The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 4, Number 11

May 27, 2005

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




Topic In Depth


University of Aberdeen: Dryland Rivers Research [jpeg]

This University of Aberdeen website "is intended to stimulate research by providing an information focus and provoking networking between those working on dryland rivers and the sediments they leave behind." Following an introduction to the subjects covered at the site and the latest news, users can discover what drylands are and why they occur. Researchers can explore the work of numerous researchers related to geomorphology, sedimentology, processes, techniques, and environment and engineering. Visitors can read posts on the bulletin board, and after registering, can reply to an item. Teachers can find educational materials and pictures in the Images link. [RME]

Arizona Space Grant Consortium [pdf]

The Arizona Space Grant Consortium's mission "is to expand opportunities for Americans to learn about and participate in NASA's aeronautics and space programs by supporting and enhancing science, and engineering education, research, and outreach programs." The website features overviews, explanations of the missions, and the histories of a number of space science projects including Moon Devils and the Students Satellite Program. Students can explore graduate fellowship and undergraduate internship opportunities. Teachers can learn about opportunities to have Space Grant Speakers visit their classrooms. [RME]

McMaster University: Hitchcock Group [pdf, jpeg]

This website promotes research by the Hitchcock Group at McMaster University with the "applications of inner shell excitation spectroscopies and microscopies to the analysis of advanced materials." Researchers can find general overviews, in-depth summaries, and highlights about the group's projects in the areas of synchrotron radiation and electron impact. Students can find out about funded research positions and postdoctoral opportunities. The website offers pdf files of the group's publications on surfaces, molecules, polymers, and additional materials. [RME]

University of Wisconsin-Fluid and Melt Inclusions

The University of Wisconsin-Madison created this website "for people interested in the properties, behaviors and origins of fluid and melt inclusions in natural and synthetic materials." The website offers downloads of publications in The Canadian Mineralogist journal and other rock and mineral papers. Students and researchers can find out about meetings and work shops. The website fosters discussion of hot topics in the field of fluid inclusion. Users have a chance to join the fluid inclusion electronic mailing list. [RME]

Louisiana State University: Tourmaline Today [pdf, jpeg]

This Louisiana State University website features its research of the mineral tourmaline, which can provide "information on the thermal and fluid history of rocks in which it develops, is intimately associated with some of the world's premier metallic ore deposits, retains chemical signatures of the sources of tourmaline detritus in clastic rocks", and has many additional valuable petrogenetic features. Researchers can find downloads of abstracts and publications of the University's investigations. Students and educators can find information on tourmaline crystal structure, classification, and the highest concentrations of cations and anions in tourmaline. [RME]

Environmental Molecular Science Institute (EMSI) at The Ohio State

The Environmental Molecular Science Institute (EMSI) at The Ohio State University presents its research to better understand the "chemistry and reactivity of pollutants on environmental surfaces at the molecular level of detail" at this website. Users can learn about the activities, findings, and the researchers involved with EMSI's numerous environmental chemistry research projects. Teachers can discover workshop opportunities and EMSI's outreach activities aimed at all levels of education. Researchers and students can find information on upcoming events, links to related institutions and programs, and a list of EMSI's publication. [RME]

National Ignition Facility (NIF) [gif, jpeg, QuickTime, pdf]

The National Ignition Facility (NIF) promotes its two main programs, Laser Science and Technology (LS&T) and Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF), at this website. Individuals can view images, animations, and short movies of crystal growth, the Optics Processing Laboratory, Beamline Operations, and additional NIF-related projects and science. Researchers can discover the science and successes of NIF, including setting the world record for high-energy laser performance. Students can discover the fundamental concepts about laser operations. [RME]

Curtin University of Technology: Physics Research

This website presents Curtin University of Technology's applied physics research primarily in the areas of isotope science, remote sensing, materials research, and marine science and technology. Researchers can discover the University's collaborative efforts in projects to determine the age of Western Australian rocks and minerals, the concentrations of impurities in the Antarctic ice, and other isotope science research. Students can find out about educational opportunities covering remote sensing theory and its application to environment and resource management. The website presents information on research programs, publications, and employment and scholarship opportunities dealing with its marine science endeavors. [RME]


The Schoolyard Solar System

"The Schoolyard Solar System was developed to demonstrate the solar system to scale; to show the relationship between units of thousands, millions, and billions; and to accomplish these goals with student involvement that will re-enforce the lessons." Students and educators can find images of the Sun and the nine planets in our solar system. The website presents bulk, orbital, and observational parameters as well as additional facts for the objects. By printing out the materials and following the hands-on activity discussed at the website, students can learn about the scale of the solar system. [RME]

The Graphite Page [gif, tiff, Macromedia Flash Player, Java]

John A. Jaszczak at Michigan Technological University presents the characteristics of graphite at this website. Students can find concise descriptions and helpful images about graphite properties, spirals, and structures. The website offers images and descriptions of graphite found all over the world. Using Macromedia Flash Player, students can observe graphite levitating due to its diamagnetic susceptibility. The website also offers an interactive applet presenting the atom positions for nano-tubes and nano-cones. [RME]

Skarns and Skarn Deposits [jpeg]

This Washington State University website offers a host of information and links to outside sites related to skarns and skarn deposits. Students can discover the historical usage, mineralogy, evolution, geochemistry, petrogenesis, and additional facts of skarns. The explanations contain links to educational figures and additional information to help students learn about basic geologic processes. Researchers can find over 600 references to skarn-related publications. Individuals can submit their skarn photographs to the author, Larry Meinert. [RME]

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Computational Astrophysics: Digital Demo Room [QuickTime, pdf]

This University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign website features four computer simulations to increase the understanding of astrophysics: Disk Galaxy Dynamics, One Dimensional Hydrodynamics, Stellar Structure and Evolution, and Two Dimensional Hydrodynamics. Each simulation offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced modes. At the Stellar Structure and Evolution Simulator link, individuals can find a tutorial describing the basic physics concepts related to the topic along with the interactive models. Students and educators can also find detailed information about the subjects presented at the website through downloadable scientific papers. [RME]

University of Maryland: Astronomy Workshop [Java]

Professor Douglas P. Hamilton and his students at the University of Maryland created this website to provide individuals with astronomy tools and tutorials. At the Astronomy Classroom, students can create scaled models, find out how long it takes to get to interesting places in the Universe, and explore the history of the cosmos. The website offers solar system calculators, animations of solar objects' orbits, simulations of the seasons, and much more. Visitors can also check out the newest additions to the site and can find out what are the most popular tools of the day. [RME]

Jefferson Lab: Science Education [gif, pdf]

Jefferson Lab carries out its long-term commitment to science education by providing a host of teacher resources, games, and science lessons. Students can find a periodic table offering physical characteristics and information on the history and uses of each element. The Student Zone contains a virtual lab tour, glossary of scientific terms, and materials on internships. Teachers can locate pdf downloads of many hands-on activities on many science subjects such as microscopes, magnets, and measuring. The website introduces educational events and educational programs for both teachers and students. [RME]

Lightning and Atmospheric Electricity Research at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center (GHCC) [wav, gif, QuickTime, pdf]

The Global Hydrology and Climate Center (GHCC) educates users about lightning and the techniques involved in their lightning and atmospheric electricity research at this website. To begin, users should visit the Lightning Primer, where they can discover the history of lightning research, the characteristics of storms, and types of lightning discharge, and the many methods used to study lightning. Students and educators can then explore the attributes of the Optical Transient Detector, the Lightning Mapper Sensor, the Lightning Imaging Sensor, and additional space-based sensors. Researchers can locate numerous lightning-related datasets and can learn about lightning campaigns and ground validation. [RME]

NOAA Weather Education [gif, Microsoft PowerPoint, exe]

NOAA offers links to a variety of educational materials on meteorology, hydrology, climatology, and other weather-related fields for children, teens, and young adults at this website. Students can find websites where they can learn about hurricanes, storms, tornadoes, and floods through interactive games. Teachers can find lightning safety presentations, satellite images, lightning photos, and glossaries. The website offers materials on weather related careers, degree programs, distance learning courses, and additional opportunities. [RME]


Jantar Mantar: The Astronomical Observatories of Jai Singh II [QuickTime, jpeg, avi, pdf]

This website, created by the Cornell University Professor of Art, Barry Perlus, presents the five astronomical observatories in west central India. After reading a short introduction to the observatories, users can explore interactive panoramas of the observatories, built in the 18th century, using QuickTime. The website also offers still images and animations of the Samrat Yantra. Visitors can learn about the latest design plans and additions to the website. The website features downloads of articles related to the project. [RME]

AAPG: American Association of Petroleum Geologists

Since its founding in 1917, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists has strived "to foster scientific research, to advance the science of geology, to promote technology, and to inspire high professional conduct." Students can read the news publication, Explorer, and discover employment opportunities. Teachers can contribute to the development of a K-12 classroom resources webpage. The website features AAPG's leadership, conventions, annual meetings, and the Visiting Geologist Program, where students can meet with experienced geologists. [RME]

Nobel Laureates in Physics

This Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) website presents the winners of Nobel Prizes in physics since 1901. For each winner, individuals can find short summaries of the scientist's research and his or her places of employment and study. The website supplies links to the universities and to outside resources about the prominent scientists. By analyzing the content in the website, users can begin to appreciate the great progress and advancements that have been made in the field of physics during the last one hundred plus years. [RME]

NOAA Satellite and Information Service [jpeg, java]

"The Satellite Services Division of the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) provides real time access to satellite data and products for the public and government." Users can locate Hazard Mapping System (HMS) Fire Analysis, real-time satellite fire monitoring, Web-based GIS fire analysis, and additional fire products. The OSEI (Operational Significant Event Imagery) link supplies archived and current images of flood events, severe weather, tropical cyclones, and other significant environmental events. Researchers can find technical information on the satellites. Individuals can also find bulletins, advisories, text data, and images of precipitation, snow and ice, volcanic activity, winds, and tropical weather. [RME]

EPA: RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) Online [pdf]

The RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) "online database is designed to enable users to locate documents, including publications and other outreach materials, that cover a wide range of RCRA issues and topics." Users have three search options: Topics, Full Text, or Advanced searches. For those having trouble finding needed materials, the website offers a handy two-page reference guide. The What's New link offers information on the latest system changes and lists of the most recent or updated materials, [RME]

National Speleological Society (NSS) [jpeg, pdf, Microsoft Media Player, QuickTime]

At this website, the National Speleological Society (NSS) promotes its goals "to study, explore, and conserve cave and karst resources; protect access to caves; encourage responsible management of caves and their unique environments; and promote responsible caving." Individuals can view amazing images of the twelve preserves managed by NSS. Students and educators can investigate links offering virtual tours of caves, cave exploration safety, and materials about the geologic characteristics of caves. The site offers entertaining cave ballads, cave postcards, and cave art exhibits. [RME]

The Meteoritical Society [pdf]

"The Meteoritical Society is a non-profit scholarly organization founded in 1933 to promote the study of extraterrestrial materials and their history." The website provides the latest Society news and downloads to its annual newsletter and bulletins. Scientists can find out about upcoming meetings and workshops, Society publications, and membership opportunities. Students and educators can locate materials describing meteorites, tektites, dust, and lunar samples as well as links to outside educational resources. [RME]

Great Lakes BeachCast [pdf]

The Great Lakes Information Network developed this website to "broadcast critical information about beach closings and educational content on human health concerns." The website provides the latest news on erosion control projects, contamination and cleanup efforts, beach testing efforts, and other environmental news. Users can explore monitoring data and maps by location. The website also contains the proceedings from the Great Lakes Beach Conferences from 2001 and 2002 and the US EPA's Beach Program activities. [RME]

Topic In Depth

History and Evolution of Physics

The Physics Evolution [Macromedia Flash Player]
High Energy and Nuclear Physics [pdf]
A Concise History of Thermodynamics
A Timeline of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
History of X-rays and Synchrotron Radiation
Solar Neutrinos: History [pdf, postscript, jpeg]
Enrico Fermi and the Evolution of Nuclear Physics [pdf]
Epact: Scientific Instruments of Medieval and Renaissance Europe

This Topic in Depth explores the history and evolution of the field of physics. The first website, created by the Institute of Physics, offers an interactive timetable of the development of physics from the ancient philosophers during the Bronze Age to the present research in quantum mechanics and relativity (1). The website illustrates the links between scientists and eras. Second, the US Department of Energy provides a synopsis of the work of the nuclear physics research program and the high-energy physics program since the 1950s (2). Users can also discover current research highlights and papers. The third website features an excerpt from a biography of Josiah Willard Gibbs by a student of his, Lynde Phelps Wheeler (3). Along with a download of a paper discussing the history of thermodynamics, the website supplies a download of a paper Carnot wrote about power in 1824. Fourth, physicist Patricia Schwartz presents a brief timeline of the evolution of mathematics and theoretical physics since the Babylonians established the metric of flat, two-dimensional space (4 ). Students can find an additional timeline of string theory dating back to the Kaluza-Klein Theory in 1921. The fifth website, developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is a section of an X-ray data book exploring the history of synchrotron radiation (5). The website discusses numerous historical aspects include the development of storage rings and the optimization of these with lower emittance and long straight sections for undulators. Sixth, John Bahcall, at the Institute for Advanced Study, offers popular papers on the history of solar neutrinos (6). Anyone interested in learning about the research of solar neutrinos should visit this website. The seventh website is a pdf file of a paper written by the President of the Italian Physical Society, Renato Angelo Ricci, detailing the work of Enrico Fermi and his contributions to the field of nuclear physics (7). This paper can help users who have some prior knowledge of nuclear physics understand the greatness of Fermi's work. Lastly, the University of Oxford provides images of scientific instruments from the medieval and renaissance periods of Europe held at four museums in Europe (8). Students can learn about the uses of the instruments and their origin. [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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