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Space Transportation: Marshall Space Flight Center
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is the location of an ongoing initiative to make access to space easier and more affordable. The center conducts extensive space propulsion research; four focus areas include advanced chemical propulsion, plasma propulsion, high-powered electrical propulsion, and propellantless propulsion. There is also a lot of information about the Integrated Space Transportation System and the Space Launch Initiative, which mainly deal with reusable launch vehicles (RLV). T
Stanford University: Center for the Study of Language and Information
The Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI) "is devoted to research in the emerging science of information, computing, and cognition." This "new science" is an interdisciplinary project that developed through a shared interest among computer scientists, linguists, logicians, philosophers, psychologists, and artificial intelligence researchers "in how agents, whether biological or artificial, acquire, process, and convey information." The Center, initiated by researchers from Stan
Edward O. Wilson
Edward O. Wilson is a name synonymous with ants, sociobiology, and biodiversity. And it's a name that more often than not appears with a mile-long list of accolades trailing it. The University of Alabama offers a more personable introduction to this celebrated scientist, one of the University's most distinguished alums (1). The next site is the homepage of the Department of Entomology at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, home to one of the "richest and most historically significant" insec
Mars Exploration Rovers: Home Demos
The Athena Project is collaborative and international effort to land a series of rovers on Mars in 2003. The Mars Exploration Rovers Web site chronicles these efforts, as well as offering various facts and learning activities like those found on the Home Demos page. The seven demos teach kids various things about Mars such as how scientists know there used to be water on Mars; how Mars seems to orbit back and forth; how difficult it is to land on Mars; what the soil on Mars is comprised of; how
Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) Observatory Architecture and Performance
Although not scheduled to be launched until 2011, design plans for the Hubble Space Telescope's replacement are already underway. This research paper describes some of the architectural and performance specifications slated for the Next Generation Space Telescope (now called the James Webb Space Telescope). The seven-meter primary mirror will be hexagonal and made up of twelve smaller one-meter mirrors, allowing the observatory to see "objects 400 times fainter than seen from large groundbased t
University of Wisconsin - Madison: Todar's Online Textbook of Bacteriology
Authored by University of Wisconsin bacteriology professor Kenneth Todar, this online textbook is geared towards college and advanced high school students studying general microbiology and medical bacteriology. The primary sections of the text include: Bacterial Relationships with Animals, Principles of Bacterial Pathogenesis, Bacterial Diseases of Humans, and General Bacteriology. Within these sections links are provided to a wealth of information about growth of bacterial populations, importan
Center for Research in Scientific Computation
The Center for Research in Scientific Computation (CRSC), based at North Carolina State University, aims to "foster research in scientific computing and provide a focal point for research in computational science, engineering and applied mathematics." The Center has developed a teaching experimental laboratory "where students are exposed to experimental design and data collection through demos and actual hands-on experience." The Center's multidisciplinary research addresses topics in scientific
Famous Astronomers and Astrophysicists
D. Mark Manley, a professor in the Physics Department at Kent State University, provides short introductions for almost one hundred famous astronomers and astrophysicists from the Classical Period to the present. By searching either chronologically or alphabetically, users can find out about a given astronomers major successes as well as birth years and places. A link is provided for each scientist listed, offering more in-depth information. Astronomers and historians can find inspiration by lea
A Well-Tested Eye in the Sky: What U-2 Spy Planes Do over Iraq that Satellites Don't
One of the most important pieces of technology being used to search Iraq for evidence of weapons is a 48-year old spy plane. The U-2, which was first flown in the beginnings of the Cold War, has withstood the test of time and continues to be widely used by the US. This site provides details about the history of the U-2. It also describes many technical aspects involved in flights, such as the advanced sensor systems and pilot life support.
BotBall Educational Robotics Program
Botball is a workshop and competition presented by the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics. The program offers hands-on learning in robotics and is "designed to engage students in learning the practical applications of science, technology, engineering and math." Registered teams receive KISS Institute's kit of robotics equipment, but teams must have access to a laptop computer and the Internet. Following a workshop, students are given seven weeks to create a team of robots and a weblog documen
Monterey Bay Aquarium: Live Web Cams
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Web site offers a great set of live Web cams offering views of marine life in Aquarium exhibits and the nearby ocean. The Web cams also serve as "a gateway to information about ocean habitats and conservation topics." Visitors may view live footage between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Pacific Time from a penguin cam, kelp cam, otter cam, Monterey Bay cam, and outer bay cam. The Web site also includes pre-recorded footage of feeding shows -- a nice alternative if the live cams are
William H. Calvin Books and Articles
The full-text of several books authored by University of Washington professor William H. Calvin are available online. His newest book A Brain for All Seasons (A Scientific American book of the month) is about "what sudden climate flips did to human evolution over the last 2.5 million years." Most of his other books also focus on the subjects of the brain and human evolution. The hyperlinked table of contents makes browsing these texts more manageable. This Web page also includes other informatio
People with disabilities represent a significant portion of the US population, and accessible technology (AT) helps make their lives easier. Further development of AT is an important objective in today's world.To learn about the fundamental concepts of AT and browse related reports, the National Assistive Technology Research Institute at the University of Kentucky (1) is an excellent place to start. It explains the six types of AT and considers legal mandates, with plenty of other features, too.
Working as engineering teams, students design and create model beam bridges using plastic drinking straws and tape as their construction materials. Their goal is to build the strongest bridge with a truss pattern of their own design, while meeting the design criteria and constraints. They experiment with different geometric shapes and determine how shapes affect the strength of materials.
Building Tetrahedral Kites
Working in teams of four, students build tetrahedral kites following specific instructions and using specific materials. They use the basic processes of manufacturing systems – cutting, shaping, forming, conditioning, assembling, joining, finishing, and quality control – to manufacture complete tetrahedral kites within a given time frame. Project evaluation takes into account team efficiency and the quality of the finished product.
Make an Alarm!
After reading the story "Dear Mr. Henshaw" by Beverly Cleary, students create an alarm system for something in the classroom, just as the main character Leigh does to protect his lunchbox from thieves. Students learn about alarms and use their creativity to devise an alarm system to protect their lockers, desk, or classroom door. Note: this activity can also be done without reading "Dear Mr. Henshaw."
Go with the Flow
Students gain an understanding of the difference between electrical conductors and insulators, and experience recognizing a conductor by its material properties. In a hands-on activity, students build a conductivity tester to determine whether different objects are conductors or insulators. In another activity, students use their understanding of electrical properties to choose appropriate materials to design and build their own basic circuit switch.
Physics of Roller Coasters
Students explore the physics utilized by engineers in designing today’s roller coasters, including potential and kinetic energy, friction, and gravity. First, students learn that all true roller coasters are completely driven by the force of gravity and that the conversion between potential and kinetic energy is essential to all roller coasters. Second, they also consider the role of friction in slowing down cars in roller coasters. Finally, they examine the acceleration of roller coaster cars
Six Minutes of Terror
This lesson discusses how each component of a spacecraft is specifically designed so that a rover can land safely in six minutes. Also, students will learn how common, everyday materials and technology, like nylon, polyester and airbags, are used in space-age technology.