As a science nerd, and as a science nerd with friends who are science teachers, I am always on the lookout for new and interesting ways to expose others to the beauty and wonder that is science and broaden their horizons in a concise, meaningful way.

I was bested today by aforementioned science teacher extraordinaire (and best friend) Maggie Nufer, who sent me a site that fulfills all criteria, and as a bonus is aesthetically pleasing (the site, I mean, but Maggie is too).

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Exploratorium

Exploratorium is a museum of science, art and human perception in San Francisco, but luckily the wonderful folks there felt it would be a service to the world if they created a beautiful, accessible online smorgasboard of science, art and human perception.

They have an incredible breadth and depth of multimedia information, including Explo.Tv, a roofcam, teacher tips, digital library, online activities, online exhibits, and so much more, including a button that says "Don't push this button" (but apparently 84,445 others have also disregarded that mandate. Yes, I'm four years old and will do what I want). There's even a "science of baseball" section for Hank, and other sports in the sports section (like hockey!) too.

Other fun activities include the molecular art of grilling, ensuring you wear a wig when robbing a bank, the bronx cheer bulb, and even a pickle lab!

To educate yourself or others, check out the aptly-named "educate" page, where you can learn about things like dissecting cow's eyes or sheep brains, and teachers have a universe of knowledge at their fingertips.

But one of the neatest parts of the site is one that's hard to find: Origins.

Origins of Science

The Origins section is a collection of Web sites where "you can explore the scientific life through interviews, live broadcasts, and photos that capture the often-unseen moments of investigation. We look over the scientists' shoulders, seeing what their eyes see and hearing their thoughts on the fascinating—and sometimes elusive—laws of nature. Our Web sites are rooted in the places where fundamental research happens. We visited 'observatories' – hubs of scientific research – located in a range of climates, from the frozen valleys of Antarctica to the teeming jungles of Belize."

There are two ways to explore this collection, according to the site. "You can visit each site, or follow the threads we created to tie them together: people, place, tools, and ideas. Whichever path you choose will reveal a larger picture of scientific research today, and the intellect and energy behind the great discoveries that fuel our understanding of the universe."

For example, I checked out Anarctica. I can view a Webcast of a live penguin, watch people tunnel through the ice, read field notes, and explore the many kinds of ice in Anarctica (you mean, other than just frozen water?).

In the tools section, I learned about AMANDA and the search for high-energy neutrinos nearly two miles under the ice, and how scientists use the five senses.

In people, I learned about the scientists who work and live in Anarctica  - I want the hat from the guy on the right!

Each section has its own feel - Antarctica's theme reflects the cold blue and white of ice and snow; Hubble's section echoes the vast dark emptiness of space. This site is a fascinating way to connect with scientists in the field, keep up to date on data (explained in a way that we can understand), and the visuals will definitely draw you in.