“How do your eyes work?” asks Jeff (11)

Jeff

I have tried to make the image below to show you how it works. The eye is complex and is made of lots of different things. For example it has it’s own sets of muscles which can stretch the lens and allow your eye to move. It is filled with a special fluid that allows light to pass through it and gives the whole eyeball a very ‘squashy’ feeling. It is also connected to the brain by something which we call the optic nerve. The optic nerve transfers the electrical signal created by the image to the brain.

You also have two eyes and one of them is more dominant than the other.

Try this little experiment.
Look at an object in the room and then hold a finger out in front of both of both of your eyes and look at the same object. Then close one eye while looking at the object, then open the closed eye and close the open eye. What happens to the object that you are looking at? For one of your eyes the object that you looked at did not move.That is the dominant eye.

Jeff you can make a comment or ask another question.

(Anyone reading this post who wants to ask a question or make a comment please feel free to do so)

Andrew (11) asks “How do you make plasma?”

Andrew, quite an ‘exciting’ question. To find out how we make plasma lets look first at atoms and their structure. My team will do this and then I will come back to talk about plasma.

Andrew. I will be talking about a Neon atom. The Neon atom has 4 protons in its nucleus with 4 electrons orbiting it. Does that give you a clue to my plasma source?

The most familiar plasma sources that you might come across are Neon light tubes and lightning.

Firstly let us look at what plasma is. It is defined as a hot ionised gas which has an equal number of protons and electrons existing in the same space. Lets look at a neon light tube.

In the tube the Neon atoms lose electrons to the positive electrode, the remaining  Neon positively charged atoms (they have lost an electron) are attracted to the negative electrode. Lots of exchanges of electrons take place during this process and this ‘excites’ the electrons and creates the  plasma environment which gives of energy in terms of light.

Really hope that this helps. Please tell me if you do not understand bits of it or ask another question.

(Anyone reading this post who wants to ask a question or make a comment please feel free to do so)

 

Edited 11/10/2017 Pictorial representation in image changed to ‘drawing’. Text size on image changed.

“How many particles are there in the Earth?” asks Ravindra (11)

Wow what a difficult question. I will ask my friends to try and answer this question.

A ‘particle’ is a tiny bit of something. So Ravinder, well done, you have asked a question that I or my friends cannot answer. Try and ask some more.

Any reader can ask another question or leave a Comment in the Leave a Reply box below

 

“What is the difference between speed and velocity” asks Sayed(11)

Absolutely right my friends. The two cars have the same speed but they are going in the opposite direction so their velocities are different.

An interesting example of the difference between
speed and velocity is when you look at an object moving at a certain speed in a circle. The speed is constant BUT the velocity is constantly changing as the object moves around the circle, see V1 and V2. The velocity at 1 is drawn as a line (representing the speed) pointing in the direction V1. This is a ‘vector’.

Sayed – this site is mainly directed at 8-13 yr olds so the answer above is very ‘general’. I have published it because younger readers might be interested in the difference between the two terms …for more information visit this site.

 

 

 

“Why doesn’t America use the metric system?” was Dekekisha’s (11) question.

Dekekisha, what a question.  Something that I have always asked myself when I have been converting Centigrade readings to Fahrenheit so that I could understand the weather. Friends, help me.

It is one of those occasions when I agree with you. As long as we all know and understand the different measurement systems and can confidently convert one to another.

Disagree, then let me know by clicking on the Reply button below. Thank you team.

Marcus(11) asks – ‘How do tsunamis form?’

tsunami

They seem to have left me to finish off.

You could try to create your own Tsunami. In a tank of water drop a pebble and look at the small waves that are created. Then (in an area where water on the floor is not a problem), drop a brick into the tank and look at what that creates. This movement of water becomes larger when the wave reaches the shallow areas (beaches) of the surrounding area. It gets bigger, faster and more powerful. Look at the excellent video below.

Sheereen asks – “Where do the items that a black hole suck up, go to?”

Sheereen, I was always told that a Black Hole was a place where my money or lost items apparently disappeared without trace. But I think your question deserves a different answer. I asked my friends about it. I shall also ask them to avoid science fiction stories where Black Holes seem to be used in a variety of stories. Do Black Holes really exist I might ask?

blackhole

My friends are right. The denser (more compact) the mass (think about mass and weight) of an object the greater its gravitational pull. So when the Sun collapses into itself you have a object that gets very small and very, very dense so it’s gravitational pull increases and it begins to pull everything in towards it. when something is pulled into it (including light) where it goes to is a mystery. It may add to the mass of the collapsed Sun and make a stronger black hole by increasing the gravitational pull. OR as the Science Fiction writers would suggest it takes you to a new dimension. Thank you for your question Sheereen.

Rainie (8) – asked “How do touchscreens work on phones?”

Rainie – what a question!  I thought I would start by presenting my team with the question….

touch

Rainie it’s all about electricity. Think about the ‘stuff’ that comes from batteries that makes your watch work or makes a torch light up the world. Electricity travels from place to place by travelling through things that allow it to travel through. It cannot travel through paper, plastics, stones and other things. It can however travel through water, some special glass, metals and you.

When you touch the screen of your telephone, you are allowing a very small amount of electricity to travel from the glass to you. The phone recognises this and knows where you have touched the screen. It then responds to the touch.

An experiment – touch the screen using a variety of materials on your finger. Try a damp finger, a finger covered by cloth, paper, aluminium foil, plastic and maybe a leaf. I am sure you can think of other materials. This little experiment might lead to other questions so please ask them.

Remember Rainie do not under any circumstances play or experiment with mains electricity. It could hurt you badly.

Ash asks “Why do we need academic learning, what is it’s purpose?’

Ash. This is a question I will try to answer without the help of my friends. It was a challenging question. This is a personal view.

I have tried to attempt academic learning for most of my life. Notice the word tried. Academic learning for me is learning things that would help me solve scientific questions. I learnt about materials and then about atoms and molecules and their properties and then about ideas on how this dictated the way in which they behaved. I then used this to help with my own ideas.

There are however lots of different forms of academic learning in all subject areas. Think of the people who are interested in history. Their learning could involve studying and interpreting lots of old and ancient texts – or modern ones. Does history help us in understanding what is happening in the world today?

Think of the engineer who would like to improve the jet engine. Look at the learning that she/he would have to do to help them solve the problems that jet engines might have.

Don’t however, in your life, avoid the other types of learning. Learning by listening, learning visually, and learning through actions are just as important.

Now and again academic learning involves tests, class test, school tests, national examination tests. They are horrible but on the other hand they help you in the steps of the academic learning that you go through.