Archive | May 2016

The History of the Atom

images (36)Take a look around you and see where you are. What is the closest object to your right or your left? What are the things surrounding you and ask yourself, what are they made up of? They are all made up of atoms. An atom is the basic building block for matter. Everything in this world contains atoms as they have all matter.

The study of atoms has not been studied for a long period of time. The first person to suggest the idea of the atom was Greek philosopher Democritus. He thought to himself what would happen if you kept on breaking matter into smaller and smaller pieces. He knew you would have to reach the smallest point available and he would call these tiny particles atoms. However, his idea was ultimately rejected by everyone including Aristotle. Democritus’ idea was rejected on the grounds that is was too silly and due to the fact that since Aristotle’s opinion was highly valued many people would believe whatever Aristotle would say. This idea was never fully studied again until in the early 1800’s by a scientist called John Dalton.

His atomic theory was the first time the idea of the atom was placed on a solid foothold. In short, his theory stated that elements consisted of tiny particles called atoms. Although, not all of his points were true his theory still helped pave the way for future investigations into this topic.

In 1897, J.J. Thomson discovered electrons. He was able to discover it using a cathode ray tube. In his experiment he sealed gases in a glass tube fitted with electrodes.The electrodes were connected to a source of electricity, and when turned on one would become negatively charged while the other turned positively charged. This resulted in a bright beam called a cathode ray. J.J. Thomson put positively and negatively charged magnets on opposite sides of the glass. The cathode ray would be attracted by the positively charged magnet while being deflected by the negatively charged magnet. He hypothesized that the cathode ray was made up of tiny negatively charged particles called electrons.

However, the biggest contribution to the research of the atom came from Ernest Rutherford. He discovered the nucleus, the center of the atom. He performed a gold-foil experiment where he shot alpha particles at a thin gold foil. Much to his surprise, a small portion of the alpha particles bounced off at very large while almost all passed through the foil with ease. Thanks to his experiment he hypothesized that a small region in the center of the atom was positively charged and called this the nucleus.

In 1930, James Chadwick began hitting beryllium with alpha particles and when it hit beryllium it began emitting radiation. Chadwick studied this radiation and found neutral particles that weighed slightly more than the mass of protons. He called these neutral particles, neutrons.

Today, we know a lot more about the atom compared to one thousand years ago. We know it is the fundamental building block for all life. Thanks to the many contributions of scientist over the years we can continue their work and gather more data on this small but enormous part of our life. We have proved that atoms can be split and we have used this to benefit our lives and we continue to research more ways on how atoms can better our lives. We can use nanotechnology, which uses nano atoms, to detect and possibly even exterminate cancers and tumors in our bodies.


Water Meets Electricity

download (45)Our parents always tell us not to be around water when there is a lightning, not to use our hair dryer next to running water, and definitely not to have plugs anywhere near water. There is a reason for that, once electricity touches water, the electricity moves through water. So what really happens to us when we touch water that has been in contact with electricity, what happens to water, and what happens to the electricity.

What is electricity? Electricity is produced when electrons are moving from one atom to another. Electricity usually chooses the routes with less resistance and the shortest one to the ground. While electricity is important and crucial for our existence as a human race, it can also bring dangers when in contact with water. But, what is water? Water is a liquid substance (that many of us do not appreciate) that easily dissolves many different materials, including some metals. However, water cannot conduct electricity very well, since it has little to NO ions and is very pure. Because of that, the existing ions carry electric charge through the water making it dangerous.

So what are the dangers of being around water that was in contact with electricity and is now electrically charged? There are come cases when people who were around during thunderstorms have been shocked to death and unfortunately passed away. Well, that is because human body is mostly made up of water and different kinds of dissolved salts (potassium, sodium, and calcium). That makes our, human, bodies AMAZINGconductors. As awesome as it sounds, it is as exciting when this great quality puts us in danger. Because human bodies are such great conductors, electricity flows very easily through our bodies. Thus, when the human body is in contact with water, that carries electricity due to its purity, When in contact with water or close to water, we attract the electricity, and eventually electricity reaches our body, shocking it with an electric shock and causing damage especially on the heart. Some say that you should not even take showers, do laundry, or be in contact with tap water during storms since it can still carry the electric current.

When water meets electricity, it should be private meeting, without humans involved. Contact with water that has been in contact with electricity can carry horrible consequences that can hurt us not only in a long run, but also right away. So, kids, listen to your mothers when they tell you to keep your electrical appliances away from water, the information is shocking!

This entry was posted on May 15, 2016, in Education.

The Man-Made Monster

images (35)In this world, humans constantly developed weapons throughout history, and weapons, such as rifle, machine gun, and cannon, have become more and more effective for killing people. Also, explosive weapons, such as grenade, C4, and missile, are used for effective destruction and killing. Among all the weapons, there is one kind of weapon that can knock an entire city down and take millions of lives away: nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons are the most deadly weapon in this world, and the power they have is adequate for cleaning up the surface of Earth.

Since nuclear weapons are powerful and fatal, it is necessary to know how they function. The atomic bomb and hydrogen bomb are two main nuclear weapons, and two types of nuclear reaction are used for these two kinds of bombs: nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.

On December 17, 1938, nuclear fission was founded by German scientist Otto Hahn and his assistant Fritz Strassmann. During nuclear fission, a nuclear chain reaction will occur because of interactions between neutrons and fissile isotopes that neutrons of atoms are ejected and will interact with more fissile fuel, and then more fissions are caused. Accordingly, the nuclear chain reaction will occur continuously and release energy. Nuclear fusion is another type of nuclear reaction that can produce more energy than nuclear fission. During nuclear fusion, two or more atomic nuclei will collide at very high speed and form a new nucleus, and then energy will be produced, which is known as “binding energy”.

The first atomic bomb in the world was produced in the Manhattan Project, and more than 130,000 people and scientists led by the US were involved in the project. J. Robert Oppenheimer was one of the “father of the atomic bomb” in the project, and he used “Trinity” as the code name for the first atomic bomb in the world. “Trinity” was an implosion-type bomb, and it was successfully detonated in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. The explosion of “Trinity” released the energy that is equal to 20 kilotons of TNT.

Followed the success of the detonation of the first nuclear bomb, on August 6 and August 9 of the same year, the Allies launched the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A gun-type atomic bomb named “Little Boy” was dropped in Hiroshima, and the energy of the explosion was equivalent to 16 kilotons of TNT, but only 1.7% of its material participated in the nuclear chain reaction. The explosion also caused the destruction that has the radius of 1 mile, and 90,000 to 146,000 people (70% of them were innocent people) were killed and injured in Hiroshima. On August 9, 1945, three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, he Allies dropped “Fat Man” in Nagasaki. “Fat Man” was an implosion-type atomic bomb, and the explosion yielded the energy that is equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT. The radius of destruction was 1 mile, and From 39,000 to 80,000 people were killed after the bombing, and only 150 of them were soldiers. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki totally killed at least 129,000 people, and it was the first time that atomic bomb was used in warfare.

The hydrogen bomb is much more powerful than atomic bomb due to its way of nuclear reaction, and the most powerful hydrogen bomb that had been detonated in the history was “Tsar Bomba”. “Tsar bomba” was produced by the USSR and it was tested on October 30, 1961. It yielded the energy of 50 megatons of TNT and the radius of explosion was 22 miles and the explosion also had effect in the area that was 34 miles away from the center of explosion.

To sum up, nuclear weapons are the most powerful and deadly weapons in the world. Although this kind of weapon was used in warfare for only one time, people could see the terrible destruction and the loss of innocent lives carried by it. Therefore, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was adopted by the United Nation Assembly on September 10, 1996.

How Do Instruments Make Sounds?

images (34)There are six experimentally separable ways in which sound waves are analysed, which are Pitch, Duration, Loudness, Timbre, Sonic Texture, and Spatial Location. Pitch is perceived as how “low” or “high” a sound is and represents the cyclic, repetitive nature of the vibrations that make up sound. Duration is perceived as how “long” or “short” a sound is and relates to onset and offset signals created by nerve responses to sounds. Loudness is perceived as how “loud” or “soft” a sound is and relates to the totalled number of auditory nerve stimulations over short cyclic time periods, most likely over the duration of theta wave cycles. Timbre is perceived as the quality of different sounds and represents the pre-conscious allocation of a sonic identity to a sound. Sonic Texture relates to the number of sound sources and interaction between them. Spatial Location represents the cognitive placement of a sound in an environmental context; including the placement of a sound on both the horizontal and vertical plane, the distance from the sound source and the characteristics of the sonic environment. Sound is a vibration that propagates as a typically audible mechanical wave of pressure and displacement through a medium such as air or water.

The type of medium sound passes through will determine its speed and wave type. Sound waves can come in the form of either transverse waves or longitudinal waves. Humans can hear sounds from approximately a range of 20 Hertz to 20 Kilo-Hertz. There is a lower pitch at 20 Hertz, and a higher pitch at 20 Kilo-Hertz. Humans can hear between approximately 0 Decibels and 160 Decibels, the measurement of quietness and loudness. The amplitude of sound waves determine the quietness or loudness of the sound exhibited.

Acoustic instruments generate sound physically whereas electronic instruments create sound electrically. There are for different types of acoustic groups: percussion (hit or shaken), wind (woodwind and brass; blown), string (bowed or plucked), and keyboard (played with fingers). An instrument creates sound when part of it vibrates rapidly. Several examples are: the column of air inside a wind instrument, the string of a string instrument, or the stretched skin of a drum all vibrate when played. These vibrations produce sound waves in the air, which we hear as different musical notes. Electronic instruments, such as electronic keyboards, do not make actually sounds in the way an acoustic instrument does. An electronic instrument produces an electric signal that is transmitted to an amplifier and then broadcast through a loudspeaker. Using a process called synthesis, electronic instruments imitate acoustic instruments or create their own noises.