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.
UV-light is very, very violet. Actually it is so violet that you can't see it, but you can get a sunburn from it. So on its own UV-light wouldn't make a useful lamp: that's why there is a phosphorous substance in the inside of the glass tube. When UV-light hits the phosphor atoms, they absorb the UV light and send out the white light that illuminates your room. The conversion of light from one type to another is called fluorescence, which gave the fluorescent lamp its name.
Fluorescent lights conserve energy. For the same amount of light they need less power than usual light bulbs. By the way, the funny shaped light bulbs made of bent glass tubes in the supermarket are actually fluorescent lamps. Please don't play and break fluorescent lamps: they contain chemicals that are poisonous. When disposing of a fluorescent lamp, you should call the Recycling Center!
- How are crystals formed?
- Why do solar cells produce more electricity in low temperatures?
- Why does a nuclear bomb create so much energy with such a small amount of mass? Why is there so much nuclear fallout with such a small amount of nuclear material in the bomb?
- How do speakers produce more than one sound at a time (example: guitar and vocal)?
- If the electrons are attracted to the protons, why don't they come crashing into the nucleus?
- How does gravity work?
- When a water surface reflects something (when looking from the top), does it undergo total internal reflection?
- Why is it you can see lightning as it goes through the air, but not a laser beam?
- What is in batteries that causes electricity?
- How do you jam a radio broadcast?