Illustration for article titled The Best Answers Weve Ever Gotten To Our Questions About Science

There are some scientific concepts so difficult to wrap your mind around that the answers only leave you more confused than when you began. But, sometimes an answer to a question comes that clears up your confusion almost instantaneously.


In response to our call to tell us about the most perfect answers you ever received to a question about science, you responded with a range of answers, pulling in everything from off-the-cuff explanations of scientific phenomenon, published research, and a few demonstrations.

For commenters Geeka and R2D2ESQ, it was as much about the method of the answer as the information that was dropped:


(First off, I track this story to why I became a scientist.)

When I was young, think 3 or 4, I would not put a broccoli near my face, let alone taste it. My mom told me what happened when you ate broccoli. Everything how saliva broke down it's parts, how the stomach crushed the pieces, how the muscles moved in your esophagus, even getting nutrients and the inevitable farting and pooping. Because of this story, I had broccoli, which is my favorite vegetable, and I became a scientist.

(NB, my mom also was a trekkie, that likely had some influence too)


I can't recall a specific instance that stands out, but when I was a kid and I asked a science/math question my dad would always bust out the pen from his shirt pocket and get to writing on a napkin. Learned a lot on those napkins.


Commenter enderwiggin451 reminded us that sometimes a brief demonstration is the best possible answer, with this explanation from a physics professor:

A physics professor, when asked if an photon was really a wave or a particle, held up a pen. He asked the class, "Is this a pen or is this blue?"

Commenter mwhite66 provided us with another excellent rejoinder from a physics professor:

In urban legend, physicist Wolfgang Pauli said of a student's paper: "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong."


Finally, two commenters joined together to give us one of the better stock answers for the scientific questions that continue to puzzle us:


The best answer to any question is "I don't know." It's the not knowing that leads to discovery and new knowledge.


"Let's find out." is perhaps a better answer, for the same reason.

Image: Disk Around a Massive Baby Star (Artist's Concept) / NASA-JPL


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