If you're looking for ideas for a science fair project or demonstration, these pages may help you find a topic that would be fun to explore. They also provide ideas for teachers who are looking for classroom demonstrations or hands-on, inquiry-based student exercises to expand their curriculum.
I am an Emeritus US Geological Survey Geophysicist specializing in seismology and earthquake location programming. I enjoy all sorts of science and would like to see more K-16 lessons taught on the subjects of tectonics, earthquake processes and earthquake hazards. In addition to Earth Science classes, these topics could be covered within general science, physics, math, and even social studies and geography classes. Not only do earthquakes provide an interesting context within which to teach concepts that are already part of the curriculum of these other subjects, the eventual result of incorporating these topics would be a greater understand and appreciation of the value of mitigating the hazardous effects of future earthquakes within the population as a whole.
Projects and lesson plans described in the Earth Science section include a tabletop earthquake demonstration, an earthshaking lab, a shake table, and a paper model that illustrates sea floor spreading, subduction, faulting, and the source of volcanic arcs.
In addition to Earth Science projects, the Earthquakes section has links to some USGS sites that will help in keeping track of current earthquake activity. If you want to make your own seismic recorder (called a seismometer), check out the Public Seismic Net section where you can read about my design and find links to other Public Seismic Network (PSN) web sites.
The Physics section has some fun projects, such a instructions on levitating a magnet with the help of some diamagnetic carbon. There is also a link to the Magnitudes of Physics site with a huge table of interesting physical measurements.
For example, did you ever wonder what the kinetic energy of Earth revolving around the Sun was, or the number stars in a typical galaxy?
Visit the Illusions pages for some interesting optical illusions, some written in Java, that show why one can not always believe their eyes -- the brain is doing a lot of processing of the images to help us interpret the world around us. Sometime this helps, but sometimes an optical illusion causes misperceptions!
As I make some wooden toys, I'll post the plans on the Toys page. So far I have plans for one toy, the classic flip-flop ladder that I remember playing with as a kid.
The Links page has some of my favorite links to other web sites. Of course you can also use the search box on this page to find things on this site or on the web as a whole. I've placed a few good search engines here , including Google, whatUseek, SurfSafely and Ask Jeeves.
The Museums page has photographs of the Seismology exhibit set up by IRIS and the USGS at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque.
The Software page has links to the earthquake location programs HYPO71 and HYPOELLIPSE, two publications of W.H.K. Lee, as well as a few other programs and some miscellaneous computer-related notes.