GIS Day 2017!

As it does every year, GIS Day snuck up on me! From the GIS Day page, you can see local events as well as some really cool visualization/data projects (My favorites are the 100 Years of the NPS and Lakota Language). ESRI’s GeoNet community will also lead you to some interesting information. One of my favorite non-science databases is Social Explorer, which allows you to visually explore all types of demographic data. Other cool/interesting sites include:

  • Atlas of Early Printing: an interactive timeline that traces the spread of printing in conjunction with trade routes, paper mills and other factors.
  • Atlas of the Biosphere: Provides visualized information about the environment and human interactions with the environment.It contains maps with geographically explicit data broken down into four general categories (Humans, Land Use, Ecosystems, and Water Resources) and animated schematics that look at the various resource flows and pools that make up individual Earth systems.
  • CityNature combines spatial analysis of parks and other natural areas in cities with text mining of planning documents and published historical narratives to explore why.
  • HealthMap: deliver real-time intelligence on a broad range of emerging infectious diseases. (Spoiler alert: Either we are pretty lucky in PDX or our outbreaks aren’t getting reported.)
  • Herodotus’s Histories: all the place names mapped so you can follow in Herodotus’s footsteps. Virtually.
  • Landscope America & other NatureServe maps: brings together maps, data, photos, and stories about America’s natural places and open spaces to inform and inspire conservation.
  • Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America: I’m not sure this one really needs an explanation. Looking at the area description/security map of each area makes me sad.
  • National Geologic Map Database: a distributed archive of standardized geoscience information.
  • Racial Dot Map: an accessible visualization of geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the American people in every neighborhood in the entire country.
  • ShakeMap: from the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program. An accessible visualization of geographic distribution, population density, and racial diversity of the American people in every neighborhood in the entire country.

Looking for books about GIS? Try some of these:
Encyclopedia of GIS
Qualitative GIS: A mixed Methods Approach
GIS Research Methods: Incorporating Spatial Perspectives
A Primer of GIS
The Spatial Humanities GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship

Happy 150th Birthday, Madame Curie!

On the 150th anniversary of Marie Curie’s birth, I thought I would share a few interesting tidbits about her that I had learned a few years ago at an AAAS session celebrating the 100th anniversary of her Nobel Prize:

  • Her second paper was the first time the word “radioactive” was used in the literature (and was probably the birth of radio chemistry).1
  • she chose not to patent her work because she felt all scientific research should be freely available to the public.2
  • In 1910 she applied to the French Academy of Sciences. She lost by 2 votes and then refused to ever publish in their journals again.3

Read a book by or about this great woman:

Preston, D. (2005). Before the fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima. New York: Walker & Co. (Q175.5 .P74 2005)

Quinn, S. (1995). Marie Curie: A life. New York: Simon & Schuster. (QD22 .C8Q56 1995)

Curie, M. (1961). Radioactive substances: A translation from the French of the classical thesis presented to the Faculty of Sciences in Paris by the distinguished Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie. New York: Philosophical Library.(QC795 .C823)

Emling, S. (2012). Marie Curie and her daughters: The private lives of science’s first family (First ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. (QD22.C8 E46 2012)

Curie, Eve, & Sheean, Vincent. (1937). Madame Curie: A biography (Da Capo series in science). Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran & Company. (QD22.C8 C85 1937)

1Byers, N., & Williams, Gary A. (2006). Out of the shadows : Contributions of twentieth-century women to physics. Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 4, Marie Curie (1867 – 1934), reproduced here.)

2Valentinuzzi, ME. (2017) Three Outstanding Women in Science. IEEE Pulse, September/October:57.

a name=”three”>3“JAN. 23, 1911: SCIENCE ACADEMY TELLS MARIE CURIE, ‘NON'”. Wired.

Happy Open Access Week!

Science-related Open Access titles include titles published by established publishers, collections of OA journals from one provider, and journals from other sources that were born openly accessible. DOAJ (The Directory of Open Access journals) is a quick way to see what OA journals are available in various subjects.

Two well know collections include The Public Library of Science (PLOS) titles, including PLOS One, and BioMed Central, a collection of OA journals on many subjects related to bioscience and medicine. Another collection, Frontiers, is a community-rooted OA platform which includes titles in many areas of the sciences, from astronomy to veterinary science. (See title list.)

Individual titles of note include:

Remember: Just because a journal calls itself open-access doesn’t mean it is a reputable journal. Concerned? Check Beall’s List of predatory open access publishers and stand-alone journals.

What’s your favorite Open Access journal?

Happy National Nanotechnology Day!


It is National Nanotechnology Day!

Learn more about hot topics in this field by browsing a core journal,  Nanotechnology.

Need an overview of what Nanotechnology is? Try one of these eBooks:


Find of the Week: Search for LaTeX code!

One of our favorite (ok, MY favorite) eBook and journal publishers, Springer, has LaTeX coding searching! Instead of trying to type an equation in google or another search engine, a searcher can enter the code for an equation and search within Springer publications. LaTeXSearch can find equations containing specific or similar LaTeX code, equations belonging to a specific DOI and equations belonging to articles with a particular word or phrase in their title.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Break on through to the other side!

Break Out of Your Library: Set Physics Loose with e-Books, Outreach, and Open Textbooks!

Science Outreach: Bruce Bailey, Associate Professor of Mathematics, UA & co-founder of The Physics Factory and the Arizona Mathematics Road Show

“The best thing about math is all the fun physics you get to do.” (He said it, I didn’t.)

When talking about the Warrington Perambulating Library, a friend suggested they get a physics bus & the rest is history!  The biggest challenge–COST!  In maintenance, supples, staff. It is a real labor of love. Opportunities in professional development & helping to build community strength (ex. Navajo Nation Math Festival/math circles.)

eBooks: Eric Pepper from SPIE & John Greivenkamp, UA College of Optical Sciences & editor of the SPIE Field Guides series

  • Spotlights: Concise, topically focused, mini-tutorials (on an application or technique).
  • Tutorial Texts: introductory learning texts
  • Field Guides: Concise quick-reference guides to key information that students, practicing engineers, and scientists need in the lab and in the field.

Important features of SPIE eBooks: No DRM, full pdf downloads, unlimited use, MARC records & counter stats.  Downside: can only rent/buy entire collection.

Cool thing? Free eBooks for high schools!

Field Guides are a great way to publish.  Right now there are ~35 on various topics (see link). Each is spiral bound, one page per topic. outline of key concepts, color highlighting & good bibliographies.  (Each title has sample pages. Check it out.)

“Free” resources to check out:

Fundamentals of Photonics

Optipedia: Wiki style free resource with fundamental concepts related to optics and photonics from SPIE Field Guides.

Open Education Resources: Cheryl Cuiller, UA OER Coordinator

Slides from talk

OER 101 Handout for faculty

Creative Common Licenses breakdown

I’m not really going to retype all my notes because her slides & handouts have most of it, including overviews of different OER libraries and sample books, but I did want to point out one thing she talked about during her lessons learned: When talking to faculty, focus on the student success angle. When talking to students, focus on the complete academic freedom angle and frame OER as a social justice issue!

Wait, that was used how often?

Journal Collection Assessment: Verifiable Tips and Tricks to Make Cost Effective Decisions

Luti Salisbury, UA, Fayetteville, is a *very* old friend and a fellow fan of bibliometrics! She presented reasons why looking at just counter statistics when making journal selection decisions is only giving us part of the picture. And shared the system she uses when evaluating chemistry and biochemistry journals. Her method, using counter statistics, in-house use, and faculty publications and citations gathered from various databases, helps to identify not only which journals are being used, but which journals faculty are publishing in and which ones they are citing. I’ve already begun trying out this method as we look at some of our titles up for renewal this year.

Materials Science Resources

Today’s Resources in Materials Science

Highlights from the roundtable overview of new & updated materials resources.


CORE-Materials — many use creative commons license, although a few are copyrighted. Not really easy to search, but resources are interesting, if not too advanced.

MIT OpenCourseWare–Can find graduate and undergraduate resources by topic, instructional approach, and type of materials used.

nanoHub–Community portal and open resources for nano science. Includes simulation tools and learning modules, as well as a workspace to collaborate.


Other resources:

TRAIL – Technical Report Archive and Image Library:  unrestricted access to over 61,000 digitized federal technical reports.

MatWeb: searchable database of materials properties.

We finished the meeting with a roundtable discussion on how we use non-materials focused resources to find materials information, but I had to leave early to go to another session. I’ll post the slides here when the get published.


Celebrating Marie Curie’s 100th Anniversary of Her Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Patricia A. Baisden, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Marie Curie, the Premier Chemist, Co-Discoverer of Radiation and Radioactivity

Julie Des Jardins, Baruch College, City University of New York
The Marie Curie Complex: The Hidden History of Women in Science

Pnina G. Abir-Am, Brandeis University
Historical Perspectives on the Public Memory of Marie S. Curie (2011, 1911)

Three papers presented outlined the technical and social accomplishments of Curie, as well as the impact she had on American women in science. The session is a detailed account of her life and work. Much to much to recount here, so I thought I would share a few of the interesting tidbits:

  • her second paper was the first time the word “radioactive” was used in the literature, and was probably the birth of radio chemistry
  • she chose not to patent her work because she felt all scientific research should be freely available to the public
  • In 1903, Pierre won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, but refused to accept unless Marie was included.
  • In 1910 she applied to the French Academy of Sciences. She lost by 2 votes and then refused to ever publish in their journals again.