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.
If you took a cellular phone on the space shuttle you would be a very long distance from the nearest radio tower and the signal would be too weak to connect to. The astronauts on a space shuttle have a very powerful transmitter to talk with earth. If the space shuttle went deeper into space, they would have to transmit using an even more powerful transmitter and the controllers on earth would have to use very sensitive receivers.
When trying to communicate into space, radio waves take time to travel the very large distances. The sun seems very close compared to all other stars, but it still takes more than 8 minutes for a radio wave to travel from the sun to earth. So, if you asked someone near the sun a question, it would take almost twenty minutes to get an answer! To get an answer from someone who was at Alpha Centauri, which is the next nearest star, it would take almost ten years! Scientists have been able to hear very faint radio signals that have been traveling from the edge of the universe for more than 10 billion years, but it is hard to imagine trying to have a conversation with anyone beyond our solar system.
- How do computers communicate with Chinese characters?
- How does a copy machine work?
- How does the CCD work in a digital camera?
- How can electricity run things?
- What is the history of coding?
- What are computers going to look like in the future?
- Is the Mars Rover powered solely by solar power? How long will the solar panels be able to power the rover?
- Have nanobots already been created? What are nanobots made out of? Are they decomposable or will they just build up? What do they use for a power source?
- What is nanotechnology?
- What is nanotechnology used for? Why do scientists study it?