The NSDL Scout Report for Physical Sciences -- Volume 4, Number 13

June 24, 2005

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

A Note to our Readers




Topic In Depth

A Note to our Readers

Internet Scout Project Says Goodbye to NSDL Scout Reports

Dear Reader,

With this edition, the Internet Scout Project ends the NSDL Report for Physical Sciences after four years of publication. We are very excited about our newest NSF National Science Digital Library-funded effort, the Applied Mathematics and Science Education Repository (AMSER), a new four-year project that will link community and technical colleges to online applied math and science resources via a Web portal and complementary services. Our goal is to make AMSER-- -- the same kind of high-quality source of information about online resources that the NSDL Scout Reports have been.

As part of our effort to make AMSER useful and usable we have created an online survey -- -- to help us better understand how faculty and staff at community and technical colleges are currently using digital materials. We would encourage readers from these environments, as well as those from the rest of the education and library communities, to complete the survey. Your valuable feedback will help inform the work of AMSER and NSDL as a whole. If you have questions about AMSER or an interest in using AMSER in your classroom, please e-mail, or watch for information about the project on the Scout website at -- where you can also find information about subscribing to our flagship publication, The Scout Report.

Chris Long
Managing Editor


USGS: National Water Quality Laboratory [pdf, jpeg, Microsoft PowerPoint]

The USGS's "National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) offers environmental analytical services, including inorganic, organic, and radiochemical constituents, and provides high-quality, reproducible data." Researchers can find a summary of the Laboratory's capabilities, facilities, technology, areas of expertise, and accreditations and certificates. The website offers a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation of its mission. Users can find technical memoranda, a list of NWQL reports and journal articles, and factsheets. [RME]

Ames Laboratory Condensed Matter Physics Group [pdf]

At this website, the Ames Laboratory describes its research in condensed matter physics, which "is the field of physics that deals with the macroscopic physical properties of matter." Visitors can explore the highlights of the Group's research and current news as well as a calendar of events. The website briefly presents the program director, scientists, visiting scientists, and postdoctoral researchers involved with the Group. Researchers can find information on the Neutron Scattering Society of America. [RME]

Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS) [Microsoft PowerPoint, jpeg]

The Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS) at the University of Oklahoma works on the development and demonstration of "techniques for the practical numerical prediction of high-impact local weather, particularly thunderstorms, with emphasis on the assimilation of high-resolution observations from Doppler weather radars." Researchers can discover CAPS main projects including the radar acquisition field test and the environmental hydrology workbench. The website features CAPS daily real-time analysis and forecast system where users can obtain data for the continental United States, the Plains, and the Northeast US. Users can find surface, radar, satellite, upper air, and additional weather related data. [RME]

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) promotes its research to "secure an energy future for the nation that is environmentally and economically sustainable." The website summaries the Laboratory's variety of research and technology including photovoltaics, wind, biomass, geothermal energy, and hydrogen and fuel cells. Visitors can find out the latest NREL news and events. Visitors can locate materials about renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Publications Database offers references to a wide range of documents about sustainable energy technologies written or edited by NREL. [RME]

IRIS Seismic Monitor [gif]

The IRIS Seismic Monitor allows users to monitor global earthquakes in near real time. Researchers can locate the geology, vault conditions, site description, station instrumentation, and additional information on stations throughout the world. Visitors can learn about the latest earthquake news, including special reports of earthquakes that significantly affected human populations or had scientific significance. Students and teachers can find images and descriptions of plate tectonics as well as links to outside educational resources. [RME]

Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry: The Laboratory of Meteoritics [pdf, jpeg]

The Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry's Laboratory of Meteoritics "is the only scientific laboratory in Russia which investigates extraterrestrial material on a regular basis." Users can find educational images and straightforward text about the Laboratory's research in meteorites, lunar materials, cosmic dust, and impact processes. The website provides downloads of the Laboratory's publications as well as links to outside publications, conferences, scientific organizations, and databases. In the Meteorite Encyclopedia link, students and educators can learn about the categories of meteorites, their common compositions, and more through tutorials and short movies. [RME]

NASA Ames Research Group [pdf, jpeg]

The NASA Ames Research Group investigates "extraterrestrial materials and [is] especially interested in the formation, distribution, and fate of organic compounds (comprised primarily of carbon, like those in living things)." Users can discover the latest astrochemistry news and the Group's many missions such as Stardust, Spitzer, and Genesis. Students and educators can find informative explanations of the Group's research interests and its contributions to the field of astrochemistry. The website allows users to search the Group's publications by date, subject, or author. Researchers can find information on how to access the online database of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Infrared Spectra. [RME]

The University College London Centre for Cosmic Chemistry and Physics [pdf, gif]

The University College London Centre for Cosmic Chemistry and Physics developed this website to present its research in the "fundamental chemical processes which [they believe] occur throughout the universe." Visitors can find an overview of the design and progress of the Centre's projects dealing with the formation of hydrogen molecules on interstellar dust grains and more complex molecules. The website introduces the Centre's main facilities, the Cosmic Dust Lab and the Surface Science Lab. Users can also discover the Centre's theoretical work on gas-surface scattering. [RME]


Exploratorium: Global Climate Change [Macromedia Flash Player, jpeg]

Through the exploration of scientific data, students can discover the changes in global climate through geologic time at this Exploratorium website. Users can find an introduction to the research of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere to better understand climate change. Then, visitors can explore more in-depth descriptions and datasets related to these four spheres. Each section offers a few thought-provoking questions and links to more information. Individuals can also discover how scientists interpret past and present climate data and the difficulties associated with these predictions. Anyone needing assistance with the concepts covered should visit the instructive, comprehensive glossary of terms. [RME]

Mississippi State University: Physics Simulations [Java, Macromedia Shockwave Player]

The Physics Department at Mississippi State University provides links to physics-related Java and Macromedia Shockwave Player simulations that have been created around the world. The modules are sorted into nine categories: measurements, math, mechanics, waves, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, light and optics, modern physics, and astronomy. The simulations are then further divided into subtopics so that users can easily locate helpful items. This website offers a great way for students to quickly obtain materials to assist in their physics studies. [RME]

University of Oregon: Dr. Darkmatter Presents the Electronic Universe [gif, mpeg]

The Electronic Universe, maintained by Professor Greg Bothun at the University of Oregon, provides educational materials on a variety of science topics including space science, earth science, physics, weather, and the environment. Astronomy students can find image galleries and movies of space phenomena and general information on astronomy and scientific societies. The website offers data, figures, and animations on volcanic and tectonic activity, and much more. Individuals can become aware of the concerns associated with the world energy supply and the environment. With such a diversity of educational materials available, anyone interested in science will benefit from the information offered at this website. [RME]

The University of Southampton: Geology of the Wessex Coast, Southern England [jpeg]

Ian West, a retired professor at the University of Southampton, developed this expansive database of geological field guides to the Wessex Coast of southern England. The website divides the information on the fossils, offshore geology, formations, and much more into smaller units within the Coast. The field guides can be viewed by stratigraphical units and localities. Students and educators can learn about the Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Palaeogene strata of the area through countless photographs. Many of the field guides include information on the historical, topographic, and natural history of the area. [RME]

Dino Discovery: A Paleo Explorer Kids Adventure [Macromedia Flash Player]

This Macromedia Flash Player-enhanced website, developed by the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology in Claremont, Calif., allows students to explore dinosaur fossils in the Cretaceous rocks of the Kaiparowits Formation in Utah. Through the tutorial users can discover the different types of Cretaceous and Jurassic rocks. Students can learn about the techniques used in the field to look for fossils, excavate findings, and protect and preserve the collected specimen. The website follows with short movies and figures explaining the preparation, curation, and identification of a sample in the laboratory. This site offers a fun way for students to learn about the work of a paleontologist. [RME]

Combinatorial Chemistry Review

The Combinatorial Chemistry Review website was created by Dr. Oleg Larin at the M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State Academy of Fine Chemical Technology "to provide a basic introduction to the field of combinatorial chemistry describing the development of major techniques and some applications." After reading an introduction discussing the goals, principles, and applications of combinatorial synthesis, users can find more in-depth descriptions and educational figures of the polymers and linkers related to the solid phase combinatorial chemistry. The comprehensive website supplies a discussion of the methods, a helpful glossary of terms, and more. [RME]

Physical Chemistry with a Purpose [pdf]

"The goal of this NSF funded project is to produce a trial set of materials that can be used in physical chemistry courses to more tightly connect the topics introduced in available texts to the realm of modern chemical research." Six modules are currently available at this website, with four more planned by 2006. Each module supplies a reference to a chemistry article, background information, sample questions to stimulate students to think critically about the subject matter, and additional sample chemistry questions. If users are interested in the entire module, they need to contact the author by the email provided. Educators can learn about the teaching approach used in the materials and why the authors feel they are important for education. [RME]

Cody's Science Education Zone

Anthony Cody, a middle school science teacher at the Oakland (Calif.) Unified School District, provides a wide variety of science-related lesson plans at this website. Physical science students and educators can find activities and online resources dealing with energy transformation, dry ice, simple machines, and more. The website discusses the importance of science fairs, ways to encourage student learning, and methods of teaching that have proved useful for the author. Amateur photographers can find a guide to digital photography. The website also provides educational math and life science materials. [RME]


Swiss Neutron Scattering Society [pdf]

The Swiss Neutron Scattering Society's goals are to advance neutron scattering, support young scientists, exchange scientific ideas, cultivate interdisciplinary relations, support access to neutron sources, and communicate with international associations. Visitors can find the Society's By-laws, news, downloads to the organization's_Swiss Neutron News_, information on the General Assembly, and more. The website offers summaries and participation information on a variety of neutron scattering-related conferences held throughout the world. [RME]

The Hurricane Hunters [jpeg, mpeg]

At this website, the Hurricane Hunters promote their work investigating hurricanes by flying "airplanes right into the eye of the hurricane." Visitors can find amazing images of the eye of hurricanes, the crew members, weather, and the plane. During active storms, individuals can find the latest reports by the Hunters and by the National Hurricane Center. The website presents the history of the Hurricane Hunters, which is a Department of Defense organization created in 1944 and is the only association still flying into storms. Individuals can view short movies recounting storms, sea characteristics, and additional weather phenomena. [RME]

The Philadelphia Grotto: Conservation, Exploration, Education, and Research [jpeg]

The caving club Philadelphia Grotto is a chapter of the National Speleological Society "dedicated to cave conservation, exploration, education, and research." While a few links are only available to members, beginning cavers can find out about caving safety and equipment as well as cave conservation and laws. The website supplies remarkable images from cavers exploring in various places throughout the United States and the Bahamas. Younger users can learn about Youth Groups. Interested visitors can locate information on membership opportunities. [RME]

University of Wisconsin Extension: Water Resources Programs [pdf]

The University of Wisconsin Extension provides "information about water quality and natural resources education programs in Wisconsin." Users can find out about monitoring the water quality of streams, river cleanups, and other volunteer projects. Teachers can learn how to educate their students about runoff pollution through the construction of a watershed model. The website presents numerous water related initiatives including the Multi-Agency Land and Water Education Grant Program, Give Water a Hand for young people taking action in their community, and the Landowner Assessment and Project Evaluation (LOAPE) Program. [RME]

BBC: Science Message Board

The BBC developed this website as a forum for those interested in the latest science topics. Users can search through the materials by subject, which include Current Science, Science Q & A, Not Rocket Science, Technology, Space, and Star Gazing. Individuals can read the questions, answers, and beliefs of participants. The website furnishes the rules of the message board and the qualifications of the message board hosts. Enthusiasts can share their opinions and knowledge about a science topic after completing an easy, free registration. [RME]

Scitation [Java]

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) Scitation website "is the online home of more than 100 journals from AIP, APS, ASCE, ASME, SPIE, and a host of other prestigious science and engineering societies." Everyone can browse the materials by an alphabetical list, publisher, and subject. After completing a quick and free registration form, users have access to a more advanced search engine. While users need to be subscribed to Scitation journals in order to access the full-text articles, they can browse the table of contents and abstracts. Those with subscriptions can personalize the website to have easy access to all of their publications as well as lists of journals that they frequently access. [RME]

Alaska Geological Society (ACS) [pdf, Macromedia Flash Player]

The Alaska Geological Society (ACS) presents its geology-related events, activities, and talks. Geologists can learn about board meetings, membership opportunities, and publications. Students and teachers will benefit from the links discussing scholarship possibilities, science fairs, and educational activities. Individuals can find out about ACS led field trips to geologically significant places throughout Alaska. The website furnishes community forums and website support links. [RME]

Central Wisconsin Groundwater Center [pdf, gif]

The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point created this website to help "citizens and governments manage the groundwater in Wisconsin wisely, through education, public information, applied research, and technical assistance." Educators and students can find the Wisconsin Groundwater Directory, groundwater factsheets, information on a hands-on groundwater model, and a variety of educational activities. Researchers can learn about the project to develop techniques to monitor and manage groundwater quality and quantity in the Stevens Point area. The public can discover the methods for testing drinking water and keeping private wells safe. [RME]

Topic In Depth

Surface Chemistry Research

ACS Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry
Chalmers University of Technology: Department of Applied Surface Chemistry
Surface Chemistry, Electrochemistry, and Analytical University of Canterbury Research Group [gif, jpeg]
U.S. Naval Research Lab: Surface Chemistry Branch
Surface Chemistry of Silica Aerogels
Electron Spectrometer: High - Resolution Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (HREELS) System, Ultra-high Vacuum (UHV) Surface Chemistry
Surface Chemistry at Michigan [jpeg]

This Topic in Depth explores the field of surface chemistry. First, the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry publicizes its members initiatives to "investigate the interaction of surfaces with fluids having molecular densities spanning the range from liquids to ultra-high vacuum" (1). Researchers can find out about upcoming meetings, awards, and membership opportunities. The second website presents Chalmers University of Technology's research activities in surfactants and microemulsions, environmental catalysis, fuels engineering, and metal working chemistry (2). Students and teachers can discover the basics of surface chemistry and its benefits to society. Next, University of Canterbury features its studies which "help in the development of portable devices in freshwater analysis, microelectrodes, chemically modified electrodes & biochips for sensors, nanoparticle assemblies for smart materials, [and] novel electrode material for catalysis of industrial processes" (3). Users can view posters detailing their research as well as articles describing the group's latest news and results. Fourth, the US Naval Research Lab describes its surface chemistry research interests, facilities, and its strengths (4). Individuals can find lists of the Lab's journal articles, reports, and technical papers. The fifth website, provided by the University of Virginia, addresses how the chemistry of aerogels makes them "attractive materials for use as catalysts, catalyst substrates, and adsorbents" (5). The website contains illustrations of the interaction between water and aerogel compounds. Sixth, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory presents its Ultra-high Vacuum (UHV) Surface Chemistry-High-Resolution Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (HREELS) System capabilities to "study the molecular-level chemistry of adsorbates on metal oxide surfaces" (6 ). The website offers a concise overview of sample preparation, handling, and manipulation. Lastly, the University of Michigan provides links to in-depth discussions and informational images of the research projects of its four surface chemistry research groups (7). Researchers can find slide show presentations of the group's work, lists of its publications, and information on the individual researchers' education and work. [RME]

Below are the copyright statements to be included when reproducing annotations from The NSDL Scout Report for the Physical Sciences.

The single phrase below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing any portion of this report, in any format:

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

The paragraph below is the copyright notice to be used when reproducing the entire report, in any format:

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.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, or the National Science Foundation.

Internet Scout Project Team
Rachel Enright Editor
Chris Long Managing Editor
Rachael Bower Co-Director
Edward Almasy Co-Director
Nathan Larson Contributor
Valerie Farnsworth Contributor
Debra Shapiro Contributor
Max Grinnell Contributor
Todd Bruns Internet Cataloger
Barry Wiegan Software Engineer
Justin Rush Technical Specialist
Michael Grossheim Technical Specialist
Andy Yaco-Mink Website Designer

For information on additional contributors, see the Internet Scout Project staff page.