The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 4, Number 12

June 10, 2005

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




Topic In Depth


ANSTO: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation [jpeg, pdf]

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) "is responsible for delivering specialised advice, scientific services and products to government, industry, academia and other research organizations." Researchers can learn about the Organization's ion beam analysis, accelerators, environmental systems, and additional facilities, capabilities, and services. The website offers pdf files of the organization's annual reports, news flashes, and media releases. Individuals can learn about managing radioactive waste, the functioning of the National Medical Cyclotron, and nuclear technology development. Students and teachers can read the editions of the science magazine, Velocity, and find tutorials on nuclear technology. [RME]

Brookhaven National Laboratory: National Nuclear Data Center (NNDC) [pdf, gif, Macromedia Flash Player]

The National Nuclear Data Center (NNDC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory "collects, evaluates, and disseminates nuclear physics data for basic nuclear research and for applied nuclear technologies." Researchers can find eight databases containing information on nuclear structure, decay, and reaction, and also references. The website also offers numerous nuclear structure, decay, and reaction tools. Users can find links to both United States and international nuclear data centers. Students and educators can find printable cards describing the ground and isomeric states of nuclides. [RME]

The Reston Chloroflurocarbon Laboratory [pdf, Microsoft Excel]

The Reston Chlorofluorocarbon Laboratory of the US Geological Survey provides "provides analytical services for CFCs, sulfur hexafluoride, dissolved gases including nitrogen, argon, methane, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and helium, and administers the USGS contract for tritium/helium-3 dating." Scientists can learn about the USGS's research activities related to these services in Chesapeake Bay, Mirror Lake, Shenandoah National Park, and many other locations around the United States. Students and educators can find tips for sampling CFCs, SF6, dissolved gas, and tritium / Helium-3. The website, which is viewed best using Microsoft Internet Explorer, also offers a model for calculating and presenting environmental tracer data. [RME]

NIST X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy Database

"The NIST X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) Database gives easy access to the energies of many photoelectron and Auger-electron spectral lines." The website offers concise definitions of the data fields. Users can search the element data by binding energy, auger kinetic energy, auger parameter, doublet separation, chemical shift, or surface/interface core-level shift. The website allows users to retrieve data for groups of elements, an element in a compound, chemical name, and chemical classes. Individuals can also display spectral lines and wagner plots. [RME]

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML): Hurricane Research Division (HRD) [pdf, jpeg]

The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory's (AOML) Hurricane Research Division (HRD) discusses its endeavors to better understand the physical aspects of hurricanes and to improve the forecasts of hurricanes and tropical meteorological systems. Researchers can find information on the field program Atlantic and East Pacific hurricane seasons since 1997. The site supplies the objectives, station documentation, accomplishments and additional information on the numerous projects for the Hurricane Track Forecasting, Hurricane Intensity Change, Climate Variation, and Hurricane Impacts groups. Residents in areas potentially affected by hurricanes can find hurricane awareness materials, current weather conditions, outlooks, and information on shutters. [RME]

University of Washington: Land Surface Hydrology Research Group [Microsoft PowerPoint, gif]

At this website, the University of Washington discusses its hydrology research focused on large- and small-scale surface water hydrologic modeling. Individuals can find forecasts on hydrologic, streamflow, and reservoir systems in the western United States. Researchers can learn about the group's surface water monitoring as well as its collaborative projects dealing with climate change and impacts. The website offers numerous Microsoft PowerPoint presentations and posters describing the group's previous and current work. [RME]

Hydrogeology at the University of Calgary [Microsoft PowerPoint]

This University of Calgary website provides summaries of the educational opportunities and of the diverse research interests of the hydrogeology group. Individuals can find synopses of the group's applied isotope geochemistry, electrical resistivity imaging, groundwater modeling, surface-ground water interaction, and hydrology research. The website offers information on the research interests, educational background, and publications of the many faculty, post doctorate, and graduate students. Geologists can find out about graduate assistantships and other research opportunities. [RME]

University of Minnesota Structure and Tectonics Research Group [jpeg]

The University of Minnesota Structure and Tectonics Research Group describes its research on the deformation of continental lithosphere at this website. Users can find clear explanations of the group's current projects including partial melting and orogeny, continental subduction, and shear zones. Students and scientists can find the research interests and a list of publications for the group's faculty, research associates, and students. The website displays the group's analytical, field, and teaching equipment as well as its Institute for Rock Magnetism and Characterization Facility. [RME]


Global Paleogeographic Views of Earth History--Late Precambrian to Recent [jpeg]

Dr. Ron Blakey at Northern Arizona University offers a series of global views illustrating how the Earth may have looked during the past 600 million years. The globes are colored to demonstrate the climate and vegetation for locations at a given time. Students and educators can inspect the images in four different views: global time slices in mollewide projection, global time slices at high resolution, global time slices at low resolution, and global time slices in rectangular format. This website offers a great way for individuals to observe how many scientists hypothesize the landforms of the Earth evolved from the Late Precambrian to the present. [RME]

EPA: Environmental Kids Club [pdf, gif, Macromedia Shockwave Player]

At this EPA website, kids can explore the environment and learn how they can help protect it. The website offers fun interactive stories, hands-on experiments, quizzes, and much more. To explore the activities, users can either select areas of the Clubhouse or pick an environmental subject. The topics covered include air, water, garbage and recycling, plants and animals, you and your environment, and science. Artists can find opportunities to create their own pictures about the environment and submit them to the EPA. Teachers can locate curriculum resources, educational materials about environmental subjects, and information on scholarships, awards, and grants. [RME]

Get Wise Challenge [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf]

The Resource Action Programs developed this Macromedia Flash Player-enhanced website to educate the public about conserving energy and water in their home. Through the house tour, users can learn about the relative amount of energy appliances and household tasks consume. Individuals can find easy-to-follow tips on how to cut energy consumption in their daily activities. While one link is for people who have purchased Resource Action Programs kit, students can play hangman, a puzzle, and other games. [RME]

NASA: Solar System Exploration [jpeg, Macromedia Flash Player]

This NASA website offers a wide variety of space science-related activities, multimedia, and facts for people of all ages. The website presents the latest news and upcoming space science events. Students and educators can explore NASA's space missions by target, letter, year, and program. Individuals can learn about the history and future of robotic exploration of space through a pictorial timeline. In the Science and Technology link, visitors can find the latest science and technology features, NASA science highlights, science goals, and information on NASA scientists. Kids will enjoy the Roadtrip to Mars interactive module and interesting facts about the planets. Teachers can easily locate activities about the science behind the latest NASA headlines through the Fast Lesson Finder. Everyone can view the images and videos of the planets, spacecraft, technology, and additional subjects. [RME]

Yes I Can! Science [jpeg]

York University's YES I Can! website was developed "to encourage interest and understanding of Science in the formal education system, and to foster a culture of scientifically literate, life-long learners." Teachers and students can search for lesson plans, labs, activities, background information and much more through the website's easy to use DataEngine. The innumerable materials cover a variety of science subjects including geology, chemistry, meteorology, and space science for kindergarten through twelfth grade. Users can also view the featured resource and can learn about real-time events. [RME]

US Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program [pdf, jpeg]

The US Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program website presents its objectives "to advance the scientific understanding of volcanic processes and to lessen the harmful impacts of volcanic activity." The public can explore information on volcano monitoring, warning schemes, and emergency planning. Students and educators can find out about the types, effects, location, and history of volcano hazards. The website offers recent online volcano reports and maps, volcano factsheets, videos, and a photo glossary. Teachers can find online versions of many educational volcano-related books and videos. The website features the volcanic observatories in Alaska, the Cascades, Hawaii, Long Valley, and Yellowstone. [RME]

Drink it Up???

Through this online educational environmental project, the Millennium Middle School, a facility within the Seminole County Public Schools, "encourages global participation for schools to learn about their local drinking water." Participating classrooms determine their drinking water's origin, explore their local watershed, and determine the components of their water. Users are then asked to submit their findings to the website so that everyone can compare real data. Everyone can find online lessons about watersheds, drinking water, testing water, and safe water. [RME]

XMM-Newton Education and Public Outreach [pdf, Microsoft Excel, QuickTime, Windows Media Player, Java]

"XMM-Newton is a joint NASA-European Space Agency (ESA) orbiting observatory, designed to take observe high energy X-rays emitted from exotic astronomical objects such as pulsars, black holes and active galaxies." Educators can find numerous classroom materials including a ruler illustrating many of the X-ray images obtained by XMM-Newton, an activity and background material for the Supernova Educator Unit, and links to many NASA mission teacher resources. The website offers archived videos and images of the making of XMM as well as news articles from the XMM-Newton science team. [RME]


National Geographic Features: Inside Tornadoes [jpeg, Macromedia Flash Player]

The National Geographic describes Tim Samaras and two colleagues' success in observing the bottom 30 feet of a tornado with a wisely placed camera. While users can only read the entire article by purchasing the National Geographic, the multimedia materials are amazing. Users can view images of the storm chasers at work. Everyone will enjoy the videos of the storm chasers setting up, the tornado moving over the camera, and Tim Samaras's descriptions of storm chasers' lives and tools. The website offers facts about tornadoes as well as websites and books where users can find more information. [RME]

The European Neutron Scattering Association (ENSA) [jpeg, pdf]

The European Neutron Scattering Association (ENSA) produced this website to present its goals to support the European neutron scattering community, promote and plan neutron scattering activities, and develop instruments. The website discusses the Association's structure and its connections to national organizations. Researchers can download past reports and conference talks and can find links to European publications. Students and educators can find short biographies of a few scientists involved with neutron studies. Neutron scientists can apply to participate in the ENSA forum. [RME]

Plymouth State Weather Center

The Plymouth State Weather Center offers the latest observations and forecasts for the United States and Southern Canada. By simply selecting a state, individuals can find data on the temperature, wind direction and speed, cloud cover, and other weather information for stations throughout the selected region. The website provides a state forecast as well. The map on the homepage allows users to observe the overall weather patterns throughout the continental United States and Southern Canada. [RME]

Earth Force [pdf]

"Earth Force engages young people as active citizens who improve the environment and their communities now and in the future." Educators can learn about Earth Force's three programs: Community Action and Problem solving (CAPS), the Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN), and Earth Force After School. Users can discover students' many accomplishments such as creating reusable fabric grocery bags, recycling cell phones and ink cartridges to earn money, and cleaning up litter. The Tools for Teachers section offers evaluation results, a quality rubric, and a description of the six-step Earth Force community action and problem-solving process. [RME]

Alliance to Save Energy

"The Alliance to Save Energy promotes energy efficiency worldwide to achieve a healthier economy, a cleaner environment, and greater energy security." Consumers can find tips on how to save money and reduce pollution. The website discusses how Alliance to Save Energy is working with many countries all over the world to increase their energy efficiency and improve their water services. Users can receive the latest news on a variety of energy and environmental issues. Educators can learn about Alliance's Green Schools Program. Students can help their parents reduce energy by conducting an energy audit, participating in a scavenger hunt, and taking a home energy quiz. [RME]

University of Southern California: Tsunami Research Center [QuickTime, pdf, Macromedia Flash Player, jpeg]

The Tsunami Research Center at the University of Southern California "is actively involved with all aspects of tsunami research; inundation field surveys, numerical and analytical modeling, and hazard assessment, mitigation and planning." The website supplies interactive maps and chilling images of the destruction caused by the December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Visitors can find out the latest tsunami news and research. Students and educators can view animations of seismic activity, landslides, and additional tsunami-related activity in various locations across the globe. Researchers can find abstracts and lists of publications of papers discussing field surveys, physical models, numerical methods, tsunami hazards, and more. [RME]

USGS: Mount St. Helens, Washington Eruption 2004, 2005 [pdf, jpeg]

"After 18 years of relative quiescence, Mount St. Helens volcano recaptured the world's attention when it showed signs of reawakening in September 2004." This USGS website offers online factsheets on Mount St. Helens activity from September 2004 through March 2005. Visitors can discover the height of the new lava dome, new technology for monitoring eruptions, and the possible hazards related to Mount St. Helens' activity. The website supplies fascinating topographic images of the changes in Mount St. Helens crater, photos of its new growing lava dome, and more. [RME]

Society for Applied Spectroscopy [pdf]

"The Society for Applied Spectroscopy is a nonprofit organization formed to advance and disseminate knowledge and information concerning the art and science of spectroscopy" as well as to advance the professional standing of the Society and foster a close bond among its members. The website provides the Society's latest news, meetings, and conferences. Visitors can learn about the winners of the Society's yearly awards. Everyone can download copies of current and archived issues of the Society's newsletter describing the accomplishments of its members, employment opportunities, official Governing Board minutes, and more. Interested scientists can also find out about membership opportunities. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Predicting the Weather

United States Search and Rescue Task Force: Predicting Weather [gif]
Predicting Weather
Weather [Macromedia Flash Player]
Weather Forecasting
Model Analyses and Forecasts
Numerical Modeling
Prediction and Forecasting

This Topic in Depth explores the science behind predicting the weather. First, the United States Search and Rescue Task Force describe the basic tools and knowledge used to create weather forecasts (1). Students can find concise, clear explanations of weather, fronts and air masses, high and low pressure, precipitation, and water vapor and humidity as well. By performing the activities presented in the second website, fourth grade students can learn about weather instruments and data collection (2). This website, produced by the Government of Saskatchewan, also explores how the weather can impact local communities. Third, Edheads offers a Macromedia Flash Player enhanced interactive module allowing students to predict the weather by examining weather maps (3 ). Through this website, users can become familiar with the concepts of warm and cold fronts, wind direction and speed, air pressure, and humidity. The fourth website, supplied by Annenberg / CPB, discusses weather satellites, Doppler radar, and additional tools forecasters use to predict the weather (4). Students can find a wind chill calculator along with a brief discussion of the history of forecasting and weather lore. Next, NOAA provides graphics for five forecast models: the ETA, the Global Forecast System (GFS), the Wave Watch III (WW3), the Nested Grid model (NGM), and the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) (5). Outputs are available for North America, North Pacific, Western North Atlantic, and the Polar Ice Drift. Users can find links to detailed descriptions of the inputs and history of each model. Sixth, the British government's Met Office describes numerical modeling and its components (6). Students and educators can learn about the future in forecasting as well as educational opportunities with the Cooperative Program for Meteorology, Education, and Training (COMET). [RME]

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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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