Category Archives: Research Tools

Tools, ideas, and concepts for doing better and smarter research.

Borax Bead And Flame Tests

You can perform simple qualitative analysis to detect certain metals in various substances using borax bead, and flame tests. The inoculating loop for these tests is very easy to make. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Chemistry, Experimentation, Geology, Research Tools, Tools | 1 Comment

Open Access publishing initiative, SCOAP3, to start on 1 January 2014

With the support of partners in 24 countries[2], a vast fraction of scientific articles in the field of High-Energy Physics will become Open Access at no cost for any author: everyone will be able to read them; authors will retain copyright; and generous licenses will enable wide re-use of this information. Continue reading…

Posted in Breaking News, Nuclear, Open Science, Open Source, Physics, Publishing, Research Tools, Tools | Leave a comment

Wanted: Raspberry Pi Columnist(s)

Image: PC Magazine

CSL is looking for one or more people who are conversant in using Raspberry Pi and other types of microcontrollers who would like to share their expertise and enthusiasm with our readers. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Community, Computer Science, CSL News, DIY, Electronics, Engineering, Instrumentation, Invention, Makers and Making, Open Science, Open Source, Publishing, Research Tools, Software, Tools | Leave a comment

Getting Information on Chemicals

Suppose you needed to know something about a chemical. What is it’s boiling point? Melting point? Flash point? How toxic is it? What is the best way to store it? What do you do if it is toxic and someone is accidentally exposed to it? Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Best Practices, Chemistry, Environment, Research Tools, Safety | 1 Comment

Watch Polar Bears, Live

About 900 polar bears gather at Cape Churchill in Manitoba every fall waiting for Hudson Bay to freeze over so they can begin their seal hunting season on the ice. (

“Not very many people will have opportunity to ever go see a polar bear in wild,” Wright said, so the polar bear cam is a way to connect the world to these charismatic animals “and hopefully intrigue people to want to learn more.” Continue reading…

Posted in Biology, Breaking News, Nature Study, Observation, Photography, Research Tools, Uncategorized, Wildlife | Leave a comment

DIY Titration Lab Ware

Titration is the process of determining the unknown concentration of a solution by adding a known amount of a solution with a known concentration. For example, in an acid-base titration, you can determine the unknown concentration of an acid in a solution by adding a base solution of known concentration. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Chemistry, Education, Experimentation, Measurement, Research Tools, Safety | Leave a comment

Apps That Turn Citizens into Scientists

Smartphones can automate data collection and incorporate many important data-gathering functions—such as capturing images, audio and text—into a single tool that can “stamp” the date, time and geographic coordinates associated with an observation. Continue reading…

Posted in Activism, Community, Environment, General Interest, Instrumentation, Measurement, Observation, Research Tools, Tools | Leave a comment

A New Approach to Publishing Scientific Data

We’ve covered the issue of access to scientific literature by non-professional, but a similar problem exists in the area of data. Now a new website, provides a potentially game-changing service. Continue reading…

Posted in Best Practices, Breaking News, Open Science, Publishing, Research Tools, Statistics | 1 Comment

A Review of MICA

I have been looking for a way to get accurate high resolution data of the sun angle below the horizon after sun set and before sun rise. The first place I go for this sort of information is the U.S. Naval Observatory web site. There I found that they have written a software application called MICA (Multiyear Interactive Computer Almanac). This application can … Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Astronomy, Instrumentation, Research Tools, Software | Leave a comment

The Citizen Scientist, Way Back When

Some of you may know that in the beginning, there was The Citizen Scientist, an electronic newsletter of the Society for Amateur Scientists. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Climate, DIY, Electricity, Electronics, Geology, Mathematics, Nature Study, Ornithology, Photography, Physics, Research Tools, Tips | 1 Comment