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.
Each motor neuron connects to just one muscle, say the bicep on the front of your upper arm that lifts your forearm, or to the triceps, the one on the back that extends your forearm. But when you move, you never think, "I'd like to contract my bicep two inches and relax my tricep two inches" -- instead you think, "I'd like to put this cake in my mouth!" How does the brain translate from the general idea to lift something to your mouth to specific commands to muscles? It does it in stages. In the cerebral cortex, the commands in the neurons there represent coordinated movements - like pick up the cake, hit the ball, salute. The cortex then connects to a sort of console in the spinal cord that overlays the motor neurons. This console lays out arm position in space, up-down, left-right. Each desired arm position then is read out as a collection of specific commands to each motor neuron and muscle.
- What is the most common type of blood?
- Can humans ever see in the dark with no night vision glasses or other aids?
- Does every one in the world have cancer cells in their body?
- Why are eyeballs wet?
- Why do men grow hair on their face, while most women don't?
- How do we get cavities from candy and why do our teeth turn gray/blackish?
- Why does squinting help people with vision problems see better?
- How come we have two eyes but see only one of everything?
- Why can't we hold our breath like the whales?
- Why do babies get their parents features?