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OSTIblog Articles in the (WWS) Topic

Faster than the speed of light? Or an anomaly?


Faster than the speed of light? Or an anomaly?

According to Einstein's theory of relativity, it is not possible for matter to travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.  The speed of light (186,282 miles per second) has long been considered a cosmic speed limit, and much of modern physics is based on Einstein's work. Now there is a possibility that Einstein was wrong -- and physics may have to rethink the concept of matter and energy.

The science world was surprised when workers at CERN, the world's largest physics lab, recently announced that they had recorded subatomic particles travelling faster than the speed of light.  If their findings are proven to be correct, they would overturn one of the pillars of the Standard Model of physics, which attempts to explain the way the universe and everything within it works. 
Neutrinos have long been suspected of being able to travel beyond light speed but the ability to measure their speed accurately has only recently been possible thanks to the CERN lab. This may be one of those moments in science history that opens the door to new discoveries, and could change the way we understand the universe and ourselves. However, given the potential far-reaching consequences of such a result, independent measurements are needed before the effect can either be refuted or firmly established.

To find out more about neutrinos and modern physics research results, go to Science Accelerator, a gateway to science that includes R&D results, project descriptions, accomplishments and more.  For international results – from over 70 countries and in 10 languages, go to WorldWideScience and for video results (from DOE and CERN), go to...

Related Topics: biological sciences, neutrinos, physics, Science Accelerator, ScienceCinema, speed of light, (WWS)


Shake Rattle and Roll! The Science of Earthquakes


Shake Rattle and Roll! The Science of Earthquakes

A rare, powerful 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the East Coast United States on August 23. Damage was light, but millions of people were surprised and unnerved by the event. The earthquake occurred near Mineral, Virginia, about 100 miles southwest of Washington, DC. It was a shallow earthquake, and shaking was recorded all along the Appalachians, from Georgia to New England.  There have been several aftershocks and more are expected.

An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth'scrustthat creates seismic waves.  It is estimated that around 500,000 earthquakes occur each year, detectable with current instrumentation. About 100,000 of these can be felt.  Earthquakes are caused mostly by rupture of geological faults, but also by other events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests.  Earthquakes may last only a few seconds or may continue for up to several minutes. They can occur at any time of the day or night and at any time of the year.

Minor earthquakes occur nearly constantly around the world in places like Californiaand Alaskain the United States, but earthquakes can occur almost anywhere. 

Scientists have learned a lot about earthquakes, but there is still much that we don't know, like how to accurately forecast them. 


Related Topics: earthquake, USGS, (WWS)


“Mobilizing” Science

by Dr. Walt Warnick 05 Aug, 2011 in Technology


“Mobilizing” Science

At the youngest ages, children are intrigued by Mentos in a Diet Coke. Figuring out what nature is trying to tell us, which is otherwise known as doing science, can be exciting. But, too often, young people become disabused of that excitement when they experience the drudgery of reading dry texts while confined in a stuffy cubicle or a study carrel. Now we are taking a step to help change that perspective. We are displacing text with video, and we are making it easy to find and learn science wherever you happen to be. 

It is an unfortunate circumstance that fun is too often taken out of science. We should want students of all ages to be happy, as happy people invest themselves more into what they are doing. We should want science to remain an avocation even as it becomes a vocation for some students and others move on to different interests. For too long, hours of silent study and nights spent in a dreary lab have driven out the joy like my five-year-old granddaughter felt last week when she caught a bright orange newt in the woods. Better to preserve the excitement and drive out the drudgery.


Related Topics: apps, mobile, (WWS)

Read more... Goes Mobile

4340 Goes Mobile recently released a new mobile version (  Scientists and researchers throughout DOE and the entire U.S. now have access to over 80 scientific and technical databases from preeminent libraries and information centers around the world, all via their “smart phones” or tablets. 

Operating in the same fashion as the computer-based version of, the user simply enters a single query into the search box on the phone.  Using federated search technology, the query is distributed to each of the approximately 80 databases and the search results are combined and re-ranked according to relevance. 

Search results are streamlined for easier viewing on mobile devices, but the user can still connect to the full citation at the originating source database.  If full text is provided, users can view it on the phone/tablet, or they may choose to download it into e-reader software.  Users also have the option of emailing the full set of search results to themselves, or others, for later viewing. 

As “smart phone” and tablet usage continues to grow at a rapid pace, Mobile makes finding important scientific and technical information as convenient and easy as possible! 

Related Topics: mobile, (WWS)





We are proud to note that OSTI was featured in the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry’ssummer issue of its newsletter, the Business Insider

The Chamber says that OSTI and our comprehensive services “…might be one of the most useful – and best kept secrets – in the federal government.”

The article describes OSTI’s mission and our principle that to advance science, research must be shared. and are highlighted.

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry is based in Nashville and is the state’s chamber of commerce and the state manufacturers' association.  Its membership represents more than 1,000 members across Tennessee from all facets of business and industry.  The newsletter is posted online, and is sent to business and industry leaders, as well as government officials across Tennessee.

OSTI thanks the Chamber for informing its members, and encourages them to use our comprehensive, state-of-the-art (and free!) tools for easy access and delivery of research results that are tailored to their needs.

Related Topics: mission,, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (WWS)


WorldWideScience Opens International Doors

On May 25, 2011, I made an invited presentation in Geneva, Switzerland at the 14th session of the United Nations’ Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD).  I want to share with you the reception received at this conference.

Palace of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland

CSTD and OSTI share similar goals.  CSTD supports universal access for all to scientific knowledge.  OSTI seeks to share DOE R&D results with as many people as possible and we partner with other organizations to create integrated products designed to attract users.

Meeting attendees came from around the world and included Ministers and high-level representatives of governments, civil society representatives, businessmen, academia and representatives of international and regional organizations.  I was asked to specifically speak about and how it enables and equalizes access to worldwide scientific knowledge. 

I wish more of my OSTI colleagues could have been in Geneva to share the warm response from the attendees.   Several country representatives offered up new sources for WWS.  Another member of the audience searched mobile WWS for his own name and remarked that he found many of his papers.  I received enthusiastic comments, so many that I couldn’t address all of them because of time constraints.  Significantly, the Chair of CSTD volunteered to pay the costs of becoming a member of the WorldWideScience Alliance.  There was great excitement about the possibilities for its use within the home countries of the attendees and how WWS advances the goals of CSTD. 

The enormity of...

Related Topics: Commission on Science and Technology for Development, CSTD, (WWS)


OSTI's Web Traffic

by Mark Martin 16 May, 2011 in Technology

Recently, I had the opportunity to explore OSTI's web traffic statistics with Walt Warnick and Karen Spence. I am quite happy with what was revealed about our traffic growth and the value of our various collaborations in making scientific and technical information more accessible.  So I wanted to share it with you here at the OSTI Blog.

Web Traffic, How and What OSTI Tracks

OSTI measures web traffic in a number of ways.  One measure is information transactions, defined as discrete information exchanges between an information patron and OSTI's suite of web-based information services.  Other specific measures include searches performed on various OSTI products; user requests for bibliographic citations; user requests for the full text of a technical report; page views of OSTI web pages; referral information including search engine (e.g. Google) referrals and social media (e.g. Facebook) referrals; and numerous reports captured via specialized metrics tools.  OSTI reports the information transaction metric here because it reports total web traffic from all sources in a simple view.  The OSTI Web Traffic chart captures all traffic hosted at OSTI, including,, and  Currently, 70% of OSTI's web traffic originates from domestic sources and 30% from international sources.  Of the domestic traffic, the majority originates from commercial domains.

Significant Increases

Growth can be attributed to working in close collaboration with Google and Yahoo!, as an early adopter of the Sitemap Protocol, a new information industry standard that facilitates an easy way for web content managers to inform search engines about the content that exists on their sites.

One implementation was to create topical search results pages for and to expose these products via the Sitemap Protocol to Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.


Related Topics:, Web traffic, (WWS)


World Wide Information: The Other Side of the Coin

Much has been written in this blog about  As regular readers well know, it is a global gateway to scientific and technical databases conceived, developed, and operated by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information. accelerates scientific discovery and technological progress by providing one-stop searching of enormous quantities of information published on behalf of governments from around the world.

Of course, the world’s information covers numerous topics other than science and technology.  For information about the cultures of the world, a particularly noteworthy virtual collection is theWorld Digital Library(WDL) developed and operated by the Library of Congress,which is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscriptsin its collections.  It makes available on the Internet significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.  The principal objectives of the WDL are to:

  • Promote international and intercultural understanding;
  • Expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet;
  • Provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences;
  • Build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries.

WorldWideScience and the World Digital Library are complementary, one focusing on science and technology and the other on culture.  They are both free of charge and open to everyone with Internet access.

One key service provided by both WorldWideScience and the World Digital Library is that they help to transcend language barriers.  However, their approaches to overcoming language barriers differ.  The World Digital Library generally offers...

Related Topics: Enrico Fermi, history of science, multilingual, translations, World digial Library, (WWS)


Join OSTI at the AAAS Annual Meeting, February 17-21


Join OSTI at the AAAS Annual Meeting, February 17-21

 The Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) will be at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s 2011 Annual Meeting. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Science without Borders.”

OSTI will have a booth (#201 floor plan) at the meeting. Our central theme is “Ensuring Global Science Access.” 
Join us, and thousands of leading scientists, engineers, educators, policymakers, families and members from national and international media at this important meeting. Be sure to stop by OSTI’s booth where you can ask questions and see how to get worldwide R&D results free and fast via single-point-of-access web portals, such as:
Science Accelerator (DOE resources) federal agency science information) (global science information)
OSTI offers web-based searchable databases with relevancy-ranked and downloadable search results...

Related Topics: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science Accelerator,,, (WWS)


Enormous STI Content Made Easily Searchable by OSTI


Enormous STI Content Made Easily Searchable by OSTI

We have integrated about ten OSTI products dealing with technical reports, e-prints, patents, conference proceedings, project summaries, etc., so that they are all searchable via s single query.  The integrated product allows users to search without first having to decide which OSTI product is likely to have the content he/she seeks.  This product is

We have integrated comparable offerings from about 14 other agencies so that all the virtually combined offerings can be searched via a single query. allows users to search without first having to decide which agency offers which content.  The DOE contribution to is .

We have integrated comparable offerings from about 70 other countries so that all the offerings can be searched via a single query.  The US contribution to is allows users to search without first having to decide which country offers which content.  The virtual collection is enormous, being comparable in size to science made searchable via Google.  Our tests suggest, however, that well over 90% of the content of WorldWideScience is non-Googelable.

Until June 11, 2010, the content accessible via WorldWideScience had English titles and other bibliographic information.  On June 11, 2010 WorldWideScience became multilingual.  A beta application was launched which enables speakers of English to search databases posted on behalf of the Russian government for speakers of Russian.  Similarly, for Chinese and seven other languages.  And speakers of these other languages can search the English offerings of WorldWideScience.  The translation capabilities are provided by a collaboration with Microsoft.

Microsoft has posted a blog about Multilingual WWS by Tony Hey, their...

Related Topics: federated search, Science Accelerator,, (WWS)