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
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
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.