QandA

Q&A Tabs

Like the rest of the Earth’s landmass, Antarctica is affected by ‘continental drift’, and is propelled across the face of our planet by the roiling motion of convective currents...

Not for long. The gruesome idea of nails and hair continuing to grow on a rotting corpse is fascinating. But it’s a myth – at least if you’re thinking of luscious locks and long...

Your DNA is arranged into chromosomes, which are grouped into 23 pairs. When a sperm cell is manufactured, the father’s genome is split in two, so that each sperm receives one chromosome...

It’s long been known that just over-heating, let alone burning, some foods can lead to the formation of compounds linked to cancer. These include heterocyclic amines and so-called polycyclic...

Ordinary glass absorbs 97 per cent of the UVB rays that cause sunburn and some skin cancers, and 37 per cent of the less harmful UVA radiation. This translates to a protection of about SPF30, so...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...

Recent Q&A...

Not much. Numerous studies have shown that some bacteria is transferred to food as soon as it touches the floor. Bacteria don’t sense food dropped nearby and then home in on it – they...

Charles Darwin thought that the 28-day human menstrual cycle was evidence that our ancestors lived on the seashore and needed to synchronise with the tides. The Moon’s phase certainly has an...

The pattern of loops and whorls on your fingerprints was fixed three months before you were born. You can scar your fingerprints with a cut, or temporarily lose them through abrasion, acid or...

The Sun emits radiation right across the electromagnetic spectrum, from extremely high-energy X-rays to ultra-long-wavelength radio waves, and everything in-between. The peak of this emission...

This mystery has ‘finally’ been solved many times over the years, with explanations ranging from camouflage to a deterrent against parasites. The most compelling evidence –...

A popular choice is Euler’s identity, which shows that raising the endless number ‘e’ (roughly 2.718) to the power of pi, multiplied by the impossible square root of -1, and then...

Time is a complex subject for physicists. Einstein showed that time and space are intimately linked and that the progression of time is relative, not absolute. Although there is nothing in physics...

When an earthquake strikes, different vibrations travel through the ground at different speeds. The Primary (P-wave) vibrations travel about twice as fast as the Secondary (S-wave) vibrations that...

Vision defects such as myopia (short-sightedness) aren’t caused by just one single gene. There’s some evidence that short-sighted people have a higher than average IQ, which may be...

There is a long history to the idea that black holes may connect with other regions of the Universe, or other universes entirely, but this is purely speculation. Some physicists have attempted to...

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