So school's out for the summer. What's a science geek to do? Launch bottle rockets outside and check the trajectory? Wait patiently for the next eclipse to study? Or perhaps even catch up on reruns of "The Big Bang Theory?" Actually, we have a better idea. Seven, in fact, and all you need is your iPad to take advantage of them. Put down your science textbook and check out our favorite science Apps.
"Popular Science + for iPad" (Bonnier Corporation, $4.99)
There's no question that if you have any sort of fascination that revolves around science, you should have a subscription to "Popular Science " magazine. It carries everything that's at the forefront of technology, from a gun that sees around corners to goggles that somehow never fog up. (Wanna read how? Check out the latest issue!) Although the magazines themselves run about the same price as newsstand copies (subscriptions aren't yet available), you get some tremendous value for your buck. A number of articles come in each digital issue, with huge, high-resolution layouts and plenty of fascinating stories, all of which are easy on the eyes. One issue and you'll be hooked.
"The Elements: A Visual Exploration" (Element Collection, $13.99)
Although a bit costly ($13.99) and with a hefty file size (it goes a whopping 1.74 GB), "The Elements: A Visual Exploration" covers every facet of elements that you could possibly think of. No, seriously. There's enough here to keep you busy all summer. "The Elements" enables you to explore each specific element using beautifully captured digital images. From there, you can explore further, studying facts and figures through a carefully compiled WolframAlpha knowledge engine. You can even spin objects, so you can get a view of every side of the element for study. This is definitely a euphoric program for those of you who can't get enough looking into the very fabric of elemental creativity. Just make sure you don't wear out your iPad spinning everything around.
"Science Glossary" (Visionlearning Inc., free)
Let's say you want a break down of scientific terms without taking a huge chunk out of your wallet and iPad virtual space. "Science Glossary" is the best way to go. Using data compiled by Visionlearning Inc., this App features an extensive library of scientific terms, so you can look up what a cytoplasm is without having to refer to your brainy college professor. In addition, "Glossary" also contains short biographies of those who contributed heavily to the field of science, such as Charles Darwin and Marie Curie. It's a cinch finding what terms and names you need to look up, thanks to an alphabetical system. This is a perfect App for those of you who need to brush up on your scientific terminology. Don't worry about being rusty, it happens to the best of us. Even Einstein had off days.
"OnScreen DNA Lite" (OnScreen Science, $4.99)
Now, if you REALLY want to get nerdy for a while, you'll want to check out "OnScreen DNA Lite." As the title (and the above screen) suggests, this is all about studying DNA strands from a number of angles, breaking down how certain structures come together and what makes them tick. You can rotate them any way you please, studying individual parts and finding how they chain into the double helix and other types of DNA strands. Granted, some of you who aren't so scientifically savvy may have no idea what this program's about, but if you're really into digging deep, "OnScreen DNA Lite" lets you do exactly that.
"MythBusters iPad Edition" (Discovery Communications, $4.99)
Do you love "MythBusters?" We sure do. It's a great show on the Discovery Channel that breaks down myths in the best scientific manner possible. Plus, it's a lot of fun to watch. Now you can take the thrill of "MythBusters" with you wherever you want with his handy app. You can watch video clips, check out the latest "MythBusters" news (including when new episodes are going to air) and test your skills with three implemented mini-games: Matchstick Cannon, Seesaw Saga and Soda Bomb. This program also contains exclusive content, including outtakes, cult favorites and High Speed clips, in case you need to get your Myth bustin' on in a hurry. This is one app that definitely makes the grade. Even non-science fans won't want to miss it.
"iLab: Timer HD" (Tyler Ray, $1.99)
Here's another one for the true science fanatics. "iLab: Timer HD" is a program specifically built as a physical laboratory timer. How you use that timer is completely up to you. You can set up multiple timers (up to ten) in landscape view, leave specific notes on what to do with the setting of each timer (as pictured above) or set up custom alert sounds, so you'll know which of your timers go off. It can count upward or downward, and you can keep track of how time flows very conveniently. The only downside to this program is that it saps up a lot of the iPad's power, so you'll want to make sure you have your charger nearby. If time isn't quite on your side, "Timer HD" will help make it so.
"Solaro" (Castle Rock Research, free)
Last but not least, we have "Solaro", an educational program that's ideal for young students going from grades 6 through 12. "Solaro" will teach you lessons and facts in a number of categories, occasionally stopping to quiz you to see what you've learned. This is a great App, one that moves along at a casual pace so you never feel like your brain is overflowing with information. You can also access the "Solaro" website when you're online to access specific subjects and details in case you feel like you've missed something. You will need to register with the "Solaro" service, but fortunately, it's free of charge. If you can't get enough of school, check in with "Solaro."