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Physics Today

Web Watch: October 1997

 ** http://www.bigscience.com/setiathome.html

SETI@home will let you participate in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence via the Internet. It is the first project being undertaken by a group called Big Science, whose goal is to harness the distributed processing power embodied in the computers connected to the Internet. Here's how it works: Data collected at the Arecibo Observatory by the SERENDIP program will be divided up into chunks small enough for a typical personal computer to handle. To participate in the project, you get a copy of a special screen saver program that, when your PC would otherwise be twiddling its digital thumbs, will download some of these chunks of data, process them and return the results to SETI@home. The screen saver will also display a visualization of the progress of the project. At present the project is under development---the first version is scheduled for testing in late 1997, and the real thing is scheduled for early 1998. The SETI@home page provides more information and the opportunity to sign up as a volunteer (in addition to aliens, they're looking for programmers, graphic designers and science teachers) or to receive news releases.

 ** http://pdg.lbl.gov/cpep.html

The Contemporary Physics Education Project, a nonprofit organization consisting of physicists, teachers and educators, has two main on-line features. "The Particle Adventure" is an interactive, elementary course on particle physics, loaded with lively graphics and occasional pop quizzes. Several "paths" through the adventure follow specific themes, including the Standard Model, experimental evidence and beyond the Standard Model. Classroom activities include student worksheets and password-protected pages for teachers (no cheating!). "Fusion---Physics of a Fundamental Energy Source" is aimed at introductory physics students and teachers, and covers the topic in greater depth and complexity than its particle physics sibling.

 ** http://www.iop.org/Journals/na

Multimedia Research Papers in Nanotechnology have been introduced in the on-line edition of the journal Nanotechnology, published by the UK's Institute of Physics (IOP). An article by J. Han et al., from the September 1997 issue, is available free to all browsers. It features MPEG animations of simulations of gears using carbon nanotubes as the shafts and benzyne molecules as the gear teeth. Papers with multimedia enhancements can also be submitted to the IOP's Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering and Combustion Theory and Modelling. Full access to the IOP's electronic journals is provided with institutional subscriptions to the print journals.

Compiled by Graham P. Collins

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