ScientificAmerican.com names Digimorph a Top 50 science and technology Web site

Oct. 5, 2004

AUSTIN, Texas—A University of Texas at Austin Web site that allows people to peer inside animals, plants and fossils has been named a Top 50 science and technology Web site by Scientific American.com, the online component of Scientific American magazine.

The free site, DigiMorph.org, presents the images of more than 300 vertebrates and many invertebrates that were scanned with a high-resolution computer tomographic machine. The subjects range from rare seeds to fossils to tadpoles to hummingbirds.

DigiMorph is a contraction for digital morphology. Morphology is the part of biology that deals with the form and structure of organisms.

The Web site displays the results of the scans and makes them available to other researchers, teachers, students and those who just want to get inside the head of a horned lizard.

The user can view each image in three dimensions, rotate it, watch animations from the scan itself, slice it open and look at it from the inside out, and otherwise manipulate the data to gather information.

“With visualizations like these at your disposal, even the common house mouse is a wonder to behold,” the Scientific American.com editors said.

DigiMorph came about when Dr. Timothy Rowe, a geology professor and the DigiMorph project director, realized the value that a Web site containing the images would be for researchers and others. He wrote a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation Digital Libraries Initiative, which funded the creation of the DigiMorph.

The site is produced by the university’s High Resolution X-ray CT Facility, the Department of Geological Sciences, the Texas Memorial Museum and the Center for Instructional Technologies.

The Sci/Tech Web Awards 2004 covers 10 categories of interest—anthropology and paleontology, astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth and environment, engineering and technology, great minds, health and medicine, physics and science for kids.

Within each category, there are links to the editors’ pick of the top five sites, along with a brief description.  There is no fee to access the list or the various sites. Scientific American editors reviewed more than 1,000 Web sites and selected the 50 they deemed the most valuable science and technology resources.

For more information contact: Tim Green, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-6596.