Physics Today, August 1997 Web Watch: Specialized Databases

Physics Today's Web Watch

August 97: Specialized Databases

This month we look at four sites of a technical nature that may be of use to students and researchers. Content includes physical and chemical reference data; statistical analysis software; databases on atomic, molecular, plasma and space physics; and thermodynamic computational and educational aids.

The NIST Online Reference Databases include a section on physical reference data such as physical constants, units and conversion factors; atomic and molecular spectroscopy; nuclear physics; and condensed matter physics. The site also includes the NIST Chemistry WebBook, which has thermodynamic data for over 5000 compounds and ion energetics data for over 12000 compounds. Under development are pages of data on collision cross sections and electron transport coefficients for gases used in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices.

StatCodes provides links to over 200 sites providing free computer programs implementing statistical methods that may be useful to astronomers and physicists. Methods include time series analysis, multivariate analysis, nonparametric statistics, correlation and regression, Bayesian methods, image analysis, spatial statistics, visualization tools and interactive Web tools. Some codes are single subroutines (usually in Fortran or C), while others are full packages with documentation. The contents of StatCodes is searchable through the Astronomical Software Directory Service. StatCodes welcomes links to new codes, particularly those written by astronomers and physicists.

The Space Plasma Physics Section of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, provides pages with a comprehensive list of space physics resources, a list of databases in atomic, molecular and plasma physics and a list of current contents of journals. Links provide searching of the site via TIPTOP (The Internet Pilot to Physics) and AltaVista.

Thermodynamics links are provided in abundance by two pages of the Thermodynamics Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The first lists data and sites useful for performing calculations, particularly those needed in engineering applications. The second provides numerous links to educational sites on the subjects of classical and statistical thermodynamics and mechanics.

Compiled by Graham P. Collins

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