Why does some rain fall harder than other rain?

Some rainstorms drench you in a second, while others drop rain in a nice peaceful drizzle. A meteorologist explains how rainstorms can be so different.

Jeffrey B. Halverson, Professor of Geography & Environmental Systems, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, University of Maryland, Baltimore County • conversation
Aug. 13, 2020 ~5 min

Tags: hurricane flooding storms rain curious-kids curious-kids-us weather humidity air clouds thunderstorm flash-floods

Do dogs really see in just black and white?

Your faithful friend's view of the world is different than yours, but maybe not in the way you imagine.

Nancy Dreschel, Associate Teaching Professor of Small Animal Science, Pennsylvania State University • conversation
July 2, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: dogs pets animals vision fox wolf curious-kids curious-kids-us senses cats colors wolves foxes dog sensory-perception photoreceptors

What is the slowest thing on Earth?

Physicists can use bright, hot lasers to slow atoms down so much that they measure -459 degrees Fahrenheit.

Katie McCormick, Postdoctoral Scholar of Physics, University of Washington • conversation
June 22, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: physics quantum-mechanics laser light photons molecules curious-kids curious-kids-us temperature cold atoms absolute-zero warmblood sloths

What makes something smell good or bad?

Mmmmmmm. That smells delicious. Wait, how do you know that?

Weihong Lin, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County • conversation
June 1, 2020 ~5 min

Tags: curious-kids curious-kids-us smell science-of-smells senses olfactory sense-of-smell odor olfaction scents

What would it feel like to touch a cloud?

You might have already felt what it would be like inside a cloud made of condensed water vapor.

Katja Friedrich, Associate Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder • conversation
May 28, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: water rain snow curious-kids curious-kids-us clouds evaporation hail snowflake cloud-condensation-nuclei

What's an epidemiologist?

Epidemiologists focus on diseases among groups of people. They also study the spread of disease among animals.

Jared D. Taylor, Professor of Veterinary Pathobiology, Oklahoma State University • conversation
May 21, 2020 ~4 min

Tags: epidemiology covid-19 coronavirus-2020 curious-kids curious-kids-us veterinarians

What makes the wind?

Wind travels all over the world. Where does it come from, and why?

Adam Sokol, Doctoral Student in Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington • conversation
May 14, 2020 ~5 min

Tags: hurricane atmospheric-science curious-kids curious-kids-us weather hydroelectricity air wind

Why do kids call their parents 'Mom' and 'Dad'?

One anthropologist found 1,072 similar words for 'mom' and 'dad' in the world's languages. It turns out a mix of biology, culture and encouragement from parents explains this phenomenon.

Denise Bodman, Principal Lecturer in Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University • conversation
May 6, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: children linguistics language parents mothers curious-kids curious-kids-us fathers dad names words baby-talk dads

Will we ever be able to shrink and grow stuff?

The movies make it seem like someday we'll be able to make people and objects grow really big or shrink really small. Whether this will be possible comes down to the smallest of things.

Salvatore Rappoccio, Associate Professor of Physics, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York • conversation
May 4, 2020 ~4 min

Tags: physics curious-kids curious-kids-us matter atoms crystal mummies avengers-endgame

How could an explosive Big Bang be the birth of our universe?

The term 'Big Bang' might make you think of a massive explosion. Put the thought out of your head. Rather than an explosion, it was the start of everything in the universe.

Michael Lam, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Rochester Institute of Technology • conversation
April 30, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: physics astronomy cosmology universe big-bang cosmic-microwave-background curious-kids curious-kids-us universe-expansion accelerating-universe

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