STEMpower - Inspired Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

This Week's Question:

What was the first web browser?
"The first web browser - or browser-editor rather - was called WorldWideWeb as, after all, when it was written in 1990 it was the only way to see the web. Much later it was renamed Nexus in order to save confusion between the program and the abstract information space (which is now spelled World Wide Web with spaces)." (Courtesy:

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Previous Questions:

How do you make ice cream out of dry ice?
Watch this video here! Your child will make new friends and have fun at CJ's STEM camp this summer. Find out more about this camp and all CJ Eagle Summer Camps here.

What’s the best way to serve a volleyball?
One way to optimize a volleyball serve is to minimize the time the ball spends in the air. This in turn minimizes the reaction time of the opposing team, making it more difficult for them to return the shot. Learn more -

How are pencils made?
According to, "Incense-cedar logs are cut into lumber called 'Pencil Stock' or 'Pencil Squares.' This lumber product is then dried in a dry kiln to reach a uniform moisture content before being shipped to the Slat factory." Learn more here-

What makes a jellyfish glow?
Bioluminescence is light produced by an organism using a chemical reaction. While only a few land dwellers, like fireflies and some fungi, can make their own light, bioluminescence is very common in the deep sea. Bacteria, jellyfish, starfish, clams, worms, crustaceans, squid, fish, and
sharks are just some of the groups of marine animals that have bioluminescent members. (More -
See what students in the Medical Interventions class did to make bacteria glow during a recent lab here.

True or False: Brain size determines your intelligence?
False. Size doesn’t matter in the brain. There is no evidence that a larger brain is smarter than a smaller brain. (
See what CJ students did in their science class earlier this year to learn more about brain functions:

What is the common definition of a drone?
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV.

Which countries first had rabbits?
While originally from Europe and Africa, rabbits are now found all over the world. They occupy most of the world’s land masses, except for southern South America, the West Indies, Madagascar, and most islands southeast of Asia, according to ADW. Although originally absent from South America, Australia, New Zealand, Java, rabbits have been introduced to these locations during the last few centuries. Learn more -

Which country is one of the largest producers of hydroelectricity?
The ‘Itaipu Dam’ in Brazil is the second-largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world. It is 7.7 kilometers long and 196 meters high. It is located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay.

True or False: It can cost 10 cents to clean water.
True, thanks in part to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur clean water project.
Learn more -

How much air is inside a basketball?
The National Basketball Association requires that competition balls be inflated to a pressure between 7.5 and 8.5 pounds per square inch.
Learn more -

What was the first computer mouse made of?
Wood. Learn more -

What can gold help cure?
Rheumatoid Arthritis. Gold is used to cure rheumatoid arthritis, under a treatment called Chrysoteraphy. It is prescribed when treatment with non-steroid antu-infiammatory drugs is failing to give relief. Read more:

Which president was an engineer?
Herbert Hoover
After his graduation in 1895, he looked hard to find work as a surveyor but ended up laboring seventy hours a week at a gold mine near Nevada City, California, pushing ore carts. Luck came his way with an office job in San Francisco, putting him in touch with a firm in need of an engineer to inspect and evaluate mines for potential purchase. Hoover then moved to Australia in 1897 and China in 1899, where he worked as a mining engineer until 1902. A string of similar jobs took him all over the world and helped Hoover become a giant in his field. He opened his own mining consulting business in 1908; by 1914, Hoover was financially secure, earning his wealth from high-salaried positions, his ownership of profitable Burmese silver mines, and royalties from writing the leading textbook on mining engineering.

What is the smallest perfect number?
Learn more -

Which planet has the fastest wind speeds?
Neptune. Storms have been spotted swirling around Neptune’s surface and freezing winds that blow about ten times faster than hurricanes on Earth make it the windiest planet. (

Who invented cruise control?
Ralph Teetor. He was a blind man who was also a successful engineer, manufacturing executive and entrepreneur. (Courtesy:

True or False: snowflakes can be the same?
True. In 1988, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) found two identical snow crystals. Similar results have been produced in laboratories.

How much does Earth weigh?
Earth has a mass of 6 sextillion tons, but no weight at all! (It’s free-floating in space.) Courtesy:

True or False: snow is white?
False. Snow is actually translucent and reflects upward of 90 percent of light that reaches the surface of the snow. Very little light is absorbed in snow, and no particular colors are absorbed more than others. This is the reason snow appears bright white, especially as it is falling. In fact, naturally accumulating snow can appear blue or even pink. Just like in glaciers, deep snow can attain a deep blue hue as red light gets trapped in deeper pockets of snow. The deeper the snow is, the bluer it can become. In some higher terrain, snow can be pink due to algae that grows there. Courtesy:

Who invented windshield wipers?
Mary Anderson invented the windshield wiper in 1903, years before Henry Ford industrialized automobile production. More >

True or False: it has snowed in Hawaii? True
Hawaii sees snow every year, and even more so, that snow can fall in Hawaii in any month. As you would expect, the snow that falls in Hawaii is confined to its highest elevations, including Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island along with Haleakala on Maui Island. Courtesy:

In what year did the first home computer games appear? 1974

There is one gallon of water in every cubic mile of what?  Fog

What is the scientific name of a turkey? Meleagris

In terms of computing, what does ROM stand for? Read Only Memory

The solid state of water is known as what? Ice

Which state produces the most pumpkins?
According to the USDA Economic Research Service, over 90,000 acres of pumpkins were grown in the US in 2014, producing 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins with the top six states (Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California) producing approximately percent of them. Approximately 15 percent of the pumpkin acreage is used to make processed pumpkin products.  Illinois remains the leading processed pumpkin producing state, producing more than the other 5 leading states combined and about half of the national total. (Courtesy:

How many sides does a nonagon have?
The nonagon, also known as an enneagon, is a 9-sided polygon. Although the term "enneagon" is perhaps preferable (since it uses the Greek prefix and suffix instead of the mixed Roman/Greek nonagon), the term "nonagon," is simpler to spell and pronounce. (Courtesy:

What is a group of water droplets in the air called?
A cloud
A cloud is made of water drops or ice crystals floating in the sky. Most of the water in clouds is in very small droplets. The droplets are so light they float in the air. Sometimes those droplets join with other droplets. Then they turn into larger drops. When that happens, gravity causes them to fall to Earth. We call the falling water drops "rain." When the air is colder, the water may form snowflakes instead. Freezing rain, sleet or even hail can fall from clouds. (Courtesy:

How many people have walked on the moon?
Two people each from Apollo 11, Apollo 12, Apollo 14, Apollo 15, Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 (Courtesy:

What gas makes up the majority of our atmosphere?
Nitrogen it is essential for all plants and animals to survive. Nitrogen (N2) makes up almost 80% of our atmosphere, but it is an unreactive form that is not accessible to us. (Courtesy:

Who invented railroad air brakes?
George Westinghouse
Westinghouse supplied the world’s first commercial pressurized water reactor (PWR) in 1957. Today, there are more than 430 nuclear power reactors in operation worldwide. Westinghouse technology is the basis for approximately one-half of these reactors, giving Westinghouse the world’s largest installed base of operating plants. (Courtesy:

Who was the first Hispanic woman astronaut?
Dr. Ellen Ochoa
Ochoa joined NASA in 1988 as a research engineer at Ames Research Center and moved to Johnson Space Center in 1990 when she was selected as an astronaut.  She became the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served on the nine-day STS-56 mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1993. She has flown in space four times, including STS-66, STS-96 and STS-110, logging nearly 1,000 hours in orbit.

When were computers first created?
Early electronic computers, developed around the 1940’s, were the size of a large room and consumed huge amounts of electricity. They were vastly different to the modern computers we use today, especially when compared to small and portable laptop computers. (Courtesy:

Who is the Hubble telescope named after?
American astronomer Edwin Hubble is famous for demonstrating the existence of other galaxies, as well as his influential work on astrophysics and his subsequent namesake, the Hubble Space Telescope. (Courtesy:

What is a dwarf planet?
A dwarf planet is an object orbiting the Sun that is large enough to be rounded by its own gravity, but is not gravitationally dominant in its orbital area, and is not a moon. Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet.

How long will footprints and tire tracks stay on the moon? - Forever
Footprints and tyre tracks left behind by astronauts on the moon will stay there forever as there is no wind to blow them away.

What does LED stand for?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. LEDs began as exciting but expensive electronic components in the sixties, used in handheld calculators and other similar devices. Through research and development, LED technology advanced, became more efficient and less expensive, until it reached its current form. LEDs can now be used for a number of lighting applications and are available across the spectrum of visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light. Affordable 12V LED lights, for example, are often used as a conventional lighting source in homes, offices, and places of business because they are more energy-efficient, last longer, are more physically durable, and are safer than incandescent lighting sources. (Courtesy:

Eggshells + Inspired Engineering = Rubber
Ground eggshells and tomato peels can be added to rubber to make it stronger and still maintain its flexibility. (Courtesy:

Spinach + Biomedical Engineering = Human Cell Research
Researchers use the complex system of veins and scaffolds in spinach leaves to aid in tissue engineering. (Courtesy:

Rope + Inspired Engineering = Vines
The earliest ropes date back to prehistoric times, and were made from plant fibers, such as vines. The vines were twisted or braided together to form stronger and longer ropes, similar to the way that some vines wrap themselves around a stronger solid support to continue growing. Engineers have designed many different types of rope for a variety of uses and situations. (Courtesy:

Octopus + Inspired Engineering = Suction Cups
The suction cup appendages on the legs of an octopus were the inspiration  for the modern suction cup, patented in 1882. (Courtesy:

Boxfish + Inspired Engineering = Bionic Cars
A concept car was designed by engineers at Mercedes Benz to mimic the streamlined profile and sturdy, boxy frame of the boxfish. The bionic car turned out to be table, fuel efficient, and durable. The company plans to use more of these elements in future cars. (Courtesy:

Kingfisher Bird + Mechanical Engineering = The Bullet Train
A kingfisher bird can dive into water without making a splash.  Engineers designed the front of the bullet train to look like the beak of a kingfisher bird so that the train could move through the air more efficiently.  When a high speed train goes through a tunnel, it builds up a cushion of air in front of it that suddenly expands when exiting the tunnel, causing a loud sonic boom.  The shape of the bullet train allows it to move through the air in a tunnel without building up that large cushion of air, making it quieter when exiting the tunnel. (Courtesy:

Sharks + Inspired Engineering = Racing Swimsuits
The V-notch ridges on a shark's skin reduce drag, allowing it to swim fast with less effort.  Engineers have designed swimsuits made from materials based on the varying shape and texture of sharkskin.  These suits made their debut at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia and are now commonly used in competitive swimming worldwide. (Courtesy:

Termite mounds + Inspired Engineering = Passive Air-Conditioning
African termites keep their mounds cool by constantly opening and closing vents throughout the mound to direct the flow of air from the bottom to the top.  Engineers designed the cooling system of the Eastgate Center in Zimbabwe to mimic the way tower-building termites construct their mounds. (Courtesy:

Ghosts & Flatworms + Engineered Science = Robots that can walk, swim or fly
The ability of several animals to move over terrains such as ground and water by real-time adaptation to the environment has inspired the development of multi-terrain robots, but their working area is limited. Therefore, an autonomous decentralized control scheme for a robot has been created based on a scaffold-exploitation mechanism inspired by flatworms; simulations showed that the robot could move over various irregular terrains.  (Courtesy:

Burdock Seeds + Inspired Engineering = Velcro
In 1948, a Swiss engineer, George de Maelstral, took a walk with his dog and came home with plant burrs (seed pods) stuck all over his pants and his dog.  After examining these burrs under a microscope, he got the inspiration for creating a new kind of fastener - Velcro!  It took eight more years of experimenting to develop and perfect his invention. (Courtesy:

Lotus Leaves + Science + Fashion = Water Repellant Fabric
A lotus leaf naturally repels water.  Engineers have developed a way to chemically treat the surface of fabrics so that they repel water much like the surface of a lotus leaf, making the fabrics more waterproof. (Courtesy: