By Chitwan Khosla, Features Editor
Science is about questions and looking for their answers. If Newton hadn’t wondered and looked for why the apple fell to Earth instead of going up, we might have never found out about gravity. So, like Newton, this section is a quest to find answers in the field of science, logic, and theories. If you have a question about science that you’d like answered, send it to Chitwan at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are black holes?
NASA’s official website describes a black hole as “a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space.”
Black holes remained a mystery for ages, as they are invisible since no light escapes them. We can only see the effects of a black hole when objects fall into it due to the strong gravitational pull. There are two known types of black holes: stellar and supermassive. The mass of a stellar black hole can be up to 20 times larger than that of a sun. Supermassive black holes are huge black holes with masses sometimes more than that of a million suns put together. “Sagittarius A” is a supermassive black hole found in the centre of our galaxy Milky Way.
Black holes have an outer, inner, and a singularity region. The event horizon is the outermost region of a black hole where everything falls into it. Once an object crosses the event horizon, it can’t escape the black hole. Then the object reaches the concentrated region of the black hole called singularity. No one knows for sure what happens at that point. What little information we have about black holes is mostly just composed of theories or myths.
Scientists are investigating extensively as these findings can reveal crucial secrets about the formation of our universe. The theories of relativity by Einstein and quantum mechanics vary on many aspects about black holes. Space.com reports that according to Albert Einstein, an astronaut would reach the event horizon and get pulled apart before reaching the singularity. On the flip side, physicists supporting quantum mechanics theory believe that the astronaut would not reach singularity or find the event horizon, but rather would get destroyed on just entering the black hole.
Why do allergies occur?
Allergies occur when the human immune system reacts to a foreign particle entering the body. This can be a harmful or a harmless particle, which triggers the body to react severely to get rid of it. Our bodies have Immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE), which produce histamine. Histamine causes inflammation, fever, and itching if produced in very large amounts. People with allergies have higher amounts of IgE in their bodies which in turn increases the level of histamine production, leading to a reaction to a specific foreign particle which is called the allergen.
One can become allergic to an allergen at any point in their lives. Usually this occurs when one’s immunity is weak, generally while sick. Another reason is exposure to allergens. The body gets exposed to allergens numerous times and the immune system starts preparing antibodies for it. Over the course of time, enough antibodies are prepared which can attack the allergen.
Allergies are sometimes hard to diagnose because there is almost an infinite list of possible allergens causing antibodies to react. Different types of tests like skin prick tests, blood tests, and skin patch tests are conducted to determine the allergy-causing allergen. Allergies need to be taken very seriously because they can prove fatal in some cases, such as medication complications. Ideally, everyone should get an allergy test done to find out if they are allergic to anything. Physicians and doctors can help treat minor or moderate allergies. Treatments and precautions include antihistamines, decongestants, allergy shots, dehumidifiers, and others.
What are hiccups?
Seldom occurring, yet very bothersome, hiccups are called synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (SDF) or singultus in medical terms, as noted by MedicalNewsToday.com. Hiccups occur when our diaphragm gets irritated. The diaphragm is a muscular sheet that assists in breathing. On being irritated, the movements of a diaphragm are not very smooth and can cause jerks. This in turn causes your voice chords to collide and cause the hiccup. Eating or drinking too quickly or too much can cause hiccups. Hiccups are not harmful to us and rarely last longer than couple of minutes. Drinking water, inhaling deeply, or gargling with iced water are some of the remedies for hiccups suggested by National Health Service (UK). The longest continuous hiccup world record is 68 years!