The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 4, Number 9

April 29, 2005

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




Topic In Depth


Kansas State University Physics Research

The Kansas State University promotes its research in various areas of physics through this website. The materials are divided into six categories: atomic, molecular, and optical physics; cosmology and particle astrophysics; condensed matter physics; high energy physics; interdisciplinary research; and physics education research. Educators can find laser safety rules as well as links to many lab safety websites. Researchers can find images and descriptions of the Kansas Light Source, QuarkNet, and other instruments and facilities. The website presents the groups' upcoming events, lists of recent publications, progress reports, and recent accomplishments. [RME]

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): Three Online Versions of the Atomic Spectra Database [Java, pdf]

At this website, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) offers the new Atomic Spectra Database Version 3.0, which "contains critically evaluated NIST data for radiative transitions and energy levels in atoms and atomic ions." Researchers can view the data by wavelengths or energy levels. Individuals can find articles summarizing the data and explaining the ground levels and ionization energies of neutral atoms. The website offers a useful help page as well as archives of NIST's previous versions of the database. [RME]

National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology: Research Center for Geological Environments [gif]

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology presents the work of the Research Center for Geological Environments to study the deep geological environments of the Japanese islands in order to determine the appropriate disposal sites for radioactive waste. The website offers a description of the Center's organization and a summary of its work by the director. In the Research Team link, users can find mission statements and member information for the eight groups including the Rock Physics, Geochemistry, and Crustal Fluid Teams. [RME]

Louisiana Geological Survey [pdf, jpeg]

The Louisiana Geological Survey, located at Louisiana State University, developed this website to promote its goal to provide geological and environmental data that will allow for environmentally sound natural resource development and economic decisions. Users can find general information about the Survey's mission, staff, plan, and history. The website features the research and publications of the Basin Research, Cartographic, Coastal, Geologic Mapping, and Water and Environmental sections. Researchers can discover stratigraphic charts of Louisiana, information on lignite resources, and other geologic data. [RME]

The Society for Planetary SETI Research [pdf]

"The Society for Planetary SETI Research (SPSR) is an organization of scientists and scholars from a variety of disciplines formed around their common interest in anomalies on planets and their satellites whose origins may be the result of intelligent activity." Users can discover the challenges faced by the group and their main research interests. The website supplies peer-reviewed journal publications and recent articles written by members of the Society. Individuals can find professional information about the members as well as links to several of their websites. [RME]

University of Delaware: Synoptic Climatology Lab [pdf, gif, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word]

"The synoptic climatology group performs research involving numerous applied climatological issues that affect humans and other organisms around the world." This University of Delaware website presents the lab's research in six main topics: Heat/Health Watch-Warning System (HHWWS); Ongoing Climate and Health Research; Applied Climate Indices; Air Mass Monitoring and Classification; International Projects; and Other Research. Within each topic, users can find publications, slide shows, and brochures illustrating the specific research goals, objectives, and conclusions. [RME]

Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Climate Research Division [gif, jpeg]

The Climate Research Division (CRD) explains its role in Scripps Institution of Oceanography's goals by researching short and long term climate change and humans' influence on the climate. This site offers links to the homepages of the Division research projects including the Ocean State Estimation and the Experimental Climate Prediction Center (ECPC). Users can view images of the el Nio forecast as well as details about past el Nios. Researchers can find information on CRD publications, upcoming climate-related meetings, and information about data. [RME]

Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM)-Exploring Clouds at the Edge of Space [jpeg]

The Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) "satellite mission will explore Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMCs), also called noctilucent clouds, to find out why they form and why they are changing." The website illustrates this NASA project's scientific goals, six objectives, and importance. Users can find a list of publications and links to related news stories and articles about the project. Through a series of images, individuals can learn about the instrumentation including the Solar Occultation for Ice Experiment (SOFIE) and the Cloud Imaging and Particle Size Experiment (CIPS). [RME]


The Nobel Prize in Physics-Educational [gif, Macromedia Shockwave Player]

The Nobel Foundation provides a host of animated and interactive materials to educate individuals about the fascinating world of physics at this website. Through clear articles and helpful images, students can discover the principles of special relativity, quantum mechanics, vacuum tubes, x-rays, and accelerators. The website offers an interactive microscope simulator, a pictorial tutorial of how to prepare specimen, and an interesting photo gallery of fluorescence microscope. Users can play online games to learn about liquid crystals, lasers, and transistors. This website will kindle everyone's interests in physics. [RME]

Met Office: Learning Centre [gif]

The Met Office, the commercial weather and environmental information of the British government, developed this website "to help teachers and pupils by extending their knowledge of weather and climate - in the UK and around the world." With materials covering each level of education, everyone can find educational and enjoyable games, puzzles, and activities at this website. Users can locate current and past meteorological data, charts, and satellite images for the UK and other parts of the world. Individuals can learn about the latest severe and unusual weather occurring throughout the world. The website also features six webcams located all over the UK. [RME]

SCH3U Grade 11 Chemistry [Chime]

Tom Stretton, a science teacher in the Upper Canada District School Board, provides chemistry notes, figures, and quizzes intended for eleventh-grade chemistry students. Within the Databook link, students can learn the origins of names of the elements, electromagnetic spectrum, ionization energies, and much more. Visitors can find twelve laboratory activities, fun chemistry-related conundrums, a timetable of the history of alchemy and chemistry, and information on the metric system. The website offers details about molecules, ions, bonding, stoichiometry, and additional topics usually discussed in high school chemistry classes. [RME]

The Wave that Shook the World [jpeg, Macromedia Flash Player]

This NOVA website addresses the tsunami disaster that occurred in December 2004 in the Indian Ocean. Users can learn about the warning system in place in the Pacific Ocean and both the need for and difficulties of setting up a similar system in the Indian Ocean. Through an animated module, visitors can discover the tsunami's path, speed, wave height, and its changes in characteristics once it collided with land. The website presents summaries of past, disastrous tsunamis as well as locations of predicted future occurrences. With its enlightening materials, this website educates individuals, not just about the recent disaster, but also about the creation of tsunamis and plate tectonics as a whole. [RME]

Molecular Expressions: Optical Microscopy Primer [jpeg]

Produced by the Florida State University, this website offers a host of tutorials about microscopy and its related principles. In the Physics of Light and Color link, students can learn about electromagnetic radiation, fluorescence, light filters, lasers, and much more. The website offers an introduction to the use of a microscope, animations of light pathways, and a history of the instrument's development. Researchers can discover countless techniques to aid in contrast enhancement, the properties of digital images and processing, fundamentals of photomicrography, specimen preparation for confocal microscopy, and much more. With the handy Java tutorials and images, individuals are sure to find help understanding the intricacies of optical microscopy. [RME]

Periodic Table Live! [QuickTime, jpeg, Java]

Periodic Table Live!, produced by the Division of Chemical Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, allows users "to explore a broad range of information about the elements, their reactions, their properties, their structures and their histories." After selecting an element from the periodic table, users can access a myriad of information divided into three sections: Description, Physical, and Atomic. Students can view short videos of many of the elements' reactions with air, water, acids, and bases. The website is equipped with a helpful glossary and images of the elements, scientists, and other related items. [RME]

Fermilab: Particle Physics

This Fermilab website offers physicists the chance to educate individuals about the "fundamental particles and forces of our universe." The website offers a database containing over 250 hands-on activities, special events, research participation, and other educational and outreach programs. The information can be searched by state, audience, and institution. The database offers a brief description of each program and a link to its website. Students can learn about the basics of particle physics through a concise article. Educators can discover why particle physics education is important. [RME]

The University of California, Berkeley: Understanding Geologic Time [gif]

Through this University of California, Berkeley website, both students and teachers can understand the complexities of geologic time. Through interactive timetables, students can discover when key events occurred in the earth's history, the difference between relative and absolute time, the Law of Superposition, and the Geologic time scale. At the end of the tutorial, users can test their knowledge. Educators can find preparation steps, technical requirements, standards, and user tips. The website provides a list of terms, simplified version of the geologic time scale, quizzes, assessment materials, and other lesson plan ideas. [RME]


ESA: Cassini - Huygens [gif, jpeg, Macromedia Flash Player, QuickTime, Windows Media Player, RealPlayer]

The European Space Agency (ESA) promotes the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn. Researchers can find three-dimensional images and also descriptions of the spacecraft, instruments, and the launcher. Students can learn about the atmosphere and surface of Saturn and its largest moon, Titan. The website offers animations and news articles about the missions as well as numerous videos exploring the questions scientists hope can be answered through the mission. Everyone will be fascinated by the incredible images of Saturn and Titan. [RME]

Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) [pdf]

The Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) "is dedicated to the dissemination of scientific information on sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleontology, environmental sciences, marine geology, hydrogeology, and many additional related specialties." The website presents the latest and upcoming meetings, workshops, and other events. Individuals can find newsletters of the many SEPM sections and information on publications. Users can learn about the scientific achievements of many geologists in the Awards & Metals link. Students and researchers can discover the benefits of a SEPM membership including short courses and field trip opportunities. [RME]

A Century of Einstein [Macromedia Flash Player]

This intriguing MSNBC website addresses how Einstein's theories still affect the world we live in today. Users can view a Macromedia Flash Player-enhanced slide show summarizing Einstein's life and major accomplishments. Visitors can download the five papers from 1905, Einstein's "miracle year." Students can find a helpful interactive module discussing the principles of relativity and its importance. The website discusses Einstein's personality and beliefs and hypothesizes how Einstein might have faired in today's world. Users can learn about the questions dealing with dark matter and dark energy that scientists are still trying to understand today. [RME]

American Chemical Society: Chemistry Headlines [jpeg, pdf]

The American Chemical Society has added a new webpage providing the latest chemistry news and headlines to its vast website. The website presents a new chemical image each week, a Today in Chemical History column, links to upcoming meetings, and an educational article for chemistry students. While users need to be members of a specific journal to receive the full text of many of the exciting publications, the website offers abstracts of the papers. Enthusiasts, however, can read exciting, clear articles about the latest interesting discoveries and intriguing chemistry features. [RME]

NASA's Return to Flight [jpeg, Macromedia Flash Player, pdf, RealPlayer]

NASA promotes Discovery's mission to return astronauts to space more than two years after the Columbia accident. The website offers an overview of the flight mission and the crew members. Individuals can view images and videos of the scientists preparing for the space shuttle mission. Through short, informational videos, students can learn how the main engines, external airlock, parachutes, and other machines used during a space mission function. Scientists can read more in-depth discussions of the instruments. This website allows users to better understand the many components needed to complete a space mission. [RME]

The New World-wide Earthquake Locator

The World-Wide Earthquake Locator, developed at the University of Edinburgh, "aims to provide up-to-date information and detailed dynamic maps of earthquakes across the world within a maximum of 24 hours of their occurrence." Through online, interactive maps, users can determine the location, size, and time of recent earthquakes. While the authors concede that the prediction model is inaccurate, students and educators can utilize the forecasting tool to help understand the earthquake processes. By providing the current data as well as information on past earthquakes, the developers hope to increase the efficiency of disaster relief response and help scientists predict the occurrences of large, destructive geologic events. [RME]

Meta Research: Astronomy Research [jpeg, QuickTime, avi, gif, Windows Media Player]

Meta Research, headed by astronomer Tom Van Flandern, fosters "research into ideas not otherwise supported solely because they conflict with mainstream theories in Astronomy." The website offers papers on alternative explanations in the fields of cosmology, solar systems, and gravity. Individuals can find out about upcoming solar eclipse expeditions and view images from past trips. Students and educators can find links to numerous astronomy-related animations including the Face on Mars, Fission Model, and Leonids meteor storm. Interested visitors can learn about membership opportunities and Meta Research publications. [RME]

Garden Earth Enterprise

Scientific editor Monica Ric Paxson and researcher Stephen Corrick developed this website to promote their views of global warming and suggest ways to lessen the trend. The website features a story from NASA about the Arctic Ice changes and letters discussing the use of ethanol as a form of energy by Ned Ford, Vice Chair of the National Energy Committee at the Sierra Club. Individuals can sign up to become involved with electronic mailing lists and chatrooms discussing global warming. While both the occurrence and magnitude of global warming are still being debated, this website provides a good example of what some fear is occurring and steps everyone can do to combat the phenomenon. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Meteor Showers

Comets and Meteor Showers
IMO: The International Meteor Organization [gif]
The American Meteor Society [jpeg]
NAMN: North American Meteor Network
Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers (A.L.P.O.) Meteors Section
The Meteoritical Society
Meteorites from Antarctica [jpeg, Microsoft Word]
Paper Plate Education: Meteor Shower [gif]

First, Gary Kronk, sponsored by the American Meteor Society, provides information on the meteor shower, The Leonids, as well as a meteor-observing calendar (1). Users can also learn about the differences between comets and meteors. The second website features the International Meteor Organization's (IMO) research, news, software, and observational results (2). Students can learn about the many observation methods such as telescopic and fireball observations. Next, the American Meteor Society promotes meteor astronomy research activities of both amateurs and professionals (3). Visitors can view fascinating meteor images, learn about the Meteor Spectroscopy Project, discover recent meteor observations, and much more. The fourth website presents the North American Meteor Network's (NAMN) function to promote astronomy, teach the methods of meteor observation, and coordinate observations (4). Users can find data on recent meteor and fireball observations. Next, the Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers (A.L.P.O.) Meteors Section furnishes highlights of upcoming and recent meteor showers (5). Individuals can also find detailed descriptions of each week's meteor activities. At the sixth website, the Meteoritical Society offers materials on news, events, and resources about meteorites, asteroids, and other planetary phenomena (6). Educators can find a series of links to educational websites. Astronomers can learn about meteoritic publications, membership opportunities, and research. Next, NASA offers a database of Antarctic meteorites (7). The website supplies the Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter, sample request forms and guidelines, and information on meteorite collection and interpretation. Lastly, Paper Plate Education, supported by DePaul University, the Office of Space Science Center for Education and Outreach, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the Great Lakes Planetarium Association, teaches students about the path of meteors through an entertaining hands-on activity (8). The activity, to be done during a meteor shower, requires only a star chart, which can be printed from the website, and a paper plate. [RME]

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