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.
This enormous number is more conveniently written 6.022 x 1023, indicating that there are 23 digits to the right of the numeral 6. A mole is a measure of quantity. One mole of objects is Avogadro's number of those objects; one mole of eggs is 6.022 x 1023 eggs. The idea of a mole is similar to that of a dozen, which is also a measure of quantity; one dozen eggs is 12 eggs. Eggs are sold by the dozen, because 12 eggs is a convenient quantity to have in your refrigerator at one time. One mole is also a convenient quantity for certain objects, but those objects must be much smaller than eggs.
We and the world around us are made of units, too small to be seen, called atoms, which in turn may be connected into molecules. The mole turns out to be a convenient quantity of atoms or molecules, because the objects around us that are big enough to see or touch contain approximately one mole of atoms or molecules. Chemists use the idea of the mole to figure out how many atoms or molecules are contained within a certain mass of material. For example, water is composed of molecules with the chemical formula H2O, indicating that each molecule contains 2 atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. An 8 ounce glass of water contains approximately 13 moles of water molecules. For comparison, 13 moles of sand grains would cover all fifty United States to a depth of more than 40 feet. Here's a question for you. If you took a mole of pennies and stacked them into a single column, how many miles high would it reach?
- Does the moon have lithospheric plates? Do other planets have distinct layers such as the inner core, outer core, and mantle, like the earth does?
- What are electromagnets and what metals are included?
- How do people know how to make electricity?
- Recycled metal looks like the same color as non-recycled metal. When soda cans are recycled, what happened to the paint or dye that was on top of the aluminum?
- My instructor told me that the wavelength of laser light is determined by the distance between the mirrors in the laser device. I say he is not correct, it is the nature of the lasing medium itself as the molecules that make it up emit characteristic wavelenghts when excited. Which of us is correct?
- How do relaxers on your hair work?
- How does a glow-stick work and how come neon glows?
- How do CDs Work?
- Why is plasma classified as a phase? What is its chemical make-up? How was it discovered?
- How is glass made?