Thursday, October 20, 2011

QUESTION YOUR WORLD: So, exactly, how big is a BILLION?

Billion by ScienceMuseumofVA

How big is a billion?

Well, lets count:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, errr...999,999,998...999,999,999..1,000,000,000!! Whew!! Took a bit longer than we thought. A billion is a huge number!! If you were to count from one to a billion you would need nearly 96 years! Keep in mind this is straight counting, no food, bathroom breaks, tv shows, nothing! When news headlines reference billions of dollars or when you hear about the billions of stars in our galaxy, it can be hard to grasp the enormity of the data, so lets put some perspective on this giant number.
For instance:
A billion pennies is 10 million dollars.
A billion miles could get from Earth to well beyond Saturn
Or a billion miles is about 41,000 trips around the Earth.
And a billion seconds is 31 years, 8 months, and 12 days...That’s enough time for you to do about a billion things!

**side note**...check out this cool link on the time it would take to collect a billion dollars, Yikes!

Also, on April 9, 2012 Facebook bought Instagram for $1 Billion dollars...that's a lot of money!!

QUESTION YOUR WORLD: What's auto racing ever done for my life?

Racecar Inventions by ScienceMuseumofVA

In the early days of auto racing a second person was used as a spotter to look for other vehicles and check the gauges. All that changed when Ray Houron won the inaugural Indy 500 in great part to his stunning new invention, the rear view mirror. This eleminated the weight of the extra person and began a tradition that is still used to this day.

Also, in 1922 Barney Oldfield installed a major safety device in his car, the seat belt. About a quarter century later the factories in Detroit took notice and started to instal them their vehicles.

Fuel additives, tire technology, disc brakes? Yep, you guessed it! All invented to make race cars run smoother and safer. Thanks to these speed hungry technichians many of these inventions can be found in your driveway!!

Want more car facts? Look no more!

Drive safely everyone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

QUESTION YOUR WORLD: How many people live on Earth?

Population 7 Billion! - Question Your World by ScienceMuseumofVA

There's a pretty good chance that you've seen some other people today somewhere. Well, we are currently ushering in a new milestone for humanity, 7 billion people. That's right, the Earth is home to 7 billion of us. This is most impressive considering that it took us nearly 199,000 years to get from very few of us to 1 billion of us. 1804 marked the year when humanity reached the billions. The thought of 1 billion people in 1804 is pretty interesting, but pails in comparison to the exponential growth that our population saw soon after. Check out how we grew from 1 billion to 7 billion:
1804 - After nearly 200,000 years we reached 1 billion
1930 - 2 billion
1960 - 3 billion!
1974 - 4 Billion!!
1987 - 5 BILLION!!!
1999 - 6 BILLION!!!!!!
2011 - 7 BILLION!!!!!!!!!!

So nearly 199,000 years to get to 1 billion and only 207 years to get to 7 billion! That's some exceptional exponential growth! - Follow the countdown and get more information on this growing population's impact on our world!

QUESTION YOUR WORLD: Happy Halloween - priceless science

Hello boys and ghouls! Once again, the equinox has happened and daylight savings time has not ended yet, which means its time for Halloween!! Check out the video clip for some fun with Halloween numbers!

That's right $2 BILLION spent on candy each year for Halloween. What a sweet research project this was! For more information check out this link from the National Retail Federation, . They've studied up and surveyed a lot of information about what flies off the shelf around Halloween.

Also, all that candy means a lot of sugar in a lot of mouths! That's the tooth folks! Our teeth are pretty amazing actually. Check out some interesting facts on teeth for all of you that want to bite into this topic a bit more:

Whoa! Sharks have about 40 sets of teeth in their lifetime? A Chinese dentist once built a tower out of 28,000 human teeth??
Chew on that for a while!

Lastly, be sure to spot an awesome science based costume this year!! They can be as simple as a scientist or as complex as an atom! .

Be safe and have fun out there! Happy Halloween from us here at the Science Museum of Virginia!

Monday, October 17, 2011


A lot has been discovered about Neptune since its initial sighting in 1846. The Voyager 2 spacecraft, on Aug 25, 1989, did a fly by of this blue celestial giant and sent back some photos and other data that has helped the science community understand more about the last planet on the block. Here are some interesting factoids about Neptune:
8th Planet from the sun
Gaseous Giant
13 Moons
Named after the Roman god of the oceans, Neptune
Has rings…just like all the other gaseous giants
2.68 BILLION miles from Earth at its closest point in orbit
60,190 Earth days (164.8 Earth years) for Neptune to orbit the sun once!!
Looks cool…because it is VERY cool…as in cold -330F (72 Kelvin)…(-201 C for the non-US friends of the Science Museum of Virginia)…brrr!
After 2006's demotion of Pluto, this blue gaseous giant became the last official planet in our solar system.