How do you go from nuts and bolts to a full-fledged
invention? How can you tell an invention from a scam? How do you fund
your research? What are the most bizarre inventions? This site distinguishes
itself by covering inventions from a seemingly limitless number of
angles. Plus, it doesn't stint on the staples: inventors, inventions,
upcoming events, and conventions. Truly an invention tour de force.
From the scientific (if light has no mass, how can
it be sucked into black holes?) to the speculative (why are sisters
so boring?), Dr. Universe answers some of life's most confounding
questions. The kid-oriented site invites visitors to submit their
own questions. The good doctor is also kind enough to include links
to his favorite sci-tech sites.
Picture of the Day
Sometimes the best sites have the simplest
ideas behind them. Case in point, the Astronomy Picture of the Day,
which offers exactly that: a stunning image of a celestial body, phenomenon,
or space-related event. Add to that a rich assortment of links for
each image, and you’ve got a fun place to visit and revisit. Miss
a day? An archive provides images back to 1995, and a searchable index
brings you to info on specific categories such as black holes or spiral
Watch while the one of the biggest construction projects of
the modern era continues to be built. The Central Artery/Tunnel Project
(including the Ted Williams Tunnel), also called the Big Dig, is turning
a five-lane elevated highway in Boston into an eight- to 10-lane underground
expressway. Also in the plans: the widest cable-stayed bridge ever
To promote insect appreciation, this site has more than 100
crisp, color pictures of ants, bees, wasps, beetles, hoppers, roaches,
and spiders, which technically aren't insects but arthropods. Those
who already appreciate creepy, crawly things will be dazzled by the
site's breadth of information, but even entomophobics can learn something
here. Did you know that beetles represent the largest order of insects,
with more than 250,000 described species?
Whether you know a little, a lot, or somewhere in between about cancer,
CancerSource doesn't discriminate: information on all varieties of
the disease is presented at three levels. You can learn about the
basic biology of cancer, get the latest news on the subject, and find
opportunities to chat live with cancer specialists. The site also
offers a dictionary, drug guide, and online support groups.
for Disease Control and Prevention
For the concerned or curious,
the Centers for Disease Control site offers information, tips, and
warnings on everything from bicycle safety to biohazards. The site
has one of the most extensive A-to-Z health-related reference lists
on the Net, a comprehensive list of links to other public health-related
resources, and links to state health departments. And if you're planning
on leaving the country, check out the travelers' health section before
heading to the airport.
Before this site debuted this year, terminally ill people who wanted
to take a shot at an experi-mental therapy had no centralized place
to go for information. ClinicalTrials presently contains information
on almost 5,000 clinical studies, sponsored primarily by the National
Institutes of Health. You'll not only find details on the experimental
treatment, but also whether researchers are recruiting volunteers,
and how to get involved. During the coming year, additional studies
from other federal agencies and the pharmaceutical industry will be
added to the site.
In the fast-paced worlds of computer technology and Internet design,
CNET, a.k.a. the Computer Network, provides the tech-minded surfer
with a one-stop shop for all the latest news. This information portal
contains everything from hardware reviews to free software downloads,
from investing to jobs.
Intellectual Property Network
Boasting an extraordinarily rich
collection of patents from around the world, this site lets you search
by patent number, Boolean text, and a variety of specific terms. And
it has plenty of what is de rigueur for such sites: inventions so
outré or comical that you can't imagine they ever received a patent.
They did, though. Try, for example, a motorized ice cream cone or
a jet-powered surfboard.
Want to know why Mendel used peas in his genetic experiments?
Or maybe how a gene produces a protein? The DNA Learning Center is
the source for anything related to DNA. To get up to speed, start
with the "DNA from the Beginning" section of the site. Animations,
videos, and problem-solving sections clearly explain the complex functions
— everything from DNA molecules' base pairs to genes to proteins.
Information from the USGS
Produced by the U.S. Geological Survey,
this handy reference site presents current earthquake conditions throughout
the United States and the world in a simple format. Clickable maps,
updated hourly, show the location and strength of the week's quakes.
And resource pages define terms, relay the history and science of
earthquakes, help you prepare for an earthquake, and tell you what
to do if you get caught in one.
Bird lovers should flock to this site, which includes tips on equipment,
opportunities to pose questions to an online naturalist, and a clever
search program that helps stumped birdwatchers identify unfamiliar
birds. You can even create online "life" of birds and other wildlife
that you have seen over the years.
Independently owned and operated, the ENS provides
timely reports from around the world on a wide range of environmental
topics, without the usual spin provided by an affiliated business
or environmental group. The wire service covers legislative and judicial
decisions, demonstrations, conferences, and other daily news that
affects land use, public health, and wildlife. Also find links to
information about becoming an Earth-smart consumer, planning eco-travel,
learning about local environmental problems, and making businesses
If you can listen to it, watch it, or speak into it, Etown has it.
This astonishingly information-rich site brings you the latest news
and reviews relating to audio, video, communications, photography-in
other words, just about any electronic item. And if you're in the
market to buy, Ida, a virtual personal shopping assistant, helps you
decide what model is right for you based on how you plan on using
it. You can even make some online purchases.
Devoted to the promotion of fuel cell technology, Fuel
Cells 2000 is a comprehensive source of information that relates all
the benefits of fuel cells. You'll also find a basic primer on how
fuel cells generate electricity from hydrogen, the latest information
on the numerous companies developing fuel cell technology, and a useful
set of links to other sources.
Ever wonder how much you spend on gasoline each year?
Or how your car's gas mileage stacks up against the competition? Look
no further than the government's fuel economy Web site. Here you can
browse the environmental benefits of economizing fuel, learn how cars
process gasoline, and even study the vital statistics of that lemon
you owned in 1985. What's more, the site provides a tantalizing peek
into the fuel-efficient future of automobiles.
At first glance, you might think this is a site about a nutty sandwich.
And while the site doesn't have any snazzy features, what it does
offer is making copyright owners tremble. Download Gnutella software
and you'll be linked "peer to peer" to thousands of other computers
worldwide-at which point you can upload desired files without any
clue where the originating request came from.
If horror stories about personal digital assistants turn you on, or
if you just want to get an update on the latest computer news, then
Geek.com is the place to turn. The site is divided into sections about
computers, games, PDAs, and chips, so you can dive into the speciality
scene of your choice. Users post their comments on all the latest
doings. For the un-initiated, a mini-glossary helps translate geek-speak.
Billion Human Beings
If you're 38 years old, there are now about
twice as many people on Earth as when you were born, and about 30
percent of the people born that year are already dead. You can learn
facts like these by plugging your age into one of the many interactive
"Did you know?" games at this online exhibit from Musée de l'Homme
in Paris, part of France's National Museum of Natural History. The
exhibit is designed to help visitors "understand why the world's population
has exploded in recent years and why it might stabilize during the
This site has been wowing would-be astronomers for
years, serving up the basics (and not-so basics) about our universe
in a clear and concise format. A recent reorganization of the site
has finally earned it a spot as a true “Best of the Web.” Ask an astronomer
your burning cosmic questions, or just sit back and view videos of
the heavens. Intimidated by the jargon? Run your mouse over a confusing
term and a clear explanation pops up onscreen.
Human- Powered Vehicle Association
Laziness is not an option for
the pilots of human-powered planes and ornithopters-two of the many
vehicles described at the International Human-Powered Vehicle Association
site. Engineers worldwide contribute plans for vehicles that one day
may turn our noisy, fossil fuel society into a pollution-free yet
mobile civilization. Watch test videos of these mechanical works of
art and check out the latest attempts at world human-powered speed
MIT's Invention Dimension enchants, inspires, and entertains
emerging Edisons and simple gadget fanatics alike. Archives of inventions
range from the goofy Makin' Bacon-a microwaveable dish that drains
cooking grease-to the lifesaving balloon catheter. For your own endeavors,
you can get sound advice from The Inventor's Handbook, and compete
in serious-minded contests and frivolous trivia challenges. Links
to related sites make this an ideal gateway to online innovation information.
One of the world's leading authorities on defense
and transportation, Jane's brings you the latest news on just about
everything that floats, flies, or drives. The focus is on vehicles
that serve naval, air, and land forces, but you'll also find information
on civilian air shows, trains, and transportation-related international
You know the names-Los Alamos, Argonne, Oak Ridge,
Brookhaven-here are their Web sites. Welcome to the Department of
Energy's gateway to the major national laboratories. Browse these
sites and you'll be well acquainted with how your tax dollars are
being spent. Each site takes a different, richly varied approach.
Just for fun, Argonne gives you a look at its annual Rube Goldberg
Significant Event Imagery
Point your browser here for gorgeous
satellite images of the world's most violent natural disasters. Get
a bird's eye view of a raging firestorm, or track the path of a hurricane
in full-motion video. The site's intuitive organization makes finding
the images a breeze, and topical sections like the Image of the Day
keep you up-to-date with the latest in global catastrophes. The site
doesn't attempt to explain the wondrous phenomena it displays — it's
content to be simply the most stunning satellite page around.
Finally. A slide show that won't put you to sleep. You'll
watch, fascinated, as baby panda Hua Mei grows from a helpless 4.5-ounce
newborn to the precocious yearling she is today. After watching Hua
Mei grow up, you may feel you need to check in on her now and again.
That's easy to do with the site's live pandacam. See her play, lounge,
and eat in real time, or watch Real-Player movies of her frolicking
with mom Bai Yun.
The first in a series of Bad Science sites, Bad
Astronomy is devoted to correcting misinformation about astronomy
spread in the media or by word of mouth. Austin Powers and global
warming get their due, with tidbits offered by real scientists. The
sometimes esoteric information is always interesting.
The Internet Drug Index
RxList is a trove of pharmaceutical knowledge
with more than 4,000 medications on file, a pharmaceutical discussion
board, and an online dictionary of medical jargon. And for anyone
interested in alternative medicine, RxList covers a handful of herbal
remedies as well. Check out the online pharmacy too.
Is there such a thing as too close for comfort?
Judge for yourself after you've taken a unique microscopic look at
the barbed mouth parts of a deer tick or the scruffy hairs atop a
mosquito's head photographed at several hundred times life size. Then
try your hand at determining if some images are animal, vegetable,
or mineral. When you tire of guessing, browse through the archive
for magnificent magnifications of everything from a spiny-headed worm
to scratch-'n-sniff paper.
A gene is decoded, and news organizations from ABC to
the BBC are all over it. But where can you find information about
less flashy, but no less noteworthy, breakthroughs? Try Science Daily.
Each day, news is presented in a clear, concise format.
for the Millennium
Reinterpreting the World's Fair for the electronic
age, the gracious e-pavilions at the National Center for Supercomputing
Application's site overflow with technological enterprise. Exhibits
on everything from biosphere modeling to star formation to metacomputing
deftly weave text, images, movies, and sound into a dazzling tour
of the universe. You stay on track with the aid of navigation maps
and flowcharts. Wandering through this celebration of science, you
won't miss cotton candy for a second.
National Air and Space Museum
If you can't make it to the National
Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., its Web site has all the
galleries, complete with photos and short summaries. Trace the history
of aviation and space exploration, learn about how things fly, and
explore our solar system. If you're looking for a specific aircraft
or space artifact, the site features a comprehensive listing, with
photos, of the museum's entire collection-on and off display.
Stunning designer snow crystal galleries, an historical
photo collection, and tips on photographing snow crystals make this
site breathtaking to browse. Learn about different types of snow crystals
and watch movies that show them growing at different temperatures.
Produced by a physics professor at Caltech, the site covers the basics,
but it also gets into details that would interest even . . . well,
a physics professor at Caltech
"Sodaconstructor can seriously damage your productivity," reads a
warning posted at the bottom of this site. They're not kidding. Join
masses and springs to form small mathematical creatures that writhe
and twist in two dimensions as you adjust spring stiffness and weight
placement. Sodaconstructions can walk, bounce, roll, or jiggle their
way across the screen, depending on your design. If you can't get
the hang of creating 2-D critters, load a predesigned model for inspiration.
Zoom past Saturn or simply gaze at the moons
of Mars at this exquisite site from space exploration’s holy trinity:
NASA, JPL, and Caltech. Originally designed to visualize deep-space
satellite missions, the simulator lets you see a body from any vantagepoint
at any time — so you can view Jupiter as seen by Galileo (the man)
or Galileo (the satellite). The renderings of the planets are startlingly
realistic, and it’s easy to set the simulator for the images you want.
Whether you’re really out there or have only an occasional need to
dwell on the heavens, Space.com offers it all. Read, listen to, or
watch daily news stories. Along with the headlines are sections on
industry happenings and space science features. Quizzes, areas on
science fiction movies and TV, and even a special page for kids enliven
Care to take a virtual tour of the solar system? Or perhaps send your
name to Mars aboard the next lander? You can do both at Space Kids,
a NASA Web site designed for “children” of all ages. Here also are
links to space-science news, interactive lessons, and information
about organizations where you can help scientists explore the final
frontier. Resources for teachers help bring the heavens down to Earth.
Based on a PBS series of the same name, The Living
Edens transports you to undisturbed corners of the world. From the
Ngorongoro crater in Africa to Canyonlands National Park in Utah,
each of more than 15 locations comes to life via geological information
and wildlife profiles.
Mad Scientist Network
Burning for answers to science questions?
You'll get them from the "collective cranium" of more than 800 researchers
in the Mad Scientist Network, a remarkable service of Washington University
Medical School. Search the huge Q&A archive or submit your own questions
to Ask-A-Scientist. There are also incredible edible/inedible experiments
to try at home, a MadSci Library of links for exploring science elsewhere
on the Internet, and the Random Knowledge Accumulator-a search engine
that turns up entertaining information.
Science and Technology News Network
This site is not for you.
You'll find plenty of useful information here, but the site is actually
designed to promote science news to media organizations. Our suggestion:
Skip the middleman, and log on frequently. The site features in-depth
stories from such fields as space, medicine, and the environment.
Whether it’s a contemporary science topic like
Dolly the cloned sheep or an historical one like Leonardo da Vinci’s
flying inventions, London’s Science Museum has it covered. In addition
to offering a rich assortment of entertaining and educational online
exhibits, the site offers a virtual 3-D tour of the museum’s recently
opened contemporary science center, the Wellcome Wing.
Multidimensional Human Embryo
. Nary a stork nor a cabbage patch
lurks here. Instead, you'll find exceptional three-dimensional MRI
(magnetic resonance imaging) shots of human embryos — the first of
their kind. You can see the tiny forms change from 22 days after conception
to 56 days — when an embryo becomes a fetus. A click of the mouse
brings up internal cross-sections. Soon the site will offer time-lapse
movies of new life morphing from a tiny speck into an embryo.
The Why Files gives you the science behind the headlines.
After the recent Concorde crash in Paris, for instance, a Why Files
report explored why planes crash. There's a new story every week,
with in-depth features on topics including Mad Cow disease, genetically
engineered chickens with three drumsticks, and the chemistry of love.
The site also hosts a user forum where you can write to and interact
with other readers.
Nothing quite captures a child’s attention like a good science experiment.
That’s why more than 400 science learning institutions contributed
experiments to this site. Children and adults alike can participate
virtually online or use household items offline.
Seen a UFO recently? A dinosaur? Bigfoot? Aliens, lost
worlds, and humanoid legends are just a few of the oddities you'll
find at this site devoted to bizarre and unnatural phenomenon. A detailed
history and analysis accompanies every unnatural mystery, including
a current account of its status.
Yuckiest Site on the Internet
Yes, this site is yucky, but it’s
low with a lofty goal: teaching kids about biology and physiology.
In Roach World, kids follow the exploits of Ralph the Roach, learn
such facts as how each of the critters has at least 18 knees, and
play an interactive roach-whacking game. Gross & Cool Body answers
such questions as “Why does poop smell?” and “What is the gunk in
the corner of my eyes?” Plus: instructions for icky experiments, creepy
crafts, and revolting recipes.
With cable modems and DSL lines providing high-speed
connections to the Internet, watching audio and video feeds via the
Web suddenly makes sense-a lot of sense. And a terrific place to get
started is Yahoo Broadcast's extensive listings of live and taped
special events on topics ranging from politics to fitness to sports.
Or browse through a wide selection of Internet radio and TV stations.
An excellent reference for the latest health and wellness information,
WebMD publishes news articles and reference materials on topics as
diverse as pregnancy and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The site has broad
reference sections, and in-depth analysis of medical news, diseases,
conditions, and treatment options. The information is presented clearly
enough for non-physicians to understand.
to the Universe
A richly colored, highly detailed encyclopedia
of space, Windows on the Universe also brings you all the benefits
of Internet interactivity. It’s a bountiful site, with areas on our
planet, solar system, universe, the arts, and people in science. Tailor
all of the information to beginner, intermediate, or advanced reading
level with the click of a button — so it works for junior as well
as the family member who’s the most space-savvy.