Cerrah (11) asks What is electrical energy?

Thank you for your question Cerrah. One of my team came up with the following thoughts.

Here are some quick thoughts on those questions. Firstly all materials are made of atoms and all atoms contain electrons. In some materials some of the electrons can be made to leave their atom and move to other atoms. This is what happens in metals. In metals an outermost electron can be persuaded to move from one metal atom to another. This can sometimes be by heating the atom, another way it attaching the metal to a battery. More later.

A little extra …….when an electron leaves an atom for the next atom this is followed by the atom that received the electron losing one of its own to the next atom ….eventually this line of moving elections meets a  piece of wire which is different, it is usually thinner or  made of a different metal which is more difficult for the electrons to move through …..the difficult movement causes a lot of heat…..the wire heats up and begins to glow ….. light is formed. Electrical energy is converted to light energy. Hope this helps.

Dana(13) asks about the ‘carrying capacity’ of wolves

Dana was given the following information

Year wolves
2003 10
2004 20
2005 30
2006 15
2007 10
2008 11

A question which must come to most people (including me) is what is  ‘Carrying Capacity”.  A quick investigation indicates that this means the capacity of an environment to support a number of species.  Using the data above suggests that in 2004 an environment could support 20 wolves BUT  in the year 2007 something had happened to the environment and it could only support 10 wolves. Why?

The ‘Why’ introduces lots of questions.  Did the environment get smaller? Wolves survive on hunting smaller animals …did they find somewhere else to live? Was there a drought  in the environment which caused the smaller animals to decline in numbers?

To really find an answer to this question you need to find a lot about wolves, their diet, the, effects of weather on them, wolf predators, and others.

I hope this helps……to find the answer you will need to supply more information.

 

Piper Astra (10) asks Why do we have to die ?

Thank you for your question Piper. I shall ask my friends to contribute later.

Humans and animals die because our bodies stop reproducing cells – cells are the building blocks of our body. Amazingly about 40 billion of them die every day…and our body replaces them. However as we get older the replacement process is reduced and eventually it stops, so we die.

However for trees this does not happen, the replacement process continues and the tree keeps on living. Some trees that you might see around you are hundreds of years old.

These are my early thoughts on your interesting question. My friends will add to this when they are ready.

Hugo (7) asked – “Is the world magnetic?”

Hugo, a great question. I think the world is magnetic but I am not sure how we can find out if it is. Let me ask my friends. They should be able to give me an answer in a few hours time. I think it is something to do with compasses.

Hugo, I think you will need some equipment ……. a small bar magnet and a square of polystyrene or woo. This will mean that you can float the magnet on some water.

 

Clara (7) asked – How are all sorts of jewels made?

Clara, thank you for your question. I will ask you a question “What do you think jewels are made of?”  this would help in deciding how jewels are made.

Are jewels made from hard or soft things? Are jewels made of metal or some other material?

Wow…I used the word “material”. What do you think that means?

Material is a word to describe what things are made of. We recognise a material by its properties. Is it hard, soft, bendy, runny, smelly, strong, brittle?

I asked a friend about your question. Here are her thoughts.

Thanks for that.

Clara, it might be difficult for you to examine the properties of the diamond. It is made from a material that is very, very hard. Maybe you could investigate its hardness ….how do you think you could do that?

Is the diamond held in a metal. There are lots of different metals all of which have different properties. Can you find some metals that are different from the metal that the diamond might be held in.

Let me know in the comment box below.

Jose (10) asks –What is Plasma?

Jose, thanks for your question. I gave it to my team. Here is their answer…..

 

Thanks team, I liked your answer. Jose…can you understand. A gas, solid or liquid consists of small particles called molecules. A drop of water contains thousands of water molecules. Each molecule consists of two Hydrogen atoms and one Oxygen atom. Each atom consists of a core of a number of positively charged particles called ‘protons‘ which are surrounded by an equal number of negatively charged particles called ‘electrons‘. If we manage to remove an electron from the water molecule …it leaves the water molecule with one less negatively charged electron so it becomes positively charged. It forms a Plasma.

Cheyanne (11) asked “What is the total charge of 7 electrons”

Cheyanne

I am a little confused  by your question. I asked my team for an answer……and here it was

 

Thanks team. I would like to add a little bit more to your answer

Firstly the electron is a very, very small particle, it has a radius of 0nly 2.8×1015 m.   It is very, very small. That is an unimaginable small size.  Associated with this very small particle is an actual , very small electrical charge of about  1.6x 1019 volt (V).

So in reality when you are talking about the total charge of seven electrons you are only talking about  7 x 1.6x 1019 volt (V).

Sorry for this answer. I think it complicates things …stick to what my team member says. In reality when you are talking about the charges on seven electrons as 7- you are talking about the total charge that about  7 x 1.6 x 1019 electrons will give you .

Dhanashree (13) asks “Why is sound a longitudinal wave?”

Dhanashree, thank you for the question. I asked my team about the question and they arrived at the following answer….which I was not happy with …….

There are two types of ways in which waves manage to travel ……. Longitudinal and Transverse. I can see the way the waves they develop BUT need time to think about how to explain them. Longitudinal waves travel along straight lines away from the source …  I am trying to understand how the particles associated with the travelling disturbance (sound) travel in each of these ways.

How do the particles of air (in longitudinal movement) make further particles of air move in the same way…if they are doing forward and back vibrations? The vibrating air particles (or particles of any gas) must be moving forwards as well as moving back and …thus moving the wave forward.

So …to answer your question …..sound is created by things vibrating, the drum skin vibrates, up and down when it is hit…….the air above the drum skin follows this vibration, and the air next to the vibrating air , starts to vibrate and so on. This is your longitudinal vibration.

With Transverse vibrations the particles move up and down. Like waves …which stay in the same place.  More thinking about this later.

Sam (13) asked “What are the building blocks of cells? And does it vary for each cell?”

Up-dated  24/10/2019

Thank you for your question Sam. As usual I put it to a member of my team. Lets see what they say and then, maybe, I can add to it.

Thank you for that team. Cells are obviously very, very important. We, and all, living things are all made up of them. But what about the cells themselves …what are they made of ? A little research shows that all cells contain  proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. Let’s look at the role of each of these groups of compounds.

Proteins are all important (they are made of things called amino acids BUT enough of that). Proteins have important roles in cells. They provide the cell with energy, they fight infections they help move other components  around the cell.

Lipids are basically fats and therefore are a source of energy. The proteins will access the lipids to help them in their tasks and the Carbohydrates are another source of energy

Nucleic acids are better known as amino acids that make up  RNA and DNA structures. These are probably the most important, ………no I am wrong, the nucleic acid component of the cell needs all the other components to survive. They will not last long if left alone. The nucleic acids are the messengers of the cells. In simple terms they have, in their structure , the message that enables the construction of a living thing (animal, plant) from the activity of the rest of the cell. You could say they are the managers.

A little addition ……. what is an amino acid? Firstly as an acid it contains the -COOH group of atoms. CH3COOH is a familiar acid

Shown here in its structural form

known as acetic acid (vinegar).

Amino acids basically contain NH2 groups instead of CH3 . One of the simplest is glycine.

Proteins also (in some cases) act as catalysts (something that enables a reaction to occur. In these situations they are called enzymes.

I really hope this is helpful. Thanks for the question.

Maya (10) asks “Neutrons, electrons and protons. What are they? Are they parts of an atom? Am I right?”

Maya, you are right. Neutrons, electrons and protons are all parts of an atom.
When do you think these were discovered? Let me show you the timescale

In 1808 a teacher and scientist called John Dalton discovered the atom.
In 1897 the electron was discovered by a scientist called J.J.Thomson
in 1911 the proton was discovered by a scientist called Rutherford
In 1932 Earnest Chadwick discovered the neutron

All this happened in 124 years! and the final bit ‘the electron’ was only discovered 87 years ago and you are now learning about it. I shall let my friends tell you a little bit about these particles.