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.
In addition, carbon dioxide can be converted into another phase called a supercritical fluid (SCF) at temperatures above 30°C and pressures above 73 atmospheres. In this form carbon dioxide has several special properties. In some ways it resembles a liquid while in others it behaves like a gas. It can dissolve other materials with the efficiency of a liquid but flows as easily as a gas. These properties have led to the use of supercritical carbon dioxide for the extraction of many substances from foods, such as caffeine from coffee or nicotine from tobacco as well as others. The use of supercritical carbon dioxide in this way eliminates potentially harmful residue from the food, as occurred with the use of previous solvents. In addition, it promotes more efficient removal of the material of interest (because SCFs can penetrate the food more completely). Finally, its use results in easier recovery of the material extracted because carbon dioxide can be converted back into a gas just by changing the pressure, leaving the extracted material behind.
- If fire needs air to breathe and the sun is a ball of fire, how does the sun stay lit if there is no air in space?
- What is spontaneous combustion? Is it a myth? What causes it?
- Why do solar cells produce more electricity in low temperatures?
- How do CDs Work?
- What are MEMS and why are they an important scientific break through?
- Why does a nuclear bomb create so much energy with such a small amount of mass? Why is there so much nuclear fallout with such a small amount of nuclear material in the bomb?
- When a water surface reflects something (when looking from the top), does it undergo total internal reflection?
- Is it possible to use electrolysis or another method to separate NaCl into sodium and free floating chlorine gas?
- How does energy that is released as heat get reused?
- Our textbook tells us the speed of the molecules that make up the air we breathe, but the speed it gives us is faster than the speed of sound. Why don't we hear sonic booms as when an airplane breaks the sound barrier? Are the particles just too small for us to hear the booms?