How To Calculate The Area Of A Cylinder

Understanding how to find the area of a cylinder is easy if one first visualizes the cylinder and breaks its surface down into component pieces. To do this, first take a good look at the most common cylinder encountered in life: the toilet paper roll. Use a pair of scissors to cut one open and you will see that it is just a rectangular piece of ...

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Tea Time!

Did you know that a disease of coffee plantations made the British tea drinkers? In the 1700s Britain had many coffeehouses that served as popular social gathering places to discuss current events and ... Continue reading


The Doppler Effect

As any object moves through the air, the air near the object is disturbed. The disturbances are transmitted through the air at a distinct speed called the speed of sound, because sound itself is just ... Continue reading


Coffee: Beverage Of Sedition

Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, consumed regularly by about one-third of the global population. Tea runs a close second. And then, of course, there's Coca-Cola. Why are coffee, tea, and ... Continue reading


Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

NASA's premier X-ray observatory was named the Chandra X-ray Observatory in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (pronounced: su/bra/mon'/yon chandra/say/kar). ... Continue reading


Electricity and the Brain

BrainElectricityA child's electric train and our brains have something in common. They both require electricity for any activity to take place. But the brain uses electricity in a much different way than a toy train.

In 1791, Italian scientist Luigi Galvani demonstrated that electrical forces not only existed in the body, but that electricity also played a dynamic role in the operations of nerves and muscles. Galvani's experiments showed that it was possible to activate the motor nerves connected to a frog's leg muscles by introducing a mild electrical current. His conclusion that muscle movements were proof of electricity flowing between the nerves and the muscles was an erroneous deduction. However, his research took the emerging study of the electrochemical basis of neural activity and pointed it in the right direction. Galvani's astonishing discoveries inspired Mary Shelley's 1818 novel 'Frankenstein,' which served as a testament to the torrent of public curiosity in scientific research that was unleashed by Galvani's fascinating research findings.

In the early 1900's, teams of researchers confirmed the existence of electrical pulses traveling through brain cells. Today, we know that motor and cognitive functions rely on a combined electro-chemical neural process. Neurons, the 'network communicators' inside the brain, transmit messages to one another by sending electrical signals down the neuron's elongated axon. But the release of electrical signals is just the first step. The electrical signal triggers the release of neurotransmitters, which carry chemical messages to the adjoining neurons along an elaborate neural circuit. Nonetheless, the flow of electrons that we describe as an electrical current allows our brains to orchestrate walking, reading, creating and vast range of activities in the repertoire of human behavior.