June 5, 2003 — An Internet web site operated by the University of Utah’s Genetic Science Learning Center has been honored by Scientific American magazine online as one of the top 50 science and technology web sites, and as one of the top five biology web sites.
“We’re here to help people understand how bioscience research affects their lives, and this type of recognition is a sign that we’re making progress,” said Jennifer Logan, the center’s co-director. “Our success is also a credit to the talented Utah science teachers who help us develop website content, to the University of Utah, and to the researchers here who provide the inspiration for what we do.”
Geneticist Ray Gesteland, the university’s vice president for research, called the honor “spectacular. It shows that these folks are real professionals at genetics education, making it fun and interesting.”
ScientificAmerican.com announced its Sci-Tech Web Awards 2003 on May 27, including five web sites in each of 10 categories, for a total of 50 sites. The magazine’s online edition described the Genetic Science Learning Center web site – located at http://gslc.genetics.utah.edu – as follows:
“Everything you ever wanted to know about chromosomes, mutations and biowarfare, and even a few things you didn’t! If your Bio 101’s a little rusty, have no fear – the University of Utah’s got you covered with more than enough info to transform you into a budding Watson or Crick in no time. To start, brush up on genetic basics through their Flash-technology-enhanced interactive tour. The site’s crowning jewel? ‘Click and Clone,’ wherein you, via the wonders of animation, actually replicate your own mouse.”
The honor means that ScientificAmerican.com considers the Genetic Science Learning Center site as among “50 of the best Web resources for those seeking information on science and technology.” This is the third year the awards were issued by the magazine’s online edition. The magazine said it editors “reviewed over a thousand web sites and selected the 50 they deemed the most valuable science and technology resources.”
Logan says: “Science on the net can be fun. Our site moves, it makes noise, and you might even find out something useful while you’re there.”
The Genetic Science Learning Center web site receives over 40,000 visits per week during the academic year, with visitors from more than 100 nations.
University of Utah employees responsible for building the web site are Logan; web developer Kevin Pompei; scientific illustrator and animator Harmony Starr; postdoctoral fellow Mel Limson; education specialist Molly Malone; Learning Center co-director Louisa Stark; and program assistant Sharon Elliott.
The web site, which is open to free public access, is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, along with start-up support from the R. Harold Burton Foundation in Utah.