podcasting, ipods, mp3

An article by Kevin and I has just been published early this week. It is free open access, please feel free to read and forward it to your colleagues:

Barsky E., & Lindstrom K. Podcasting the Sciences: A Practical Overview. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Fall 2008.


University science education has been undergoing great amount of change since the commercialization of the Internet a decade ago. Mobile technologies in science education can encompass more than the proximal teaching and learning environment. Podcasting, for example, allows audio content from user-selected feeds to be automatically downloaded to one’s computer as it becomes available online, and then later transferred to a portable player for the user’s consumption at a convenient time and place. Enjoying a phenomenal growth in mainstream society, podcasting is asynchronous and could be provided at a distance from a classroom. This paper reports a case study from the University of British Columbia that implemented podcasting for physics content. It presents the rationale for, technical details, and step-by-step guide to creating podcasts in the sciences.

** Photo by Josh Bancroft

We’ve got ebooks on almost any topic under the sun and pdf’s are a lot lighter to carry than paper.

You want books on how to write code in Python or how to fix your new laptop running Microsoft Vista? Have a look at the Books 24X7 IT Collection.

Trying find some good stuff on biodiesel? Heres’ a hot title
Biodiesel – A Realistic Fuel Alternative for Diesel Engines

Need some physical property data like the viscosity of Cl2 gas? A search of Knovel.com will link you to the Chemical Properties Handbook and Yaws’ Handbook of Thermodynamic and Physical Properties of Chemical Compounds

Need some good information on climate change? Here’s a good starting point Assessing Climate Change.

Circuit diagrams for operational amplifiers? Check out the Electrical Engineering Handbook.

All in all, you have access to more than five thousand science and engineering ebooks.

For a complete list (not including Books24X7 titles) go to the Science & Engineering Ebook site. There you can find A-Z titles lists of ebooks as well as the search interfaces for the ebook collections you have access to. Make sure you look at the Springer Ebooks as well. Springer is a major science and engineering publisher.

Remember that these resources are not freely available on internet, so if you are connecting from off campus, go to UBC’s VPN site for instructions.

Posted by Kevin Lindstrom Liaison Librarian for Earth and Ocean Sciences, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Materials Engineering, and Physics.

sky, universe

Here is another podcast we recorded back in April 2008. It is presented by Prof. Mark Halpern, from the UBC Physics and Astronomy Department.

Here is the abstract for this presentation:

The universe is filled with a thermal glow called the cosmic microwave background that comes from the hot plasma which filled it early on. Measurements of this background made by the NASA satellite WMAP have determined the age, geometry and composition of the universe with new precision, determining that the universe today is dominated by a dark energy that is causing it to expand ever more rapidly. The mission has also determined that baryonic matter–the atoms and molecules we see around us–only form a few percent of the total energy density of the universe today, and has determined the epoch at which the first stars formed. Recent results give a tantalizing picture of the first very small fraction of a second in the “big bang”. Six years after its launch WMAP remains healthy and the data continue to pour in. This talk will explain to a general audience what this experiment tells us about how the universe began and what it is made out of.

Here is the audio file – Measuring how the universe began

Here you can also find the PDF file of the presentation and the movie that Prof. Halpern demonstrated – https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/660

** Photo by makelessnoise

UBC’s Dr. Mark Halpern gave a presentation on Thursday April 17 about WMAP and some of the results from their five years with of data.

The audio and pdf presentation is available at


We have released maps and data for five years of observation of the cosmic microwave background with the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) and I will review the main results in this talk. A simple 6 parameter cosmological model continues to be an excellent fit to the CMB data and to our data in conjunction with other astrophysical measurements. In particular a running spectral index is not supported by the data, and constraints that the Universe is spatially flat have increased in precision. Increased sensitivity and improvements in our understanding of the instrumental beam shape have allowed us to measure for the first time a cosmic neutrino background. Neutrinos de-coupled from other matter earlier than photons did. While they are expected to have a 2 Kelvin thermal distribution today, they comprised 10% of the energy density of the Universe at the epoch of photon de-coupling. The data also allow tighter constraints on the shape of the inflationary potential via the amplitude of a gravitational wave background new constraints on features of cosmic axions. Recorded at TRIUMF on Thursday April 17, 2008.

Here is a recent presentation by Dr. Harvey Richer. Here is an abstract:

White dwarf stars are the burnt out remnants that remain after a star like the Sun has completed its nuclear evolution. In such a star there are no remaining nuclear energy sources, so the star evolves by simply radiating its stored thermal energy out into space. This may seem rather uninteresting, but in fact there is a wealth of physical phenomena that occur during this part of a star’s life – from getting kicked at birth, to neutrino emission in early life, to some interesting high density physics, through to functioning as precise clocks that can provide an age for some of the oldest know stars in the Universe. Some of these phases will be illustrated with detailed observations taken recently with the Hubble Space Telescope.

Click here to play mp3 file and here to view to presentation slides.

Moreover, you can play the file using the small gadget below:

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