Smore Science Digest

A biweekly science newsletter for kids
Edition 9 | Sep 01,2022 – Sep 15,2022

Trending News

Bright blast emitted as neutron star fuses with another star

Representation of a GRB. The fusion of a neutron star
Representation of a GRB. The fusion of a neutron star with another star produced the brightest afterglow ever., Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/ICRAR

Scientists at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) recorded the first millimeter-wavelength light. To get an idea of what wavelength is, let’s take an example. Have you seen what happens when you throw a stone into a pond? Ripples spread on the surface of the water starting from the point where the stone hit the water surface. The distance between two successive ripples is the wavelength of the ripple. Light travels in the same way in space, and the distance between two successive waves of light is the wavelength of the wave of light.

Six new species of miniature frog discovered in Mexico

A miniature frog on top of a coin
A miniature frog on top of a coin. Image Credit: Wikimedia

Scientists have found six new species of miniature frogs in the forests of Mexico. Until recently, scientists couldn’t identify these new species due to their small size, pigmentation, and similarity to other frog species. The newly discovered species are some of the tiniest frogs in the world, growing no bigger than 15 millimeters (0.6 inches). Their miniature size allows them to fit on top of a British 50p coin, which is slightly larger than a US quarter dollar.

STEM Challenge

Estimation of marbles challenge

The Challenge: Estimate the number of marbles placed in a glass jar and then verify by counting the marbles.

Materials:

  • Marbles
  • Plastic jar

Procedure: Fill up the jar with marbles, to the neck and not to the brim.

Challenge criteria: Devise a method to approximate the number of marbles in the jar. Do not count the marbles. Make three estimations. Figure out the average of your estimations using the given formula:

Average = Sum of estimations / Number of estimations

Example: Suppose you make three estimations: 100, 99, and 101. As per the formula:

Futoshiki

Can you do a Futoshiki?

Futoshiki 9

Rules:  

  1. Fill in the 5 x 5 grid with numbers from 1 to 5, such that no number is repeated twice in a row or column.
  2. Place numbers according to the greater than and lesser than signs wherever applicable.

Previous edition’s answer: 

Edition 8

STEM Around Us

Allergies and Anaphylaxis

EpiPen
EpiPen — The epinephrine shot that beats anaphylactic shock. Credits: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Allergies are annoying. Allergies are mostly mild. The usual responses include sneezing, coughing, or nausea (food allergy). Skin rash and hives are also common. These responses expel the allergen (the substance that triggers an allergic response) from the body. However, some allergic responses can be far worse. Allergies occur when the immune system tags a harmless substance (like a seafood dish or pollen) as a threat and reacts to it. Our immune system produces a protein called IgE, which causes an allergic response. IgE falls under a class of proteins called antibodies.

Science Video

Aluminum and Mercury

Have you ever been to the dentist to have a damaged tooth ‘filled’? Traditionally, tooth filling is made by dissolving silver, tin, and copper in mercury. Mercury remains liquid at room temperature (25°C or 77°F). This solution of metals in mercury is called an amalgam. Atoms are the smallest particles of a substance. In metals, these atoms are arranged in a certain pattern, called a lattice. These atoms are held in their positions with the help of interactions called metallic bonds. When a metal dissolves in mercury, the metallic bonds start to break and form an amalgam.

Brain Teaser

Which tank will fill first?

Brain Teaser

Previous edition’s answer:

Answer: 8

STEM Careers

Astronaut Instructor and Flight Controller Theresa Parks

I’m an astronaut instructor and flight controller. That means that I teach astronauts all about their spacesuits and how to get ready for a spacewalk. Then, I work in Mission Control when the astronauts go on spacewalks and do all of those activities on the space station.

As early as I can remember, I’ve always really liked math and science. I took extra math classes after school in Junior High and helped to establish a Science Club when I was in high school.

Did you know?

Think of Italy! What comes to your mind? Maybe pizza? Astronauts at the International Space Station are no different. In 2001, Pizza Hut made the first pizza delivery to space, which was sent via a Russian supply rocket, to the ISS. This promotional event cost over a million dollars.

Science In Depth

Why Does Spicy Food Make You Sweat?

Jalapeno

You just opened a fresh bag of flaming hot Cheetos and started mindlessly munching on it. After a while, you feel sweat trickling down your forehead even though the room is at your usual 65 degrees. Is it the Hot Cheetos?

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