The Most Fascinating Laws Of Physics At Work In Nature

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In addition to this, the ground below the cloud also begins to change. The Earth’s electromagnetic field is affected, with negative electrons being repelled by the negative cloud bottom. This leaves the ground positively charged, which is of course attractive to the negative electrons at the bottom of the cloud.

If the charge is strong enough, streamers from the cloud down, and the Earth up begin to reach out toward one another in a zig-zag pattern through the plasma. If a complete conducting pathway is mapped out, and the two connect, then lightning will begin.

Enormous amounts of electrons are discharged along the conducting path, at speeds of up to a staggering 50,000 miles per second. The sheer amount of this rapid flow of charge emits light, and causes the surrounding air to expand violently. This is what we hear as thunder.

Lightning tends to re-strike a few times in rapid succession, usually 4 times, but as many as 30 re-strikes have been recorded. It is also common for lightning to strike between clouds, when two polarised clouds affect one another and cause a discharge of electrons as described.

Sense of Smell



The answer to the question ‘how do we recognise smells?’ is one that has come under debate in recent years. The widely accepted theory was known as the shape theory, which maintained that tiny molecules made up of atoms of a certain shape  travel via the air up the nose where they meet around 400 receptors.

Different molecules trigger various combinations of receptor cells, which inform the nerve cells that a particular smell is present. The nerve cells pass this on to the olfactory bulb in the brain, which also happens to be the area associated with memory.smell_1_small

You have a specific-shaped molecule fit into a specific-shaped receptor. And that would fire off the receptor ~ Jenny Brookes, fellow at University College London.

While this makes sense on the surface, once you test the theory there are a number of flaws. For one thing, while the lock and key mechanism is the accepted theory for enzymes, the same process doesn’t occur with smell….i.e. there is no chemical reaction taking place in the nose.

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