It's no secret, of course, that the Internet is chock full of information. While much of it is solid and reliable¿and, yes, even entertaining¿much of it, sadly, is not. As we write this, the Web search engine Google, for instance, informs visitors that it sifts through 2,073,418,204 Web pages¿and those are just the ones it "knows" about. How, you may be wondering, is the average time-crunched, science-and-technology aficionado to find the best sites with a minimum of fuss? We're glad you asked.
In this, our second annual ScientificAmerican.com Sci/Tech Web Awards, the editors have again done the work of sifting through the virtual piles of pages to find the top sites for your browsing pleasure. We've selected an eclectic mix of 50 sites¿five sites in each of 10 subject categories. The sites run the gamut from the serious and information-packed to the more whimsical, and even playful, sides of science and technology. For instance, you can explore the voluminous reference guides on the Internet Public Library, take a virtual tour of the ancient artwork in the Cave of Lascaux and toggle through interesting facts about chemical compounds that have some very silly names. What all the sites have in common is that they are worth a bit of your precious time. We hope you enjoy visiting them as much as we have. And if you'd like to nominate one of your favorites that isn't on this list for a future award, please send us the URL.
Special thanks to Charles Choi, for his assistance in producing this section.