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.
A few animals have infrared "vision", which works by detecting heat. Heat produces infrared radiation, which is invisible to the human eye. In some snakes (for example, rattle snakes, that hunt mainly at night), this infrared vision is well developed. This vision only works when there is a temperature difference between objects, say between a warm blooded rodent and the background.
Night vision goggles allow to us see the infrared radiation with reasonable clarity, if there is a temperature difference between objects, but the sharpness of the view is not as high as with our usual daylight vision.
Infrared radiation and visible light are all part of the electromagnetic spectrum. They are waves of different frequency. Radio waves, microwaves, infrared and visible radiation, ultraviolet rays (which give sun burns) and X-rays are all part of that spectrum - each at different frequencies. These waves interact with matter (including us) in different ways depending on their frequencies.
- Is a horse's leg bone bigger than a human leg bone? If so, when a horse's bone breaks why is it so much harder to heal?
- What is it about the human eye that limits the types of wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum that can be seen as visible light? Why are other animals capable of interpreting infrared waves as well?
- Does every one in the world have cancer cells in their body?
- Why are eyeballs wet?
- How do eye glasses improve a persons sight?
- Why don't you see two things if you have two eyes?
- Why do men grow hair on their face, while most women don't?
- Why do people get seasick or carsick?
- Why can't we hold our breath like the whales?
- Why are cats so flexible?