NASA hopes will help scientists understand the origin and evolution of the solar system and life. [RME]

NOAA: Air Resources Laboratory Field Research Division [pdf, jpeg]

The NOAA Air Resources Laboratory's Field Research Division created this website to promote its mission to improve scientists' "understanding of atmospheric transport, dispersion and air-surface exchange processes." Researchers can find lengthy lists of the Division's journal, technical, and conference publications since 1950. The website supplies concise summaries about its five main field research capabilities: atmospheric tracers, the Extreme Turbulence (ET) probe, meteorological network operations, radar/sodar, and "smart" balloons. Users can find abstracts, introductions, details of the methods and technology, and data for the Division's many current and past projects. [RME]

Hahn-Meitner-Institut Berlin

The Hahn-Meier-Institute (HMI) promotes its basic and applied research primarily in the structures of solid matter and materials and solar energy at this website. Researchers can learn about the main goals, instruments, and successes of the Berlin Neutron Scattering Center (BENSC), Residual Stress Center, Ion Beam Laboratory (ISL), and other HMI facilities. Users can find out about the development of new materials for solar energy production, proton therapy for eye tumors, ion irradiation, and more. While a few of the links are only available in German, the abundance of information on solar energy and structural research makes this website worth the visit. [RME]

Budapest Neutron Centre [Microsoft Word]

At this website, the Budapest Neutron Centre (BNC) publicizes its neutron research facility used in the fields of physics, chemistry, material science, and engineering. After learning the specifications of the instrument, researchers can learn about BNC proposal deadlines and other news and events. The website offers a summary of the European Commission program, the Integrated Infrastructure Initiative for Neutron Scattering and Muon Spectroscopy (NMI3). Visitors can find links to the many institutes involved with BNC. Interested individuals can create an account at the website in order to take part in a few features, such as posting comments. [RME]

University of Texas: Allen J. Bard Lab of Electrochemistry

Allen J. Bard's Lab of Electrochemistry at the University of Texas is interested in "the application of electrochemical methods to the study of chemical problems." The website offers lengthy lists of Bard's journal articles, patents, books, and other publications. Users can discover the lab's current research projects dealing with ultra-high-resolution electrochemistry; photoelectrochemistry at semiconductors; and electrochemical studies of biological systems, organic species, and inorganic species. Students and educators can find a link to an interactive Periodic Table of Elements. [RME]

The Alaska Climate Research Center [gif]

The University of Fairbanks's Alaska Climate Research Center offers a host of materials about its climate research and about Alaska's climate in general. The website supplies abstracts of the Center's research projects such as The Urban Heat Island Effect at Fairbanks, Alaska and Radiation Climatology of Alaska. Researchers can find data and statistics on Alaska's temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, pressure, and wind. The website provides Climographs for various areas throughout the state. Students can discover how latitude, continentiality, and elevation affect Alaska's climate. [RME]

New York State Museum: Geological Research [jpeg, pdf]

The New York State Museum promotes its research in the natural history of New York at this website. Visitors can discover the mission, functions, and history of the Center for Stratigraphy and Paleontology. The New York State Academy of Mineralogy link explains its activities to promote the science of mineralogy and offers a catalog of the New York State mineral collections. Students and educators can find tutorials on sedimentary rocks and images of the minerals displayed at the Museum. Researchers can find out the people involved with the geological research and can browse a list of the staff's publications. [RME]

Wits University: Climatology Research Group [jpeg, pdf]

The Wits University Climate Research Group focuses its efforts on four main areas of research: atmospheric aerosols and their radiative forcing potential over southern Africa; microphysical processes in clouds; biogenic-atmospheric interactions; and air quality and management. After reading the synopsis of the many research projects, visitors can view a gallery of photographs of the group's events and endeavors. Although the research link is still under construction, individuals can find a list of the group's publication and can download presentations from past conferences. [RME]


Astronomy Activities

Jane Mena-Werth and Dr. Jos Mena-Werth at the University of Nebraska at Kearney provide astronomy lessons for teachers of grades kindergarten through high school. Only common, everyday classroom materials are needed for each activity, making them easy to add to the curriculum. Through the hands-on activities, students can learn about outer space, constellations, planets, and much more. The website provides fill in the blank and match-up quizzes as well as discussion and research questions. [RME]

Performance Assessment Links in Science (PALS)

The Performance Assessment Links in Science (PALS) website is "an interactive resource bank for science performance assessment tasks." Funded by the National Science Foundation, the website sorts the tasks by grade level (K-12), standards, and science subject. Within each task link, users will find instructions on administration procedures, activities with student directions, rubric, technical quality information, and examples of student work. With so many activities offered, science educators are sure to find valuable additional material to add to their current curriculum. [RME]

NASA's Kids Science News Network (KSNN) [QuickTime]

NASA's Kids Science News Network (KSNN) website provides extensive resources incorporating animations and videos to educate kindergarten through fifth-grade students about science and also math and technology. In the K-2 Newsbreaks link, visitors can find educational stories about measuring weather, the three states of matter, the causes of night and day, and math. The 3-5 Newsbreaks link provides fun facts on aerospace, space science, earth science, and life sciences. The link also offers answers to Kid's Questions on science, technology, computers, and mathematics. Students with questions can Ask the Expert. Parents and educators can discover how KSNN can be used to educate children about science, technology, and math. [RME]

National Geographic: Forces of Nature [Macromedia Flash Player, jpeg, pdf]

This National Geographic offers entertaining Macromedia Flash Player enhanced tutorials about natural disasters. Students can make their own earthquake, discover why a volcano erupts, build a tropical cyclone, find out the characteristics of a tornado, and more. The website offers facts on historically large events as well as key information about earthquakes, volcanoes, tornados, and hurricanes. The simple glossary helps users understand the scientific terms presented throughout the modules. Educators and parents can find fun activities and lessons for all grade levels such as Twister Tracking and the Power of Fire. [RME]

National Geographic Xpeditions [Macromedia Flash Player, jpeg]

"Xpeditions is home to the U.S. National Geography Standards--and to thousands of ideas, tools, and interactive adventures that bring them to life." While the countless lesson plans cover a wide variety of geography-related topics, the ones involving the physical sciences include: Mars Mobiles, Oil and Water in the Middle East, River Sources and Stories, and How are Islands Formed?. The Activities link offers numerous stimulating interactive modules and articles. Because the materials are sorted by standards and grade level, parents and teachers can easily find applicable resources. [RME]

If you had X-ray vision what would you see? [gif]

The Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) created this online brochure to educate users about the history and science of x-rays. The website covers topics in radiography, novel materials, crystallography, CHESS and CESR, microscience, high pressure, and the future in X-ray techniques. Users can read through the materials step by step through the use of arrow links or can skip to a particular topic through the Contents link. With the help of illustrations, students can learn a great deal about X-ray technology including how the technology is used to examine atoms, the growth of semiconductor materials, and unusual phases of matter. [RME]

Geology in North Dakota [jpeg]

The Department of Geosciences at North Dakota State University educates visitors about the geologic features and landforms of North Dakota through clear text and astonishing images at this website. In the Glacial Features of North Dakota link, visitors can learn about end moraines, eskers, kettle lakes, and kames. Educators can find amazing photographs of mass wasting including creep, slope failure, and slumps. Users can also find materials on stream features and satellite imagery of North Dakota. While the website concentrates on North Dakota, the materials can be a great addition to any earth science or geomorphology class. [RME]

KanGIS: K12 GIS Community [jpeg]

Dr. Thomas Baker, an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Kansas, developed the KanGIS website to offer technical and educational support in geotechnologies to teachers and schools. The Student Data Mapper allows teachers and students to create in GIS-related projects through the website. Everyone can view and participate in current mapping projects. K-12 educators can join the KanGIS email electronic mailing list to stay up-to-date on the latest K12 GIS events and news. The Resource link offers examples of educational projects using online mapping and many map-making training materials. [RME]


Indiana University PEPP Earthquake Science Institute [gif, jpeg]

"PEPP (Princeton Earth Physics Project) is a nationwide educational outreach program that combines state-of-the-art seismological research with hands-on classroom training for middle and high school students in the physical and earth sciences." At the website, users can learn about Indiana University's involvement with the program as well as upcoming PEPP, Indiana, and national events. Visitors can find information on current and past earthquakes recorded by PEPP and other organizations. The website offers curriculum materials for Indiana University's program and information on the software used for seismic data recording, education, and event viewing. Students and educators can find tutorials on how to build a seismometer, a weather-proof vault, and a seismic station. Researchers can find links to instrument manufacturers and sensor information. [RME]

The Right-To-Know Network [pdf]

The Right-To-Know Network (RTK NET) "provides free access to numerous databases, text files, and conferences on the environment." The databases of interest to those involved in the physical sciences include the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI); Biennial Reporting System (BRS); Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System (CERCLIS); and the Accident Release Information Program (ARIP). Users can find factsheets and links about the databases as well as related statutes. The website also offers countless links to environmental and other data. [RME]

Science@NASA [jpeg, pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

This NASA website promotes its recently established Science Mission Directorate, which is "closely involved in the Vision for Space Exploration through its support of science that both enables, and is enabled by, NASA's exploration activities." The website breaks down the Directorate's initiatives into three categories: Earth-Sun System, Solar System, and Universe. Visitors can find fantastic images and extensive, clear information on NASA's countless missions and also scientific background. Educators can find links to teacher's guides and resources. Students can learn about Earth and space science through fun games and activities. The Scientists/Engineers link supplies NASA mission data, information on research opportunities, and outreach materials. [RME]


The purposd of the GREENGRASS project is to measure "the net global warming potential resulting from the exchange of CO2, N2O, and CH4 with managed European grasslands and assess the European wide mitigation potential of key field and farm management scenarios." Visitors can learn about the management strategies at experimental sites throughout Europe. Researchers can find out about upcoming and past workshops and other events. While the documents, reports, and the database are only accessible to GREENGRASS participants, users can find a reference list of peer-reviewed articles, materials on the partners, and information on the CARBOEUROPE cluster. [RME]

The Illinois Groundwater Association [pdf]

The Illinois Groundwater Association (IGA) "seeks to advance the knowledge of groundwater resources in Illinois and functions exclusively for charitable and educational purposes." Visitors can read IGA's constitution, by-laws, and its history beginning in 1982. The website provides newsletters describing IGA's latest endeavors and upcoming events. Students and researchers can find out about funding opportunities and employment opportunities. Interested visitors can also find out how to join the Association. [RME]

Seventh International Carbon Dioxide Conference [jpeg]

Organized by NOAA's Climate Monitoring and Diagnostic Laboratory (CMDL), the Seventh International Carbon Dioxide Conference is planned September 25-30 in Broomfield, Colo. At this website, scientists involved in various aspects of the global carbon cycle, especially the current increases of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, are encouraged to attend. Users can read the preliminary announcement and can learn about the themes of the conference. Researchers can learn about abstract submissions and accommodations. The Brief Conference History link offers a nice synopsis of the accomplishments of past conferences. [RME]

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) [pdf]

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) website promotes the agency's work to protect human and natural resources in the state. Users can find out the latest Texas environmental news and hot topics. Educators and students can find an abundance of materials dealing with air quality, water quality, and waste. Through the many documents at this website, users can familiarize themselves with the Texas environmental laws and policies. Researchers can learn how to obtain TCEQ data and publications. Residents can find information on water sources, availability, and regulations. [RME]

Astronomical Society of Victoria [jpeg]

The Astronomical Society of Victoria website promotes its efforts to act as a forum for a wide variety of people interested in astronomy. Users can find learn about the monthly meetings open to the public. The website introduces the Society's many sections including Computing, Cosmology and Astrophysics, Current Phenomena, and Radio Astronomy. The Newcomers link furnishes helpful lists of astronomy books, magazines, and computer software. Everyone will enjoy the fantastic images of the Great Orion Nebula, the Trifid Nebula, and other space phenomena. [RME]

Topic In Depth


Cambridge Cosmology: Galaxies [gif]
Galaxies Galore, Games and More [QuickTime, Macromedia Shockwave Player]
Active Galaxies and Quasars
Galaxies and the Universe
Active Galaxies Newsletter [postscript, pdf]
Classifying Galaxies [Java, jpeg]
Distant Galaxies and Cosmological Models [gif]

This Topic in Depth presents the science and research of galaxies. First, the University of Cambridge offers clear, logical descriptions and images of the Milky Way, spiral and elliptical galaxies, clusters, and dark matter of the Universe (1). Users can also find educational tutorials on many other cosmology topics. Next, the Space Telescope Science Institute's "Galaxies Galore, Games and More is a learning module designed to allow elementary students to use their observational skills, recognize patterns, and learn how galaxies are classified" (2). Through the fun, interactive materials, students can learn about spiral, elliptical, and irregular galaxies. The third website, developed by NASA, introduces students to Seyfert Galaxies, quasars, and blazars (3). Visitors can find cool facts about the topic, quizzes, an advanced-level article on galaxies and pulsars, and additional resources. Next, Professor Bill Keel at Leiden University and the University of Alabama supplies graduate level virtual lectures on the topic of extragalactic astronomy (4). While the website is only updated to the most recent class he taught (Spring of 2003), the wealth of high-quality information offered on topics such as star formation, environmental effects on galaxies, and galaxy interactions and mergers makes it worth the visit. The fifth website, produced by the Jodrell Bank Observatory, is "an electronic publication dedicated to the observations and theory of active galaxies" (5). The newsletter promotes new papers, conferences, dissertations, employment opportunities, and more. Sixth, the Science Museum of Virginia educates users about the differences among galaxies through a series of images and clear text (6). Visitors can view images collected by the Hubble telescope and can test their skills at classifying galaxies. The seventh website, produced by National Academy of Engineering member Edward Barlow, presents concepts of general relativity and the new developments and tools used to study galaxies and other cosmological phenomena (7). The complex materials offer great examples of how models are used to help scientists understand facets of the universe. Lastly, Wikipedia offers concise explanations of the characteristics of galaxies, their history, and etymology (8). Throughout the text, visitors can find links to more information on the concepts discussed. [RME]

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