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November 01, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 19)

Science 360 (National Science Foundation)

  • Beautiful user interface
  • Unclear if images/videos are ever updated
Platform: iPad  
Cost: Free

The best way to describe this app from the National Science Foundation is to call it a scientific grab bag. The user interface is visually stunning—you find yourself in what appears to be a globe whose walls are covered in images and video clips. Scrolling in all directions, one would think that the images are never-ending (even though past a certain point the image panel repeats itself). The purpose of the app is really random exploration—the images and video clips are incredibly diverse, from insects to rockets, to chemistry, to ecology. Tapping on an image sends you to a full-screen image with an accompanying description. From that screen, images can be easily saved or shared via Twitter, Facebook, or email. This is an app that provides you with plenty to investigate, and is best used when you don’t know what you’re looking for.

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