Do we drink the same water dinosaurs drank? -Sophia, 7
Yes. The water on our Earth today is the same water that’s been here for nearly 5 billion years. Only a tiny bit of it has escaped out into space. As far as we know, new water hasn’t formed either. » More …
What is Dr. Universe’s favorite experiment? -Garrett, 8th grade, Eastern Washington
You know, your question reminds me of a couple other science questions from curious readers. Evangeline, age 7, wants to know why her hair is black. Sureya, age 8, wants to know why some people have curly hair.
It just so happens that one of my favorite science projects explores our questions about what makes us unique. It has to do with our DNA, or the blueprint for life. » More …
What are fingernails made of? -Amy, 8, Seattle, WA
My claws can come in quite handy when I need to scratch my ears or climb trees. I bet you’ve found that your own fingernails can be useful tools, too. Perhaps you’ve used them to pick up a penny or peel an orange. » More …
Why is yawning contagious? -Grant, 10, Pullman, WA
When I got your question, I met up with my friend Hans Van Dongen, a scientist at Washington State University in Spokane. He works in a research lab where they study sleep. As a cat who appreciates naps, it’s one of my favorite places to visit. » More …
Why do bees make hexagons in their hives? Why not any other shape? -Aditya, 10, New Delhi, India
When bees make hexagons in their hives, the six-sided shapes fit together perfectly. In fact, we’ve actually never seen bees make any other shape. That’s what I found out when I visited my friend Sue Cobey, a bee researcher at Washington State University.
Cobey showed me some honeycombs where the female bees live and work. Hexagons are useful shapes. They can hold the queen bee’s eggs and store the pollen and honey the worker bees bring to the hive.
When you think about it, making circles wouldn’t work too well. It would leave gaps in the honeycomb. The worker bees could use triangles or squares for storage. Those wouldn’t leave gaps. But the hexagon is the strongest, most useful shape. » More …
If mollusks have such heavy shells to drag around with them, how have they spread all over the ocean? -Michel W.
Mollusks, from land snails and slugs to oysters and mussels in the sea, have a few things in common. They have a head. They have a soft middle part that holds their organs. Then, some have a muscle that’s known as a “foot.” » More …