Science Questions from 10 year olds part 2 #IASUK

More questions from 10 year olds! This is so much fun!

Question: what’s your favourite part of science

I love solving puzzles. The world is the biggest and best puzzle there is. So my favourite part of science is when I am solving a problem and learning something new. I love discovering things!

Question: If people came from monkeys what did monkeys come from

Humans didn’t really come from monkeys. Both monkeys and humans have what is called a common ancestor. Somewhere back millions of years ago there was a species that looked like a cross between a monkey and a squirrel that lived in the trees, this is what we both came from. Over time the ancestors of the monkeys and the ancestors of the humans moved into different areas of the Earth. Monkeys tended to stay in forests and jungles and the ancestors of humans moved into the plains of Africa. Because we lived in different environments, we evolved differently. We needed to stand up to see over the grass to see if any lions were going to eat us, where monkeys stayed in the trees so they evolved to become better tree dwellers. So both humans and monkeys both descend from another animal way back in time.

Question: wy do you be a scintits [sic]

I really like to know about stuff, I am constantly interested in new things, and figuring out how things work. That is what scientists do. We study things to figure out how they work, we solve problems, and we are constantly wondering “why”?

To me science is a big game and a huge puzzle and I get to spend my time playing the game and solving the puzzles. What is better than that?

Question: what was you ferst scinse experiment

I’m not sure if you mean when I was a student like you or after I became a scientist, so I will answer both.

When I was about your age I was really into flight and airplanes. So I build a model rocket and launched it. I was able to see the thrust of the rocket engine fly the rocket high into the air, I loved it. Though I have to warn you model rockets can be dangerous, I still have a scar from where I got burned by one, so make sure to have an adult around, just in case.

When I became a scientist one of the first things that I did was learn how to extract DNA. Since all my work is to do with looking at DNA, I figured that I should know how to pull it out of a cell. So I got some strawberries, mashed them up, added some chemicals to break down the cell wall, and then purified the DNA from the rest of the plant. When I did that I was really surprised how much there was and how much it looked like clear snot!

Question: will we evolve further

The short answer is yes, we will. Evolution just means that how many people have a particular mutation changes over time. Every time a human is born that baby introduces between 75-150 new mutations that have never been seen before. Most of these mutations are called “neutral” because they don’t benefit or harm the baby, but occasionally (very rarely) a new mutation is beneficial to the baby. This mutation, once the baby is grown up with their own babies, will spread through the rest of the population over time until everyone has it.

For example, did you know it is a mutation that some adults can drink milk without farting? There is a sugar in milk called Lactose, babies have a special enzyme in their stomach that breaks lactose in half which allows it to be digested. All mammals are like this, babies drink their mother’s milk when they are born, however since mammals stop drinking milk after being babies the body shuts off the enzyme and the mammal can no longer digest lactose. This causes the lactose to be passed into the rest of the digestive track (the intestines) where bacteria eat the lactose and give off gas as a response giving the adult smelly farts.

But in Europe, one person 15,000 years ago or so mutated so that they continued to produce the enzyme as an adult and could digest lactose. This gave them an additional source of food during the winter which helped them to survive the cold winters of Europe before there were Tescos to buy food at. So from this one person now 95% of Northern and Western Europe all have this mutation. Pretty crazy, right? Everyone in Europe that can drink milk as an adult is descended from this one person!

Going into the future other features that help humans will continue to spread through the population just like the ability to drink milk did. I personally think that most of our future evolution will revolve around fighting diseases.

Question: what is your most favourite job that you could have but it cant be yours and how fun is your job are you enthusiastic or would you want a different job

If I couldn’t be a scientist I would go back to making video games. I used to work for Sony PlayStation2 as a games tester and Nexon as a games designer but I have since learned to program so I would program video games for a living.

My job is tons of fun, admittedly I love playing with computers. So what I do is I have access to a bunch of people’s genomes (the DNA that tells your body what to do) and I break them up into countries. So for instance I have a group of people from Britain, I then look for particular mutations that are young but most people have them which tells me that they are beneficial as they have spread through the population. Science to me is a great game, the graphics are kind of poor but the gameplay is the best in the world. I get to solve puzzles and build tools and use those tools to discover new knowledge.

I am very enthusiastic about my job, I love it. I also love teaching and programming so I could also do those if I decide not to be a scientist anymore.

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