Ken (12) asked the following question – If there is more electrons than protons, it is an anion, right, but what if the electrons are positively charged, then what is it. Is it still an anion or now a cation, or there is different name for this type of situation?


Many thanks for your question. I can however sense some confusion in it.  Let us get one thing clear. We do not know what is a negative charge and a positive charge. The early scientists gave electrons a negative charge and protons a positive charge. They knew that they (electrons and protons) were different …and that they were attracted to each other. Work by early scientists had shown that you could create two different types of electrical charge and they were attracted to each other.  Thus the positive and negative nomenclature.

When the nucleus of  the  atomic particle was investigated they found that it contained particles that were  attracted to the smaller particles surrounding the nucleus and they became protons surrounded by electrons. They also found that these particles had opposite electrical charges. They designated the positive charge to protons and the negative charge to electrons.

In some cases the small particles (electrons) can be made to carry a positive charge and they become ‘cations’. You will not however find them near the positively charged nucleus of an atom …they would be repelled.

I hope this helps……


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.

Lotie(7) asks How does light travel?

Many thanks for the question Lotie. ‘Light’ is what scientists call a type of Energy. Other common types of Energy (there are quite a few of them) include Heat, Sound and  Electricity….see if you can think of more types of energy.

Let one of my team try to explain WHAT makes something a form of Energy.

The answer is they all can do work. They all can move, in some way. Electricity moves in a wave like motion along the wires that carry it. Light moves by using very, very small particles called Photons. Heat moves by transferring energy from one small particle of a material to another.

Nothing moves faster than a Photon. Sunlight and Light from the Stars is travelling photons.

Thanks again for the question Lotie

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.


Fraser (12) asks. What are the important parts of aerodynamics?


Many thank for the question. To help you answer it I suggest you make your own paper aeroplane. Investigating the flight of the plane will be the beginning of your investigations of aerodynamics.

Below is a plan (Using a sheet of A$ paper) that you can use to make a plane and begin the investigation.

Once you have made the plane, try flying it. Think of the things that make it fly. How far, for example can you make your plane fly. Does it depend on how hard you throw it?  That is the THRUST that enables it to fly and is an important element of AERODYNAMICS.

I shall pass you over to my friends, who will no doubt ask you more questions. (They will need some time to answer so please come back a bit later)

Here is what they said.

Hello Aster.

I think a paper aeroplane is a good start to investigate aerodynamics. As the Science Master said … far the aeroplane flies with a simple push is a good way to investigate one of the main aerodynamic properties associated with any that flies. This is Thrust .

The other major aerodynamic considerations, in addition to Thrust are Gravity, Lift, Drag and Air Drag.


Unknown (7) asked “What is carbon dioxide?”

Firstly….my apologies…I lost your name.I can remember the question but not the name.


I asked my team to try to answer this important question

We all produce Carbon Dioxide when we breathe … is however not as much as when the things burnt above produce. As you get older you will learn about how Carbon Dioxide affects the weather on our planet. You will also begin to see why all plants and trees are important in controlling the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Many thanks for asking your question.

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.

Taj (13) asks ” “What makes some metals more reactive than others?”

Many thanks for that introduction to Taj’s question. the images for the three metals show the electrons in ‘shells’ around the core metal atom.  Taj, you may be interested to know that the electron was discovered in 1897 by Thomson and the arrangement of electrons in shells around the nucleus by Neils Bohr in the 1920’s ….only 100 years ago.

Look at the ‘shells’ …the first one near the nucleus of all the metal atoms contains 2 electrons, the second shell  contains 8 electrons, the third shell contains 18 electrons , the fourth shell contains 32 electrons (which are subdivided into three levels).

It is the outermost shell that is the important one when it comes to chemical activity. If the shell is full (has its load of electrons) the atom is unreactive (noble gases). If the shell is not full …the atom is reactive and the reactivity seems to be linked to how empty the outermost shell is and how close the shell is to the atomic nucleus.

Think about these rules when you look again at the sodium, copper and gold atoms.

Thanks for the question.


Oliver (10) asks “Is it possible for any life form on Earth to survive the conditions of outer space?

Oliver, many thanks for the question.

I think it would be very difficult to survive the conditions of outer space. Think about it, no air, very cold temperatures, no water …………but. Think about it ….if anything was to survive in outer space ….. What size would it be, small  or large?  Would it have a thick or thin skin? Would it need lots of oxygen or very little to survive? Would it need lots of food or very little?

….meet the Tardigradum

It is less than 7mm long and has 8 legs

It can survive the pressure of living in deep water trenches and temperatures of over 150 degrees centigrade.

It has been known to survive without water for 30 years.

It has also been shown that it can survive, without protection in outer space.

Amasidda (?) asked “Give one reason to prove that light is form of energy”


Then Amasidda you might be able to answer the question yourself.  Think about what all forms of energy – electric (electricity), light, heat (thermal), movement (kinetic), nuclear, chemical, sound, gravitational, can do. Can they all in some way do work? Can they all be converted from one from one form of energy to another?

What do you think ‘work’ is? Let me know in the comment box below.