Day Four: Rainbows, ethics, and desert island science

Day Four of I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here has been our busiest yet, with 23 live chats happening across the event!

In the Light Zone, one student wanted to know why clouds don’t form rainbows; they’re made of water after-all, aren’t they?

Why don't rainbows form in clouds? | Image: Pixabay

Why don’t rainbows form in clouds? | Image: Pixabay

Student: If rainbows are made by the sun shining into the water, why aren’t clouds rainbow coloured?

Paul Coxon: Good question. It’s to do with the density of the water droplets. In a rainbow light is bent (refracted) by the droplets and dispersed into the separate colours. Similar happens in clouds, but there are so many water droplets making up the cloud that the light is scattered in all directions and the rainbow effect is lost.

Mike Lee: You need to have the sun behind you to see a rainbow — most of the time the sun is behind the clouds! only when the sun is low and below a cloud do you have a chance of seeing a rainbow.

Outside of the live chats, the scientists have already been sent more than 1,700 questions in the ASK section! And those are just the questions that Team Mod have approved so far, there are plenty more to come!

Everybody fails sometimes, and in the Caesium Zone, the scientists have been discussing how you know when an experiment hasn’t worked:

How do you know when your science experiment hasn’t worked right?

Ethics are really important when looking at all the Big Data in the ComputationalBio Zone, but what are ethics?

What are ethics?

Finally, there was a brilliant question in the Extreme Size Zone: If you were marooned on a desert island, which single piece of scientific equipment would you want with you?

If you went to an island and you were only allowed to take one thing science related what would you take?

Those of you keeping score, the Caesium Zone is still in the lead, with more than 300 approved questions. And while the Nuclear Zone is beginning to catch up, the Plants Zone is still bringing up the rear with not even 50 questions yet. Students in the Plants Zone: What do you want to ASK?

Make sure to keep ASKing questions, and don’t forget you can comment on other students’ questions if you want to find out more!


Thanks to the Wellcome Trust for part funding I’m a Scientist, and to the Science and Technology Facilities Council for funding the Extreme Size and Nuclear Zones, to the Institute of Physics for funding the Light Zone, and the Royal Society of Chemistry for funding the Colour Zone.

Posted on March 13, 2014 Moderator - Josh in News | Leave a comment

Leave a Comment