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The Best Websites for Expanding Your Scientific Knowledge

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If you have a thirst for scientific knowledge, there are many websites that can start to quench that thirst. From news about scientific discoveries to resources for teaching science, you can find a wealth of scientific information on the web.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the USA

PNAS publishes cutting-edge research reports, commentaries, reviews, perspectives, colloquium papers, and actions of the Academy that cover the biological, physical, and social sciences. The site contains the full text, figures, tables, equations, and references of all articles in PNAS dating back to 1990. PNAS is available by subscription weekly in print, and daily online before the printed version in the PNAS Early Edition. For individuals only in the online Early Edition format only, it costs $215/year. For more information about what’s included in the subscription and for more subscription rates, see their About page and their rates page. If you don’t want to subscribe, you can still access the tables of contents, abstracts, full-text search, and all content older than 6 months at no cost and without registration.

Also, see the National Academy of Sciences website.

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American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, or “Triple A-S,” is an international, professional, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people. Their goals include enhancing communication among scientists, engineers, and the public, strengthening and diversifying the science and technology workforce, promoting and defending the integrity of science and its use, and fostering education in science and technology for everyone. The AAAS publishes the journal Science, as well as many scientific newsletters, books, and reports. Science boasts an estimated total readership of one million.

Lessons and tools for educating K-12 kids can be found on their ScienceNetLinks site.

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ScienceStage.com

ScienceStage.com is an online portal for the advanced teaching of science and scientific research. They provide a virtual conference room, lecture hall, laboratory, library, and a meeting venue for the presentation and transfer of scientific knowledge. The site enables scientists, lecturers, academics, students, and practitioners of all types to present and share scientific knowledge through the use of streaming audio and video, text documents and classic community functions such as chat, email, and blogs.

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ScienceDaily

ScienceDaily is one of the most popular science news sites on the web and covers breaking scientific news and the latest scientific discoveries. You can access over 65,000 research articles, 15,000 images, 2,500 encyclopedia entries, 1,500 book reviews, and hundreds of education videos for free, without subscription fees. The breaking news and feature articles, covering discoveries in almost every science topic from astrophysics to zoology, are updated several times a day, seven days a week. The world’s leading universities and research organizations use ScienceDailyto spread their scientists’ findings to a wider audience, and showcase the top science news stories.

You can sign up for ScienceDaily’s email newsletter and/or their RSS feed to receive notifications of important scientific discoveries.

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Science News

Science News is an award-winning, news magazine that publishes concise, accurate, timely articles about all areas of science and covers important and emerging scientific research. You can subscribe to Science News in print, online digital format, and on the Kindle and iPad. It’s also distributed in audio form on Audible.com in a 1-month subscription or 12-month subscription. You can also search for Science News on the Audible site to find single issues you can purchase.

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New York Times Science News

The New York Times has a special Science page that covers current scientific events about the environment and space and the cosmos.

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NOVA

NOVA is the most watched documentary series on public television and the highest rated science series on television and has won many major television awards, some multiple times. It’s a science show for “curious people exploring interesting questions.” Each show covers a single topic shown to be of great interest to viewers in an uninterrupted, hour-long program. If you’re still hungry for more information about the topic, each show has a website to accompany it that offers articles, interviews, personal essays, slide shows, 360° panoramas and interactive features.

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HowStuffWorks

HowStuffWorks provides explanations for thousands of topics, allowing you to explore how the natural world works, as well as topics in engineering, space, military technology, and physics, among many others.

You can get daily notifications about the newest articles through their RSS feed, as well as finding out about articles on specific topics. HowStuffWorks is also available as an iPad app, an iPhone app, and an Android app.

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National Public Radio (NPR)

National Public Radio (NPR) creates and distributes news, information, and music to a network of almost a thousand independent stations. They have a special science page on their website with scientific news and information about many topics, such as the environment, energy, space, technology, and research news.

Subscribe to their science podcast RSS feed to be notified about podcasts covering the latest health and science news that you can download in MP3 format. You can also build your own custom podcast of various topics, music, personalities, and other NPR programs.

Stay informed by downloading apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad, access a mobile site in the browser on your phone or tablet. Follow NPR on Twitter and be a fan of NPR on Facebook.

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Public Library of Science (PLoS)

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a nonprofit publisher of high-quality, high-profile scientific and medical journals in which scientists and physicians can publish their most important work. Because the sharing of research encourages progress, the journals are freely available to the public under the open access model with no fees for access. The journals can be read, downloaded, copied, distributed, and used (with attribution as specified by the Creative Commons Attribution License).

The PLoS also publishes a blog providing an insider’s view of what’s going on at PLoS.

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BioMed Central

BioMed Central is a science, technology, and medicine (STM) publisher of 241 peer-reviewed, open access journals. The original research articles published by BioMed Central are freely and permanently accessible online to the public immediately upon publication.

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Science.gov

Science.gov provides the ability to search over 55 scientific databases and 200 million pages of government science information and research results using one query. 17 scientific and technical organizations from 13 federal agencies contribute content to Science.gov. The site is also a gateway to over 2100 other scientific websites. Wikipedia and Eureka News results related to your search terms are included in the search results.

If you want to automatically receive updates regarding newly available information on Science.gov in specific areas of interest, you can register for their ALERTS feature. You can also follow the site on Twitter. To view Science.gov on your mobile device, visit the mobile site, m.science.gov.

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National Geographic – Science and Space

National Geographic supports exploration and discovery and groundbreaking scientific fieldwork and critical expeditions through grant programs and public projects. Their Science and Space site covers topics in archaeology, technology, space, the prehistoric world, the Earth, and health and the human body.

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Understanding Science

The Understanding Science website is a fun, free resource that aims to accurately communicate what science is and how it really works. It provides “an inside look at the general principles, methods, and motivations that underlie all of science.” They provide resources and strategies for K-16 teachers so they can improve their scientific understanding and reinforce the nature of science in their scientific teachings. The website also provides an informative reference that allows students and the general public to accurately understand the nature of science.

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Science News for Kids

Science News for Kids is a website launched in 2003 by the Society for Science & the Public (SSP), who also publishes the Science News magazine. It’s meant to be a youth edition of and companion to the magazine and to inform, educate, and inspire kids to understand and appreciate science and the vital role it plays in human advancement.

Kids can stay up-to-date with the latest in science news by signing up for the SNK E-Blast email newsletter which lists the headline, summary, and URL of every Science News for Kids article being published every week.

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Science Made Simple

Children learn by asking questions. Some questions you, as a parent or teacher, will be able to answer, some you may not. The Science Made Simple website can help you answer those questions. They offer a newsletter that costs $11.95 for 10 issues of downloadable PDF files, and you can try risk free. If you are not happy with the first issue, they will refund your money.

The newsletter is designed for kids from about ages 5 to 13 and has several different sections written at different levels of difficulty and depth. Each issue starts with a question children might ask about the world around them. The newsletter continues with an easy section for the younger children followed by a general discussion of the basic science needed to answer the question. More detailed information is also included about related science topics for further education. The basic science concepts in the newsletter can be reinforced using the included fun, safe, kid-tested projects.

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Cool Science

Cool Science is a website published by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) that provides scientific information for people of all ages. There’s a database of resources for educators, from lesson plans and detailed curricula to tutorials, animations and laboratory exercises. Educators can also subscribe to the Educational Resource Locator RSS feed to stay updated on new resources as they become available.

There’s also a section of the site that allows curious kids to explore on their own answers to questions they might have.

The Biointeractive section of the site provides free resources for science teachers and students.

If you have questions about medicine, human biology, animals, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, or evolution, the Ask a Scientist section connects you with some of the top scientists in the country connected with HHMI to get your questions answered.

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Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is a science-based, nonprofit alliance of more than 400,000 citizens and scientists working on improving the environment and making the world a safer place. The UCS members include parents and businesspeople, teachers and students, and many types of scientists. Through independent scientific research and citizen action, they work to develop innovative, practical solutions for safeguarding our future and the future of our planet.

To receive updates on news, event information, and urgent action alerts, you can sign up to receive free email updates. Providing your city, state, and zip code ensures that you receive information specific to your community. If you would rather not get updates through email, you can subscribe to their RSS feed. For a tax-deductible fee, you can also join UCS to aid them in the advancement of science-based solutions.

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Professional Scientific Organizations

In addition to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) mentioned earlier, there are other professional organizations dedicated to scientific professional and educational development.

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UCSF Osher Mini Medical School for the Public

The UCSF Osher Mini Medical School for the Public is a freely available series of programs presented by UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine that allow you to learn about health and the health sciences directly from UCSF faculty members and other nationally-recognized experts.

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College and University Lectures, Publications, Podcasts, and Online Courses

The following sites provide lectures, publications, podcasts, and even free online college courses from some of the top universities and colleges.

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National Technical Reports Library (NTRL)

The NTRL V3.0 was created by the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide access to one of the world’s largest repositories of scientific and technical information produced by the Federal Government over the past 75 years. The mission of the NTIS is to promote American innovation and economic growth by collecting and disseminating scientific, technical and engineering information. As a non-appropriated federal agency, the NTIS operates on a cost-recovery basis. The NTRL V3.0 was developed by the Federal Science Repository Service (FSRS) as an IP-authenticated, subscription-based platform based on the open-source Fedora/SOLR architecture. It provides access to over 2.2 million titles with over 700K digitized full-text technical reports. With updates on a weekly basis these numbers continuously grow as new content is acquired, and existing bibliographic content is digitized. The content of the NTRL V3.0 is arranged by 39 major subject categories and 375 sub-categories. Subscribers to the NTRL V3.0 include major domestic and international universities, federal agencies, businesses, and the library community.

The NTRL V3.0 Newsletter is a complimentary digital publication, published monthly to provide a snapshot of the content of the NTRL V3.0 by subject or theme. Sign-up for your free subscription today to stay informed of new content added to the NTRL V3.0.

If you have any favorite websites for science education and resources, let us know.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 08/4/12

Comments (13)

  1. r

    R ik – ¼ R gik = 0

  2. 01101001b

    Superb article! I really enjoyed finding and reading it because I always wanted to know sites like those! (the only one I use to check ’til now is HowStuffWorks). Thanks!

  3. jt

    It’s also worth having a look at Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org). Their subject coverage is much broader than science alone (art history, finance, economics, etc) but everything’s covered in exceptional detail.

  4. j0x

    what about the below sites?
    http://phys.org/
    http://medicalxpress.com/

  5. owen123

    Wolframalpha

  6. Louis Escuela

    As a retired engineer, entering an accelerated science teaching degree program, I appreciate and thank Lori Kaufman for her excellent research. I’m sure this will help countless teachers, students, scientists, engineers and the field of science in general. As my first visit to http://www.howtogeek.com, I am very impressed and will be visiting the site often. Again, thanks for the excellent work, Lori.

  7. Kevalin

    I should’ve known better, this being the web and all, but I never realized there were so many sites available that discuss and teach about science. Beyond its entertainment value, this is why I make it my business to always open my HTG email each day. Thanks, folks, for providing such a valuable resource.

  8. mike

    Great list. I also recommend phys.org . Requires some general science background.

    In their own words:

    PhysOrg.com™ is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics. These include physics, earth science, medicine, nanotechnology, electronics, space, biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and other sciences and technologies. Launched in 2004, PhysOrg’s readership has grown steadily to include 1.75 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. PhysOrg publishes approximately 100 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide …

  9. David

    Oh, dear, I never realised how USA-centric the Geek is. Quite a bit of science also goes on out here in the civilised world (which we manage with rather fewer guns going off in or schools).

  10. M Henri Day

    Not merely USA-centric, but alas, also highly proprietary, at least when it comes to the scientific, as opposed to the popular scientific journals mentioned. One publisher that should definitely not have been admitted is PLOS (Public Library of Science), found at http://www.plos.org/, which currently publishes seven peer-reviewed journals which, in contrast to such journals as PNAS, are not behind a pay-wall….

    Henri

  11. Gary

    You should also have included websites which supplies free courses such as http://www.khanacademy.org where you can find instruction in the sciences, math, etc. Additionally MIT offers online access to some courses, maybe Stanford as well ? Not sure of the links for those.

  12. wheeee

    PNAS. Unfortunate initials.

  13. Strawl12

    Especially if one has a wheeee PNAS

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