Archives of Ask A Scientist!
About "Ask A Scientist!"
On September 17th, 1998 the Ithaca Journal ran its first "Ask A Scientist!" article in which Professor Neil Ashcroft , who was then the director of CCMR, answered the question "What is Jupiter made of?" Since then, we have received over 1,000 questions from students and adults from all over the world. Select questions are answered weekly and published in the Ithaca Journal and on our web site. "Ask A Scientist!" reaches more than 21,000 Central New York residents through the Ithaca Journal and countless others around the world throught the "Ask a Scientist!" web site.
Across disciplines and across the state, from Nobel Prize winning scientist David Lee to notable science education advocate Bill Nye, researchers and scientists have been called on to respond to these questions. For more than seven years, kids - and a few adults - have been submitting their queries to find out the answer to life's everyday questions.
Now, do cats' eyes glow in the dark? No they don't. Cats and dogs have some cells behind the retina that act like a mirror. These cells are found in a part of the eye called the tapetum. This mirror reflects light back, giving the rods and cones a second chance to pick up the small amount of light available at night. It is this tapetum that makes cats' and dogs' eyes seem to glow in the dark.
Humans don't have a tapetum. You may have noticed that if you use flash to take a photo, humans tend to look like they have red eyes. This is because there is a reflection of the red blood vessels behind our retinas. If you took a flash picture of your dog, you might see yellow or orange eyes instead. This is a reflection of the light of the flash by the dog's tapetum.
- My dad just got some new tennis shoes with that reflective stuff on them. What is the difference between those reflective stickers and the glow in the dark stars over my bed?
- Why does oil float above water?
- Why do we get a shock from electricity?
- Why is the sky blue?
- How do minerals and nutrients form? Why do some foods have metals in them?
- Can you please tell me what exactly nanobiotechnology is. Also, does it have a future? Or will it greatly effect the future and will nanobiotechnology be one of the leading areas of research?
- How are crystals formed?
- If you take a substance like water and were able to get it to absolute zero, where supposedly the molecules would cease to move, and then you reheated it, would the molecules recover and start to move again?
- How do you jam a radio broadcast?
- Why do coals appear 'red hot' in a fire and is this the hottest spot in a fire?