Friday, April 18, 2008

Scholarpedia

Anyone who teaches college students or has teenage children knows that the first place they go to for information is wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. I, too, find wikipedia useful. It is extraodinarily simple to search for information, and surprisingly accurate. But sometimes, for technical information, you may prefer a more authoritative source. Now you have it: Scholarpedia. Like wikipedia, Scholarpedia is online, free, and simple to use. The main difference with wikipedia is that in Scholarpedia articles are authored and maintained by experts and undergo peer review. Anyone can edit scholarpedia, but all changes must be approved by the "curator" (often the author) of the article, who is responsible for its content.

Scholarpedia is just getting started, so it is very incomplete. But one of the first categories added to Scholarpedia was Cardiac Dynamics. Dr. Vadim Biktashev of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Liverpool is the editor for this category, and has organized many fascinating articles related to this topic. Anyone studying Chapters 7-10 of the 4th edition of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology will find these Scholarpedia articles on cardiac dynamics to be a convenient online source of additional information. I am the author of an article on the Bidomain Model that describs the electrical properties of cardiac tissue (introduced on page 191 in our book). Other particularly good articles are Cardiac Arrhythmia by Flavio Fenton, Elizabeth Cherry and Leon Glass, Models of Cardiac Cell by Fenton and Cherry, and FitzHugh-Nagumo Model by Eugene Izhikevich and Richard FitzHugh. Another category of interest to readers of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology is Models of Neurons, with an article about Neuronal Cable Theory and a planned article about the Hodgkin-Huxley Model. Also, there are excellent articles on Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and many more topics. Take advantage of this excellent source to find more in-depth information on specific topics than Russ Hobbie and I could fit into our book.

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