The World ! Atoms to Z Particles ! All Cross-Referenced

Article excerpt

Byline: Joseph Szadkowski, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Twelve years ago, Eric Weisstein embarked on a mission to collect and disseminate mathematical and scientific information in a way that would be most accessible. He began work on a Microsoft Word document with his Macintosh Plus computer, carefully cross-referencing information in hopes that technology eventually would allow end users to manipulate and enjoy his growing encyclopedia. Enter the Internet explosion of 1995. Mr. Weisstein's massive resource of knowledge has been on the World Wide Web ever since.

Eric Weisstein's World of Science

Site address: scienceworld.wolfram.com

Creator: Eric Weisstein's World of Science is written and maintained by Mr. Weisstein, with contributions from the world Internet communities. Since December 1999, it has been hosted by Wolfram Research Inc. of Champaign, Ill., with additional support coming from the National Science Foundation.

Creator quotable: "I wrote the site as a scientific resource for students, educators, science enthusiasts and researchers. It is updated continuously with new content," Mr. Weisstein says. "I hope to provide explanations for science that are both clear and accessible. And the combination of advanced and extensive exposition of astronomy, chemistry, physics and mathematics with clear, understandable explanations, together with extensive feedback and contributions from Science World's many readers, makes it a unique resource for education and research."

Word from the Webwise: The World of Science offers referenced resources housing thousands of terms to try to clearly and concisely explain the mysteries of science.

Entry points into Mr. Weisstein's worlds physics, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics and biography all lead to simply laid out pages offering a list of subtopics to hone in on the various areas of knowledge, an alphabetical index and a way for contributors to add to the enormous databases.

In physics, for example, Mr. Weisstein breaks the discipline into astrophysics, electromagnetism, experimental physics, fluid mechanics, history and terminology, mechanics, modern physics, optics, states of matter, thermodynamics, dimensional analysis, and wave motion.

I clicked on astrophysics and was led to nine refined areas for investigation. Each of the nine displays the number of terms that will be defined in that area. Choosing cosmology led me to the 42 pieces of information that will be explained, including the Dicke Paradox, the Hoyle-Narlikar cosmological model and the Blandford-Znajek Process to critical density. …