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.
It starts with an artist (usually experienced in drawing cartoons) and a game strategist (usually experienced in some form of psychology or anthropology) to define the presentation, and strategy. Sometimes, experts in statistics will be called to determine if the difficulty level is appropriate for the target group.
A programmer will then implement the software code in a game-development system that have many supports on graphics and state transitions (how one scene leads to another). If the program runs on PC or PS/2, we are almost set. Just testing and CD/DVD burning will be sufficient.
If this if for a Game Boy, an arcade station or a specific machine, the program is then compiled to a digital-circuit diagram that corresponds to the software specification. If the timing or size of the digital circuits does not meet the requirement, digital circuit designer will come to optimize the circuits. The circuit design is sent to integrated-circuit foundry (big manufacturing site), which will produce the computer chip. Finally it comes to the testing and unit packaging.
The computer game development, like many other full systems such as a car or digital camera, involves many expertises. It is the team effort that will determine if the game is a hit on the market.
- How does sonar work?
- Does temperature effect the speed of light?
- How can a black hole suck things up if it doesn't really occupy any space? How do we know that space doesn't just end?
- 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?
- How hot is it at the earth's core? Does the heat affect our temperature?
- How does energy that is released as heat get reused?
- If there is a flash of light inside of a cube, whose walls are all mirrors on the inside will the light keep reflecting off of every wall infinitely? Or will it just go away? What will happen?
- Why does oil float above water?
- When diamonds are put under a black light why do some glow and some don't? Do the real ones glow or is it the fake ones that glow, or are they all real and glow differently because of things like quality clairty, shape, cut, or things like that?
- Can we ever make nuclear powered cars in the future?