Science  11 Nov 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5750, pp. 949

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  1. EDUCATION: Brush Up Your Einstein

    The 100th anniversary celebrations for Einstein's special theory of relativity are winding down, but you can still bone up on his ideas at the tutorial Einstein Online from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany. The Elementary Einstein section gives beginners a quick tour of special relativity—which posited that time and length vary with speed—and general relativity, which added gravity to the picture. The section also probes some of relativity's consequences and predictions, including gravitational waves, undulating spacetime distortions that researchers haven't yet measured directly. (Included is a simulation which shows gravitational waves from two merging black holes.) Spotlights on Relativity tackles questions such as whether the universe contains more than three dimensions, a prediction of string theory. The site's glossary defines more than 250 relativistic terms.

  2. RESOURCES: Keeping Tabs on Rare Diseases

    Doctors have recorded only about 100 cases of Kabuki syndrome, a congenital form of mental retardation. The condition got its name because patients' facial features—including arched eyebrows and elongated eye openings—resemble the makeup style in Japanese Kabuki theater. At Orpha.Net, you can find out more about Kabuki syndrome and hundreds of other disorders affecting no more than one person out of 2000. Researchers can search for information on a particular disease and pull up a description of the symptoms and underlying cause. The entries also record orphan drugs, treatments for rare diseases that are unprofitable to manufacture, and link to research projects and clinical trials around the world. The site, which has information in six languages, is sponsored by the European Commission, the French government, and other organizations.

  3. IMAGES: Out of the Kiln

    Ceramics may bring to mind those lopsided pots and lumpy plates children make in grade school. But so-called advanced ceramics show up in everything from armor for military vehicles to bone implants. This site* from the University of Dayton in Ohio can help students and researchers understand how the fine structure of these newfangled ceramics determines their properties. The Digital Library of Ceramic Microstructures houses more than 900 close-ups of materials such as a wadeite crystal from a flat-panel display. The collection also includes examples marred by corrosion, oxidation, or other damaging processes, helping users grasp how the materials wear. A similar library from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. stashes nearly 800 images of ceramics, metals, foams, and other stuff. For materials science teachers, the site also offers a host of lessons and lab exercises.

  4. FUN: From Earth to the Moon

    The NASA software World Wind can whisk you on a virtual trip to anywhere on Earth (NetWatch, 13 May, p. 933). Now, you can tour the moon with a new version of the program that uses data from the Clementine spacecraft, which mapped the lunar surface in 1994.

  5. EDUCATION: Sick at Heart

    Looking for a tutorial on the role of fat-ferrying molecules such as high-density lipoprotein in inflammation? Curious about how hypertension fosters kidney disease? These sites from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, offer a wealth of information about high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. Although aimed at doctors, both can help researchers and students bolster their knowledge of these heartbreakers. For example, Lipids Online* features more than 30 slide shows on topics such as metabolic syndrome, a collection of symptoms including out-of-whack lipid levels and excess abdominal fat that promotes heart attacks and strokes. Visitors can also watch videos of lectures by experts in the field or read commentaries on new findings. At Hypertension Online, you can peruse updates on the latest drug trials and screen an animation that illustrates how high blood pressure injures the heart.