Science Questions

  • March 22, 2011    

    The Japanese government reported on Sunday that it had halted some food shipments to prevent tainted samples of milk and spinach from reaching consumers. Iodine 131 was found in milk samples in Kawamata, a town in Fukushima prefecture, where the … Continue reading

  • March 15, 2011    

    After a powerful explosion on Tuesday, Japanese workers are still struggling to regain control of an earthquake and tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant amid worsening fears of a full meltdown. Which raises the questions: What exactly is a nuclear meltdown? And … Continue reading

  • February 28, 2011    

    Viewer question: Was there any comment on the two pieces of debris that came off about 5:48 into the video? (Watch the Discovery launch here). Updated: 4:40 pm EST | By 10:47 am EST Monday morning, astronaut Steven Bowen was … Continue reading

  • February 22, 2011    

    We all know the stinging sensation and welling up of tears that comes from chopping onions. But why does this happen? In fact, the reason onions make us cry can be traced back to the soil. Onions are part of … Continue reading

  • January 25, 2011    

    Neutrinos are teeny, tiny, nearly massless particles that travel at near lightspeeds. Born from violent astrophysical events like exploding stars and gamma ray bursts, they are fantastically abundant in the universe, and can move as easily through lead as we … Continue reading

  • January 18, 2011   BY  

    Since as early as the 1930s, a variation on simple table salt has been used to keep wintry roads from getting dangerously slippery. The mechanism is simple: When liquid water freezes into ice, the loose water molecules arrange themselves into … Continue reading

  • January 11, 2011   BY  

    And what constitutes an “earthlike planet” anyway? The Kepler Space telescope has found a small, rocky planet, the smallest yet found orbiting a star outside our solar system, the Kepler team announced Monday at the annual meeting of the American … Continue reading

  • January 4, 2011   BY  

    On New Years Day, residents of Beebe, Ark., awoke to find some 5,000 dead blackbirds strewn across roads, lawns and rooftops. Three days later, 125 miles from Beebe, thousands of fish were found dead on riverbanks and floating along the … Continue reading

  • December 21, 2010    

    Here’s this week’s Just Ask! science query: At what point would a spacecraft approaching the sun vaporize? — Bob Rinehuls We all know the tale of Icarus. He attempts to escape imprisonment in Crete with wings made of feather, wood … Continue reading

  • December 14, 2010    

    As a cold front settles across the Eastern seaboard, we turn wistfully to thoughts of the sun for this week’s Just Ask! science post. This one comes from a reader, Amanda Teicher, who wants to know: “How does sunscreen work?” … Continue reading

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