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.
Pores (called stomata) on the leaves, which are too small to see with the naked eye, enable carbon dioxide to enter the leaves, where it is used to make sugars by the process of photosynthesis. These pores also allow water vapor to escape (a process referred to as transpiration) so that plants need a continual water supply. Woody twigs also contain pores called lenticels, which look like brown dots on the surface of the young twigs. These enable oxygen to get into the inner tissues for respiration.
Tiny spores, or stomata, in the surface layer of a leaf (magnified about 1000 times).
A vertical section through a bud (yes, it's a Boston lettuce!)
This series of photos (left to right, top to bottom) shows the buds at the tip of a branch of a Horse Chesnut tree (Aesculius hippocastanum) as they open in spring.
- How do minerals and nutrients form? Why do some foods have metals in them?
- Why do deer lose their rack in the winter?
- What exactly is radiation and why is it harmful? What can it do to you? How is it made?
- How exactly are nocturnal animals able to see in the dark?
- What was the biggest shark that scientsts found in the ocean?
- I would like to know why is it that most people like to finish off a meal with something sweet? Or is it just natural to balance savory and sweet? If so, why not the other way around? Is it purely from the gastronomic angle or that's the way our senses and palate are built?
- We've heard that bats can glide but not soar, and we've also heard that they can't glide or soar... only fly by flapping. Can you clear this up for us? (We're asking because, in the summertime when we look up, we're not always sure whether we're seeing are swallows or bats at dusk, and this would help.)
- Why do chinese water deer have canine teeth?
- If someone would dig a huge hole and fill it in with water so that it was a lake, in 1,000 years would the lake have fish in it?
- I heard that peppermint candy will help you do better on a test. Is this true? And, is there anything in peppermint candy that will boost my scores?