The Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules™ is a web-based focal point and resource for 3-D visualizations of molecules and minerals designed for instructional use. Please see the Fair Use guidelines.
or read About the Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules™.
Aug 2005 VMMM with Jmol
In the past 10 months, the entire Virtual Museum has been transferred into XML files for standardization of format and then has been recast using XLST as Jmol implementations instead of Chime. This should make these displays workable in Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, and Safari (--sorry, not Firefox...and to Chime, we bid a fond farewell, with our thanks for years of service.) Also in that time, we have worked closely with Jmol developers to add polyhedral representation to the package, which adds considerably to the conceptualization of the crystal structures in the VMMM. Please let us know what you think and help us find the many bits-and-pieces that no doubt still aren't quite right. (e-mail:Phillip Barak)
15 Jul 2005: 'The Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules: Molecular Visualization in a Virtual Hands-On Museum' by Phillip Barak and Edward A. Nater, was published in J. Nat. Resour. Life Sci. Educ. 34:67–71 (2005). Available on-line at www.jnrlse.org and in print format at year's end.
10 May 2005: Upcoming at the ASA/CSSA/SSSA annual meeting in Salt Lake City: "The New and Improved 'Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules', with Jmol", P. Barak, C.A. Stiles, E.A. Nater, and Michael 'Miguel' Howard, scheduled for Tuesday, 8 Nov 2005, at 3:15 PM.
26 Oct 2004: The VMMM is 'Site of the Week' at American Scientist On-Line! This online publication of Sigma Xi, a well-respected scientific research society, wrote:
Educators who despair of describing the three-dimensional structure of a mineral or organic molecule will rejoice to find this "virtual museum," in which anyone can pick up a plastocyanin protein and turn it over like a giant Tinkertoy model.
Created by soil scientists Phillip Barak of the University of Wisconsin and Ed Nater of the University of Minnesota, the gallery includes samples of everything from a simple graphite crystal to an enormous example of soil organic matter. These "displays" are gathered into standalone instructional modules that the site offers freely to educators...
In addition to the images themselves, each "display" includes a summary description of the mineral or molecule shown, as well as references for further study. Together they make a tremendously useful site for students, educators and anyone seeking a more intuitive understanding of the molecular world.
Sep 2004: Our proposal to 'preserve and enhance the Virtual Museum' has been funded by the USDA-Higher Education Challenge grant program! We intend to swiftly improve accessibility by moving off the browser plugin in favor of a newly emerging Java molecular visualization applet, Jmol. This redeployment will begin silently by rewriting, testing, and then replacing existing Chime-based displays with Jmol-based code, without changing location, look, or feel of the Virtual Museum. We will also move toward an expanded collection, animations, and stereoscopic 3D displays. Can we do it? You betcha. Have a look at our 'Chime-free' version of EDDHA. And read about our 3D stereoscopic work.
Welcome to our new curator, Dr. Cynthia Stiles! Stiles, Barak and Nater will have a poster presentation entitled 'The Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules – An educational resource for the twenty-first century' at the Denver meeting of the Geological Society of America, 8 Nov 2004.
Old (Nov 2003) News:We, the curators, note with pleasure that on 8 October 2003, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced award of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Roderick MacKinnon "for structural and mechanistic studies of ion channels", specifically the potassium channel, and Peter Agre, "for the discovery of water channels", specifically aquaporin. In both cases, the VMMM posted 3D displays of these transmembrane proteins within several months of original publication (1998 and 2000, respectively) and have since disseminated these interactive structure/function models to many thousands of visitors--quite a testimonial to the virtues of web-based publication in keeping materials current.
Older (Oct) News: Many thanks to Schoolzone, the major UK contractor to evaluate digital learning resources (including websites and software) for the Government's Curriculum Online portal, for its "Highly Recommended" rating of the Virtual Museum. (See icon on left margin). Also, thanks to PSIgate, the physical sciences information gateway of the UK Resource Discovery Network (RDN), which 'provides access to high-quality Internet resources in the following subject areas: astronomy, chemistry, earth sciences, materials science, physics and the history and policy of science' for recognizing the Virtual Museum as such.
Older (Sept 2003) News: We note with pleasure having the Virtual Museum recognized by the Editors of Scientific American as one of the top 50 Websites of 2003 from the (follow sciam.com link on logo at left).
We ask that those who may use this Virtual Museum for instructional purposes consider filling out the on-line Instructors' Evaluation Form. And, we enjoy receiving the occasional e-mail message now and again...
- - -The Curators
Mirror sites at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (http://www.soils.wisc.edu/virtual_museum/) and the University of Minnesota-TC (http://www.soils.umn.edu/virtual_museum/).
As with most relatively complex projects, we are greatly indebted to others. Some of the data sources and tools we have used can be reached via these links.