Follow the giant arrow of time from the origin of the universe, through the creation of stars, planets, human life, modern culture and beyond into the future. Each epoch is explored in detail with explanations of major developments, gorgeous Quicktime movies, and concise, informative images and audio narratives that boil down billions of years of time into an online time-travel adventure. Those pressed for centuries can go straight to the movies and watch films depicting the discovery of dark matter, the life cycle of the sun, and Darwin's finch study--all spectacular, straightforward, mini-cinematic delights.
Hands-On-CERN offers a virtual laboratory for exploring the most fundamental processes of matter and examining particle collisions. It's heady material, but the site does a brave job of making the business of elementary particles, accelerators, detectors and collision exercises comprehensible to a general audience. The crowning jewel of the site is WIRED, or World Wide Web Interactive Remote Event Display, where students can study actual particle collisions at the European Centre for Particle Physics in Geneva. Those new to particle physics will be rewarded by starting at the beginning and working through the methodical paces of The Standard Model section. The site represents quite a feat in ultimately making this branch of physics more accessible for all.
Fear of Physics
The folks behind Fear of Physics are committed to cleaning up physics' bad rep as boring and incomprehensible. They want you to know there's more to the science than atoms and quarks, hence their site, which takes on gravity, roller coasters, pendulums and activity-based problems involving see-saws and things that spin. Movies are employed wherever possible and the tone of the site is light and fun. Perfect for teachers looking to kick it up a notch in class. What's more, the site also offers a homework-help section and a user-contributed physics dictionary.
By taking your age and level of knowledge into consideration, Physics.org can better find the personally appropriate answer to all your questions from its pool of vetted physics Web sites. Most fun is the animated Physics Life section, which is almost like a video game in which users point and click around town, zooming in on points where they can find hidden facts about physics at work. User participation is a hallmark of Physics.org. Explore their Site of the Month archive, where you'll not only find a smorgasbord of great links, but more opportunities to sound off on which sites you like best.
The Elegant Universe
The Elegant Universe is NOVA's stellar online collection of interviews, video clips, links, activities and animated demonstrations that accompany their television mini-series on string theory. But we think the site also stands on its own. What is string theory, you ask? Put simply, it's a theory that the tiniest ingredients in nature, once thought to be point particles, are actually one-dimensional strings. We'll let PBS take it from there. On the site, you'll be invited to imagine the world in more than three dimensions, to witness the conflicting views of some of the world's leading minds on the subject and even watch a slide show of the NOVA program being made. Miss the show on TV? All three hours can be watched online.
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