"Educational Web Sites
Astronomy, Physics, Spaceflight and the Earth's Magnetism"
By David P. Stern, M.Sc., D.Sc.
1963--2001, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
1959 D.Sc. Israel Inst. of Technology, Haifa,
1956, M.Sc., Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
American Geophysical Union
American Physical Society
Amer. Assoc. of Physics Teachers
These sites were written with several goals in mind:
First, they try to provide non-scientists with clear explanations and explicit answers about physics and astronomy, in particular in those areas that concern space, which has been my own field of work. Many web pages exist about such subjects, but they often leave the reader no wiser, and at times, more confused. Here you may find straight answers, and the material is self-contained, you need no prior knowledge.
Second, I have tried to include interesting stories and connections, many from the history of science and of technology. Science has always been closely linked to culture and society, and the historical thread provides both continuity and human interest. For non-scientists, especially ones interested in space and its exploration, this opens a window to a rich subculture of which society is barely aware.
And for students who might be getting their first look at science, as well as for their teachers, this may provide fresh material on physics, astronomy and earth sciences, with new content and added interest. Most of it is written at the high school level, though parts can be taught in middle school and others would fit undergraduate college. It is an open ended resource with extensions, links and references for the few who wish to explore at a higher level.
I am a physicist, at the end of a long career in space research, yet familiar with the history of science and with many of the links between science, technology, culture and society (personal details at Education/wstern.html). I am well aware that most recent graduates from high school lack both the understanding of science and an interest in it. Reasons vary—e.g. rigid and formal curricula, lack of trained teachers, too much memorization, too little new material—but whatever they might be, it seems high time to seek a more fruitful approach.