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Science Made Simple
by TaLonne Mefford
     

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Introduction

Science is by definition the “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.” Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to explain and describe natural occurrences.

In other words, science is a collection of knowledge that comes from seeing something or doing something.

Why is science important?

It is important because it affects every aspect of daily life. Science has provided the electricity in your home, the car you drive, and the air conditioner that cools you. Science is everywhere. It helps satisfy the curiosity you have about the world around you. It provides the answers to “life’s little mysteries.”

Science does not always have the easiest explanations to understand. Numerous definitions, confusing concepts, and teaching styles often make science difficult to understand, but, more often than not, a much simpler explanation can be described by using everyday concepts and comparing these concepts to things you already know.

Over the next weeks, I will provide you with answers to some of “life’s little mysteries,” with topics ranging from everyday life to nature and to the human body.

 

Nature: Why is the sky blue?

On a clear sunny day, the sky above us looks bright blue, But why is it blue rather than orange or green?

The atmosphere that surrounds the Earth is made up of gases, like nitrogen and oxygen, and small particles of dust. When the light from the Sun shines on the Earth, light must pass through gazillions of particles.

Light moves through the air in waves. These waves can be compared to waves on water. Some light waves are long and lazy and others are short and choppy. Think of the story, “The Tortoise and the Hare: Slow and steady wins the race.” The long lazy waves travel farther than the short, quick waves. This is how sunlight works.

light from the sun is the combination of all the colors in the rainbow. The colors we see depend on how short or long the wave is. Red waves are the longest (long and lazy), while blue are the shortest (short and choppy).

When sunlight shines through the atmosphere, it hits the particles that make up the atmosphere and gets scattered. The long waves, like red, pass through the atmosphere better than short waves, like blue. The blue waves get scattered around more than any other color and that is why we see a blue sky.

 

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