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.
Energy from the wind is transferred to a quiescent water surface through friction and pressure changes, generating small ripples on the surface. These ripples are very short, both in height and length, less than about a centimeter. Once these tiny waves have formed, they begin to interact and, through a wonderful but complex process, energy is transferred to form longer and taller waves. As the waves grow, the wind begins to push directly on the windward side of the wave, transferring even more energy. If the wind blows for long enough these taller waves may gain enough energy to "white-cap" or break, spilling energy back into the wave system. For conditions of sustained high winds over a large area of water, enough energy will be transferred to generate "swells." Swells escape from the wind that generated them and travel great distances, since longer waves have higher speed.
In studying how wind affects waves scientists have identified three important factors: the speed of the wind itself, the length of time the wind blows, and the "fetch," which is the size of the area over which the wind blows. Surfers relish waves created by distant windy storms because the shorter wavelengths (called "chop") are left behind. And so, on a windless day at the beach, surfers can enjoy a perfect wave created by winds that were blowing thousands of kilometers away.
- Can particle accelerators accurately simulate conditions that occured during the Big Bang?
- Now that we are all recycling, what are some of the products that are made from recycled materials that we should be buying to complete the cycle?
- What are MEMS and why are they an important scientific break through?
- If solids, like glass and ice, are made of tightly packed molecules, how can we see through them?
- What is the difference between fuels (Diesel, unleaded, etc.)?
- What is the lowest temperature possible?
- What happens to a hydrogen atom after it has come in contact with a flame - I know it "pops" but what happens to the actual atom - does it remain as a hydrogen atom? Does it form a new atom or compund or is it annihilated?
- What is Jupiter made of?
- Why do baseball bats sting you when you hit a baseball?
- When hydrogen explodes and combines with oxygen, where does the energy that is released in the explosion come from?